Ally Schlegel continues to refine goal-scoring habits with Chicago Red Stars

It’s a shame Chicago Red Stars forward Ally Schlegel hasn’t been able to work on her fly-fishing casting technique the same way she has her goal-scoring habits.

If she was near any high-quality trout streams, her off-days would be settled.

A passion Schlegel picked up while taking classes in Penn State’s legendary fly-fishing program has provided a few life lessons that also tie into her day job: Rookie forward in the National Women’s Soccer League.

During one of her more memorable times spent on the water, there was one frustrating day where she noticed she was gripping the pole too tightly, wasn’t focusing on her technique nor the time spent outdoors. The next outing she came to realize what would be her ‘aha’ moment.

“Being process-oriented and being process-driven is so much better and the end game is so much sweeter when you get that,” Schlegel said in a phone interview with The Post. “The next time I went out I was just like, ‘Alright, let’s just have some fun,’ and I caught a fish on my last cast as it was getting dark. I caught one and just was like ‘nice.’ It was so much more enjoyable because I enjoyed the entire time and wasn’t super frustrated about not catching anything.”

Even in the ultra-competitive NWSL, the Parker native and Chaparral High School alum is taking her signature happy-go-lucky attitude to the pitch.

Dave Morgan, one of her coaches with the Colorado Storm growing up, always knew Schlegel was up for elite competition. Schlegel was in-between age groups before her high school career began and Morgan, an assistant with CU Buffs’ program for eight seasons, challenged her by placing her with the boys team for the Colorado Youth Soccer Association’s State Cup. They won.

Parents from opposing teams recognized Schlegel as the girl with the pink headband — something that’s been part of her game day look since she was 10 years old.

“We had some discussions at the club and were like, ‘Let’s put her on the boys group, she’s good enough,’” Morgan recalled. “We knew it would be good for her development, speed of play and that mental toughness. … It wasn’t like she was hanging on when she played. She was very good at that level.”

After getting looks from colleges across the country, Schlegel decided on Penn State. Over the course of a five-year career, she scored 47 goals and added 20 assists as a first-team All-American selection and two-time Mac Hermann Trophy semifinalist.

Knowing there was a strong chance she’d eventually be drafted into the NWSL, Schlegel worked on the mental side of the game. She read “The Confident Mind” and started up a journaling exercise in her final season at State College in which she tracked her efforts, successes and progress.

Selected No. 23 overall in January’s draft, those lessons and techniques have stuck with her since.

“That has helped with that balance of humility and confidence,” Schlegel said. “The effort, success, progress, going through that every day has allowed me to keep confidence even when things were difficult of not seeing the field for the first few months.

“That habit (of journaling) has helped me continue to be like, ‘Yeah, I’m not there yet but that’s OK,’ but I know I can be because I’m doing good things every day. I’m putting in effort and making progress every single day. … So much of life is a plateau, but then you have moments of sparks.”

Her first true spark as a pro came last month at Seattle when she scored her first NWSL goal. It was hard to miss, as she bullied USWNT defender Emily Sonnett off the ball and brilliantly struck a shot into the right-hand corner.

While Schlegel will look to grow as a player using her journaling method, she hasn’t lost sight of having fun off the field as well. She and her family plan to head to Wyoming during her week off in July. There, despite being the only family member who enjoys fly fishing, she intends to work on her casting technique after being away from the river for so long.

“I’m gonna go fish, and I’m very, very excited,” she said.

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