BYU women’s soccer is an offensive juggernaut. The Cougars are ranked No. 7 nationally with 2.53 goals per game.
A big reason for that has been Ashley Hatch — the nation’s leading goal scorer.
But an often overlooked player is senior midfielder Elena Medeiros.
Medeiros leads the team as the attacking midfielder, providing the forwards with opportunities to score. She is constantly making plays.
“The attacking center mid, that’s the playmaker position,” Medeiros said. “My duty is to get shots off, score goals and playing passes that will lead to shots.”
Medeiros has directly assisted on three goals scored this season, but has unofficially contributed to a countless number of Cougar scores. She has scored four goals on 27 shots this season.
Last season Medeiros was BYU’s second leading goal scorer with eight goals. Because Medeiros is an integral part of the Cougars’ success, head coach Jennifer Rockwood has high expectations for her.
“We just need her to look to be more of a scoring threat,” Rockwood said. “She is so dangerous, sometimes she just doesn’t recognize how dangerous she is.”
Medeiros likes to find the ball in a position where she can turn and switch the field. As an attacking midfielder, Medeiros said she can rely on her speed and balance to get the edge on opponents.
“I feel like I have a niche for quickness,” Medeiros said. “I’m really quick at turning, I am small, I have shiftiness and quickness.”
Medeiros said she is most comfortable when she receives the ball and she has a defender on her back. Most players become frantic when under tough defensive pressure, but Medeiros is able to keep calm and remain in control.
“Elena is a really smart player,” said team captain Michele Vasconcelos. “She is the perfect balance between selfish and unselfish because she knows when to pass and when it’s okay to keep the ball.”
Medeiros was a big recruit in the class of 2012 for BYU women’s soccer.
She played for Utah’s Olympic Development team for four years in high school, was named to the All-State First Team by both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News and was the Region VI Midfield Player of the Year. She was also a State Cup champion, a Surf Cup champion and a PDT champion.
The women’s soccer team typically has 20-28 players on the roster each year. This means a recruiting class is usually just four to six players. So despite all her past accomplishments, there was no guarantee Medeiros would actually make the roster.
“It means a lot to even be on the BYU team,” Medeiros said. “It’s a great honor and how well we have been doing is a great compliment to the program.”
Outside of soccer, the preseason All-WCC team member plays piano and guitar and enjoys broadway music. She is studying business marketing and has nearly a year and a half left in school.
To up-and-coming soccer players, Medeiros had this advice for those on and off the pitch: “Dream big. When you find the desire on your own, anything is possible.”