Alyssa Tooley

School: Hatboro-Horsham

Soccer, Basketball, Softball


Favorite athlete: Andrew McCutchen

Favorite team: Phillies

Favorite memory competing in sports: Hitting my first homerun (grand slam) in a championship game under the lights.

Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Spraining my ankle during the Upper Moreland game this year. (Made a TikTok about it that got over 20k views)

Music on playlist: Mostly Zach Bryan and other country artists

Future plans: Become a health and physical education teacher

Favorite motto: “Dance like nobody is watching.”

One goal before turning 30: Buy a house

One thing people don’t know about me: I am very obsessed with pink drinks and birthday cake pops from Starbucks.

By Mary Jane Souder


It’s a word those who know Alyssa Tooley best use often to describe the Hatboro-Horsham senior as an athlete.

“She leads by the way she carries herself, and she has no fear,” Hatters’ basketball coach Eric Glemser said. “She’d be like ‘Coach, let me play the best girl.’ Even though the girl would go by her four or five times, she would eventually figure it out. She’s just a tough kid.

“She’s one of those kids - whatever game I want to play – horseshoes, darts, she’s someone you want on your team because you know she’ll be there at the end and not quit. She’s a competitor.”

It’s important to understand that basketball is not Tooley’s best sport. As a matter of fact, it’s probably third of the three sports she’s played for four years of high school, but that doesn’t keep her from giving it everything she’s got.

“She plays so hard,” Glemser said. “She would go so hard and miss the layup. There was a game this year - there’s a video where the girl just grabbed her and threw her down, and nothing was called.

“As soon as that girl threw her to the ground, it was like someone just put a nitrous balloon in her body. She was so intense. The diving for the ball, that kind of thing – the prima donnas are never going to do that, but that’s contagious for the younger kids that have ability.”

Softball is Tooley’s undeniable passion, and she will be taking her talents to West Chester University this fall. Despite her commitment to her sport, she never stopped playing soccer every fall, and this past fall, she was the second team All-SOL Liberty Division goalie.

No small feat, for sure.
Kelsey Daley had a front row seat to Tooley’s high school career as the former varsity soccer coach.

“Fearless is the perfect word to describe her,” Daley said. “She was never afraid of anything and always put her body on the line to make an insane save, and she would always get right back up after she did. They don’t make many kids like that anymore.”

Tooley brings those same characteristics to the softball diamond where she is a hard-nosed player and will do whatever it takes.

“She’s all heart, no matter what sport,” said Hatters’ coach Jen Tooley, who also happens to be her mother. “Bruised knees, you name it. She really has no fear.

“She was a soccer goalie for travel and varsity soccer. No-fear attitude. Basketball same thing. Basketball wasn’t really her sport, but she played it. She’s just grit on the field and on the court. She helps any team she’s part of with her grit and her drive.”

Ask Tooley to characterize herself as a player, and it’s almost as if she’d asked her coaches to speak on her behalf.

“Give it my all type of thing,” she said. “I know for soccer, for example, being a goalie, you get beat up a lot. Literally putting my body on the line, sliding into things, giving everything. Really aggressive but not malicious.”

In other words, a player every coach would want on their team.

The three-sport journey

It’s always been soccer, basketball and softball for Alyssa Tooley.

“I still am not very good at basketball, same as soccer,” she said. “Softball – since I’m good at it, I always stuck with it.”

A pitcher for as long as she can remember, Tooley is equally comfortable playing other positions when she’s not in the circle.

“I’ve pitched ever since the age you could pitch,” she said. “That’s the first thing I wanted to do. When I first started pitching, I threw pretty decent, and comparing myself to other girls back then, it just felt more natural, so it kind of stuck. You’re in every single play of the game. Every single pitch – you’re in it.”

Tooley recalls Amanda Sadowl – the former standout pitcher who led the Hatters to their first state championship -coming to a practice when she was just a young player.

“She came and gave some of us little lessons, and from there I went to Ralph Carrullo, my current pitching coach,” Tooley said. “I’ve been with him since fifth grade. He has really, really helped me.”

Tooley sees her pitching coach once or twice a week and has been playing on the softball travel circuit for as long as she can remember and is a member 18U Dryden Rock Gold (Rick Wey Rock Gold). Last summer, Tooley committed to continue her softball career at West Chester University.

“I’ve always wanted to play in college, and my dream was going D1,” Tooley said. “I think it was fall of junior year West Chester offered me and said they wanted me on the team, but I told them I needed time. I still was chasing the dream of playing D1.”

Last summer, while Tooley was at the University of Pittsburgh attending a softball camp, she received a call from the West Chester coach.

“It was still the D1 thing,” she said of attending camp at Pitt. “It was July 10, and they said they needed an answer by that day. After that camp, literally 10 days later, I called the West Chester coach.

“It was kind of like reality set in. I know I’m going to play there, I know the coaches, I like the coaches. Education-wise, it’s great for my major, which is health and physical education, so that’s when it all kind of came together. I’m happy with my decision.”

As for the not-so-little matter of playing three sports, Tooley – even with her future assured – was not about to leave her soccer team without its starting goalie.

“Alyssa is such an exceptional person and a great leader,” Daley said. “She was the captain of our team her senior year, and she excelled in everything.

“If it was motiving the team, guiding the young girls or making two PK (penalty kick) stops in a district playoff game, she is one of the easiest players to coach because she always wants the best for herself but also for the team. She is always finding ways to improve and puts in a lot of work to succeed, and it never goes unnoticed.”

The Hatters finished second in the Liberty Division just behind perennial SOL power Abington in each of the last two seasons.

When winter rolled around, Tooley was uncertain when it came time to decide whether or not to play basketball.

“She said, ‘Do I have to play?’” her mother recalled. “I said, ‘You don’t have to play anything, but once you start something you must finish it.’

“So, she went to their first home game, and she said, ‘Yeah, I should be playing.’”

Tooley remembers it well.

“It was at Keith Valley because the gym was being redone,” she said. “They were playing Wissahickon, and I was sitting there in the stands, and I just had really bad FOMO (fear of missing out) type thing. I was watching them play, and it looked like so much fun. Kitty (Randa) was the only senior then because I didn’t play, so I was like – why not?’”

Hatters’ coach Eric Glemser wasn’t quite sure Tooley was serious when she approached him after the game.

“I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Is she kidding me?’” he recalled. “(Assistant coach) Nicole (Miletto) was like – no, she wants to play. I said, ‘All right.’ So, I had to figure out a way. I said, ‘You can’t play right away, let me get you a uniform.’ Not that I didn’t want her to play, and after like eight games, I said, ‘Forget it, I’m putting her in.”

A very young Hatters’ team finished the season with a 9-13 record. Certainly not the kind of season a fierce competitor like Tooley would enjoy, right?

Well, guess again.

“Even though we weren’t good – it was just a positive environment,” Tooley said. “There wasn’t really any drama or anything, and everyone was so close with each other.

“Honestly, the pasta parties and all that – just being able to be around those girls – some of them played soccer, and some of the freshmen were going out for softball, so it was just good to get to know people and expanding who I know in the school.”

Beyond what she contributed on the court, Tooley also contributed off it.

“She makes everything better – the van rides, the bus rides,” Glemser said. “They always set her up to try and con me into ice cream after the Quakertown game at Dairy Queen.

“Listen, if she would have focused on basketball like softball, she could have been a real good player. If she had focused on soccer, she would have been as dominant as she is in softball.”

Softball a family affair

When it comes to softball, Jen Tooley – a former softball player herself - has coached Alyssa from the outset, beginning with t-ball and including travel and high school.

Coaching Alyssa in high school was an unexpected opportunity when the job opened the fall of 2022.

“Alyssa came to me and said, ‘Will you coach?’” Jen recalled. “I wasn’t going to put my name in without her permission, so she’s the one who requested it, so I applied for it.”

For Alyssa, there was never a question – she wanted the program to have a good coach.

“The best part is – yes, she’s my coach, but she’s also my mom, so she gets to see me playing my senior year and all that,” Alyssa said. “The toughest part is definitely – let’s say something happened between her and a player. I get some of the attitude (from the player) maybe.  You know there’s going to be drama in a girls’ sports. I wouldn’t say it affects me, but I see it.”

The truth is neither would want it any other way, and for Jen Tooley, it has been a chance to see just how strong of a person her daughter really is.

“We had a lot of adversity the other week, and she has been a rock for her teammates,” Jen Tooley said. “Her strength showed on our senior night. Our assistant coach, her father (Jim Tooley), was ejected from the game in first inning with bases loaded. Visibly upset, she turned her focus to the game and struck out the side. She went on to pitch a great game to help her team to the great win.”

According to Jen, there are some firm rules for both mother and daughter.

“We draw that line,” the Hatters’ coach said. “She’ll say – can I talk to you as my parents and not my coaches?’ We made sure that line’s drawn, and we know where the discussion is.

“She likes to talk strategy – not that she has any influence on it, but she’s very knowledgeable of the game. She’s got the IQ – that’s the biggest thing, and you can tell from some of the plays she makes.”

Jen goes on to recount a play during the softball team’s spring training trip to Florida when Alyssa hit a popup just beyond the second base position.

“Dead to rights, it’s an out,” Jen said. “But she just ran that ball out. The ball dropped, and she saw nobody was covering second base because the shortstop went behind second to try and make the catch, so she took second.

“Third was coming over to cover second, so she saw third was open, and she got on third on a silly popup behind second. I don’t know many people would have the IQ to see that. What’s great is the other girls see that and try to learn from her.”

Tooley – who is also involved in LINK Crew at school - will graduate in June with at least eight varsity letters after playing three sports for the duration of her high school career.

“I wanted to be involved when I got to high school, and they’re all different seasons,” she said.

With the fall rapidly approaching, there’s the reality that the mother/daughter duo is coming down the home stretch on the softball diamond.

“There are times where it’s been rough – obviously stressful,” Jen said. “It’s her senior year, so this will be it. I’ll coach her this summer, so I’ll be there with her there as well, but that will officially be my last season of her and I together. All the way through – it’s been special.”