Family Tradition Leads Chelsea’s Airanna Griecci to Kellogg CC


The sport of soccer has been in the blood of Chelsea’s Airanna Griecci since she was old enough to kick a ball.

Griecci’s father and grandfather were both soccer players, so it was not surprising that Airanna carried on the tradition of being a soccer player for the Chelsea soccer team and it paid off as Griecci signed to play soccer at Kellogg Community College next season.

While not only carrying on the family soccer tradition Griecci also carried on the family trait of playing between the pipes and being a goalkeeper as her father and grandfather did.

“I played soccer since I could walk and been playing goalkeeper since first grade,” Griecci said.

“With my grandfather and father playing and being goalkeepers, I guess the sport has been in my blood since I was born. Ever since I was little, I thought I was going to play in the big leagues with the U.S. Women’s National Team, but as I grew older, I realized that I should go to college first,” Griecci said.

Photo by Chelsea Athletics

And KCC came calling for the All-SEC White honorable mention goaltender.

“I chose KCC not only for the soccer program but for the academic program,” Griecci said. “I met coach Levi Butcher through my soccer club in my sophomore year and he gave steps to when it comes to playing in college. I kept an eye on the program and in my senior year we talked more since he was looking for a goalkeeper. I learned by talking to him that not only does he have a bubbly personality, but he cares about his players and wants to push them to their greatest potential, which is what I wanted with a coach if I was to play in college. All of the pieces fell into place, and I was asked during my visit to become a Bruin.”

Griecci will be studying Elementary Education at KCC and has known since sixth grade that she wanted to go into teaching. “I wasn’t sure what age she wanted to teach and had worked at a daycare for a year, but the Careers in Education consortium class I took my senior year in Saline really made me realize how much I love working with elementary school kids, especially 3rd through 5th grade.”

Griecci has always looked up to USWNT goaltenders Hope Solo and Alyssa Haeher. “I remember watching Hope Solo in the 2012 Summer Olympics and thinking, I wanna be just like her,” Griecci said. “My parents even bought me a red Hope Solo jersey that I remember wearing every day to practice and my coaches calling me "Solo" whenever I made a good save.”

It wasn’t just the national players that influenced Griecci and her soccer career. “I wouldn't be playing college soccer with Matthew Clarke, Dillon Woods, and Katie Emery, all members of the Chelsea Soccer Club. Throughout these past 2 years, these people have pushed me to my limits and made me a better goalkeeper and a better person,” said Griecci.

Known as “Ari Gretch” to her teammates, she stands at 5’2” which is uncommon for a goaltender, but that hasn’t stopped her from being a force in the net for the Bulldogs. “My freshman year when I was playing JV and at the end of the year during the banquet, I received the "Most Improved Player" award. My coach at the time told me "You are one of the greatest keepers I've ever seen, if only you were a little taller."

One of her favorite memories was the bus rides with her teammates during her senior season. “I would blast music with my tiny speaker and get song requests from my teammates to get us hyped up or to celebrate a win.”

One thing is certain is that the lack of height is not going to slow down Airanna Griecci as she moves on to Kellogg College for years to come.

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