NORTH BRANFORD — There was a time, albeit a brief one, when Allie Augur actually played the forward position on the soccer pitch.
But that was still when she was in elementary school and the sport was relatively new to her. The other position Augur tried was goalkeeper – the position Augur both fell in love with and became one of the state’s best at it – and one of the nation’s best.
Pat Kozloski, Augur’s head coach at North Branford High, received an email from USA Today requesting a picture of Augur, who was selected to its preseason All-American team.
“The opportunity to coach a player of her caliber may never come for me again,” Kozloski said.
The 5-foot-6 senior goalkeeper at North Branford High was one of three players from Connecticut selected among 24 in the entire country for the fall season.
“She’s mentally tough,” said Paul Dellostritto, Augur’s goalkeeper coach. “The biggest thing is she has a huge interest level (in the position). She never got sick of it and she has incredible dedication. Some great athletes don’t always have the work ethic. Others are really into it or are mentally tough, but not athletically gifted. She has both. She really wants to be the best badly.”
It was a family member who suggested to Augur she reach out to Dellostritto to start training with him in the sixth grade. That love for being a goalkeeper grew into a passion as she learned the nuances of how to play the position.
“Something about diving and making a save and having an instrumental part of the game, all of that stuck with me,” said Augur, now 17. “On the surface, you save the ball and that’s it, but so much goes into it. You have make sure your upper body is in the right position. It seems so simple, yet so complex. I owe everything to him (Dellostritto).”
Augur said the daily training workouts to start with Dellostritto went up to two hours. She started premier in the seventh grade with the Connecticut Football Club (CFC), the team was Elite Clubs National League (ECNL)
“She has given me 110 percent every minute for 3,000 hours now,” said Dellostritto, who has been a goalkeeper coach for 21 years now. “That’s the most I’ve ever done with anyone. Her tactics set her apart. Her distribution is really dynamic that she is able to impact the game in a different way.”
Augur has started every single game at North Branford. It may be hard to believe that this two-time All-Area selection for the Register, who has already verbally committed to play at Boston College, was a little scared joining the program for the first time.
“My freshman class, we were so petrified, so scared, small freshmen coming in with these girls we looked up to, always wanting to play and be like them,” Augur said. “Eventually, as we got through the season, we began to have more confidence in ourselves.”
The Thunderbirds qualified for postseason play each of the last two seasons and reached the Shoreline Conference tournament final each season. They faced Old Lyme both times.
Last year, North Branford avenged its lone regular season loss to Old Lyme at home by dethroning the four-time Shoreline Conference champions in the league tournament final.
Less than a week later, Morgan ousted North Branford in the Class M second round in penalty kicks.
“We wanted more and wished for more,” Augur said. “It’s also what drives us this season knowing that we had the opportunity and the capability to go further in the state tournament and we weren’t happy with that result That sticks with you. That loss pushes me and the team as well to come in next season and put up a fight in every game we play.”
Augur recorded 12 shutouts and had a 0.4 goals against average last season.
“Her knowledge of the goalkeeping position is far above what my knowledge is of it,” Kozloski said. “I’ve helped teach her how to communicate with her teammates, but I give her cart blanche for (ball) distribution.”
Augur has never wavered in her commitment to play for her hometown team. The opportunity to play for a prep school existed, but was never something the senior wanted.
“She doesn’t have to play here. She wants to play with her friends and in her hometown. If she went to prep school, no one would argue because she is going Division I. She legitimately enjoys being here.”
Augur has also never wavered in her college commitment. Her play In college showcases during the spring of her freshman year led to interest from several colleges including Yale, N.C. State, Princeton, Miami (Fla.) and Pittsburgh.
She made four unofficial visits (Boston College, Yale, NC State and Princeton) and committed to Boston College in August of 2016.
“It’s great academically and you are playing in the ACC,” Augur said. “When I talked to the coaches it felt right. I saw the players practice and play a game at that high level. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Said Dellostritto: “She had the bug in her ear about BC because her brother went there. The ACC is the top. … The keeper coach from BC took a liking to her. It was a pretty easy decision. She will be challenging herself against the best.”
Augur will sign her national letter of intent in February. She will receive a partial scholarship. The workouts with Dellostritto have long been geared for getting Augur ready for the next level – workouts she has mastered already.
In the meantime, there is one more season left to play in a Thunderbird uniform.
“I don’t have to set the tone between her and the other seniors,” Kozloski said. “They will be self-motivated and Allie at the forefront of that.”