This is Maggie’s story. I was so excited to hear she got her start with YMCA! Sometimes coaching young girls is challenging and you wonder if it’s impacting their lives, but meeting her reminds me every little thing you can do to inspire a girl to play, can change their life. That day my friend Tessa convinced me to co-coach a YMCA U-8 girls team was perhaps the best thing that happened to me. I didn’t realize then how important soccer would be to me 6 years down the road. So let’s meet Maggie now and let her inspire you to pay-it-forward too!
Q: Tell us about your very first soccer game.
A: I’ve been playing since I was three years old. So it’s very hard to think back to that age but I would have to say playing YMCA soccer was where it all began. As for seeing my first soccer game, I would have to say it was when I was younger watching my dad playing in adult leagues.
Q: What team(s) do you follow, and what leagues are they in? How did you start following those teams?
A: Obviously, I follow the U.S. WNT. I have so much respect for them. I actually will be attending my 5th USA WNT game this March in Nashville with the American Outlaws. I started following them hardcore in 2005. I was five years old when the 99’ world cup was going on and I watched, but I wasn’t a super fan that young. I don’t really follow any other teams but I like to keep Soccer updates up on my ESPN app to see the drama between different premier leagues.
Q: What about the game hooked you?
A: I think what hooked me the most about the game is that it’s just brilliant. Being able to mentally and physically push your body for 90+ minutes is amazing in my eyes. Not many people can do that nor want to do that. So I think it takes a lot of heart and an open mind to be able to play and follow the sport. I also love juggling. I love learning new tricks so that kind of drives me to keep practicing.
Q: With whom in your life do you share soccer?
A: It’s a tie between my mom and dad honestly. My dad is the one who got me started playing when I was three years old and has been pushing me to do as much as possible to play the game. My mom always motivated and pushed me on the sidelines at my games. Also my former teammates and coaches are whom I can still share the love of the game with.
Q: Have you traveled to any away games for your team? Where did you go and what was the experience like?
A: Yes, I have traveled to many places. Traveling is always a benefit when playing a sport. It was one of my favorite things about playing soccer. I have been all over the state of Illinois, some of Missouri, Iowa, and Kentucky. The experience was different for each place we went because everywhere someone is playing the game at a different pace or level and it could be something you have never seen before. I am a huge learner when it comes the game so I like to observe other teams and see what I can learn from them.
Q: Do you have any personal soccer-related traditions? What are they?
A: I think the only soccer tradition I have is getting family and friends together for the U.S. WNT games whenever they are being broadcasted. Especially big events like the World Cup or the Olympics; we are always watching the game together. I love it!
Q: What is the impact soccer has had on your life? What has it brought to you that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?
A: I think the impact on my life with soccer has to be to be physically and mentally tough. Sometimes I can be a “wuss” about things and I think that playing for this long and playing college soccer has really shaped me into a tougher person with those aspects. Playing college ball has really helped me keep my fitness level at a high for sure. I think if I wasn’t playing the fitness level wouldn’t be as high and I wouldn’t be as active. I think soccer has made me tougher in many aspects. One is when I played college soccer I wanted to give up so much because I thought it was so hard. But I realized this is an awesome opportunity and I was blessed with talent to play to keep going. Motivation is always something I can think back on from soccer.
Q: If you could tell everyone in the world one thing about soccer, what would it be?
A: If I could tell everyone in the world one thing about soccer it would be that it’s brilliant. It’s different than the average sport and it takes an open mind to really get into it and give it a chance.
Q: Are you coaching men, women or youth? The numbers are staggeringly low right now, especially in the youth and professional leagues. What advice do you have for women looking to pursue that as a career option?
A: I am currently helping coach a local travel team U-8/U-9 year-old boys for indoor training due to it being winter. The advice I would give is to keep playing and put your everything into it. Get your name out there and show them your talent. If you aren’t trying then you are losing. It is a very hard business for women soccer players right now. But I think with all the media they are getting it is starting to help little girls get motivated to keep going and keep playing because maybe one day they will be where their idol is now.
Q: For anyone out there thinking about coaching, it might feel daunting. How did you decide?
A: I’m coaching boys right now because that is the only opportunity open as of right now. I wouldn’t care what gender to coach for. I have a good time coaching these kids whatever age they are. Sometimes I think coaching younger kids is harder because how long they pay attention. I don’t think it is the gender because I have coached younger girls who act just like the younger boys while in practice. I think it is the maturity and how much the player wants to learn.
We can’t wait to share more of these wonderful women’s stories with you and want to hear yours. Tweet us at @WUnitedFC, or leave us a note in the contact box below and we would love to share your #WomenLoveSoccer story.