Missy Greco, fifth-year mid-fielder and defender, ends the 2021 Winona State University women’s soccer season ranked third on the team, with two goals, two assists and six points. Overall, Greco numbered 42 shots and 22 shots on goal, which is the highest stats for the team this season.
Entering Winona State, Greco played 16 matches in 2017, recorded 12 shots on goal and played 727 minutes. In 2018, Greco logged 966 minutes, started 13 games and accounted for two game-winning goals. In 2019, played over 1,000 minutes and had over 20 shots.
Originally from Bartlett, Ill., Greco’s incredible statistics started at South Eglin High School, where she was a four year starter, four year Academic All-Conference award recipient, All-conference honorable mention sophomore year, All-Conference junior and senior year, All-Sectional Senior year, named captain junior and senior year and received Daily Herald Prep Sport Excellence Award.
“I have been playing soccer for about 20 years,” Greco said.
In any given game, Greco is seen actively chasing after the ball, splitting opposing team’s defenders as she breaks through to make a play or creatively finding outlets to score a game winning goal. Bailey Deininger, third-year defender, is among those who highly appreciates the effort Greco puts into her sportsmanship.
“Missy’s impact on the field is tremendous,” Deininger said. “She always played with so much passion and determination. I knew I could always count on Missy to fight for the ball and get the job done in the midfield.”
Greco’s athleticism evolution is impeccable, but she also notes personal growth.
“I have definitely grown as a person in terms of my leadership skills. I never really had to embrace the ‘team first’ mentality when I was younger because it was more about my own personal journey, [but] coming into college, I have learned that the team’s success is what’s most important.”
Greco exceeds all expectations for being a well-rounded athlete. Her gameplay is unique and fast-paced, but Greco also exemplifies captain-like qualities, perfecting team performance on and off the field.
“Missy has always been a leader since the day I met her,” Deininger said. “She is the kind of leader that doesn’t accept anything but the best from everyone because she knows we have the potential to be great.”
Greco understands new teammates might be intimated joining a college soccer team, afraid of upcoming seasons or doubt their own capabilities in comparison to others. She takes this opportunity to humble herself and set a goal to meet every player where they are at.
“Missy brought me in my freshman year and made me feel included since the moment I arrived,” Deininger said. “Fast forward three years later, and Missy is someone I can go to for anything. She’s been my workout buddy, shoulder to cry on, and the person who pushes me to be my best in all aspects of life. I will cherish our friendship forever.”
This leadership derives from maturity, respect and love.
“I’ve learned one of the most important aspects of being a leader is to listen to the teams wants and needs and to be able to effectively communicate them to come up with solutions,” Greco said. “I’ve also learned that building a relationship with mutual respect with everyone on the team is imperative to a good team atmosphere and that those relationships will translate to a strong relationship on the field.”
As Greco continues through the end of the year, she looks ahead to the future, as she is already in the United States Marine Corps and the final year(s) of her formal education.
“My main goal after college is to commission as an officer in the Marine Corps and continue on to the next training steps,” Greco said. “I hope to eventually work in the medical field, specifically with prosthetics.”
Soccer teaches strength, endurance and motivation. It upholds fairness and respect. It is a beautiful, artistic game of creativity and perseverance. Greco fell in love with soccer, learned from it, grew from it and is a better person because of it.
“I think the connection you build with your teammates and the feeling of scoring a goal or winning a big game is hard to translate in any other part of life,” Greco said.