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University of Maine Women’s Soccer Squad - Maggie Malone

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Success Beyond the Soccer Field
Womens_soccer_largeMaggie Malone: Strength through leadership

Maggie Malone’s senior leadership and considerable talents helped propel the University of Maine women’s soccer team into the semifinal round of the America East playoffs for the second consecutive season.

In this year’s semifinal, Stony Brook edged UMaine on penalty kicks after the squads were knotted 1–1 after two overtimes. The Black Bears finished 9–5–5.

“Maggie’s leadership qualities were realized early by her peers and our staff,” says Scott Atherley, UMaine women’s soccer coach. “What I respect most about the job she did as captain was her willingness to embrace confrontation, as she never shied away from doing the ‘hard’ and ‘unpopular’ things necessary for maintaining team order. As impactful as she was for us as a player, her leadership qualities are going to be most difficult to replace.”

Malone, a kinesiology and physical education major, played in 68 games during her illustrious career. The back was named to the America East Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and is a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner. In addition to being named the 2103 AE Defender of the Year, Malone was selected to be a member of the America East First Team. She also was named to the 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Women’s All-Northeast Region Third Team.

Malone is one of five seniors on the University of Maine women’s soccer team who attained considerable success in the classroom and on the field in 2013. The scholar-athletes have a combined grade-point average of 3.73 and led the squad to the America East semifinal round.

“The success of our senior class extends far beyond the soccer field,” says Atherley. “Individually and collectively, they personify the true meaning of student-athlete. The attributes that make them successful on the field are the same ones that have enabled them to excel in the classroom and vice versa. They are all bright, ambitious, disciplined, committed and industrious.

“For the better part of four years, they have served as the standard of excellence that has become synonymous with our program, on and off of the field,” says the 15-year coach. “The qualities that they possess as student-athletes are rivaled only by the richness of their character. You would be hard-pressed to find a better group of human beings. We will miss them dearly, but forever remember the significance of their contributions.”

Three of the four years the seniors competed, the squad made it at least as far as the semifinal round of the league playoffs. A year ago, Stony Brook knocked the Black Bears out of contention, topping them 2–1 in an AE semifinal. In 2010, when the Black Bears were first-year players, Boston University bested them 4–0 for the league crown.

Malone shares her experience about what it’s been like to be a member of the UMaine women’s soccer team and university community.

Age: 21
Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Course(s) of undergraduate study: Kinesiology and physical education major
GPA: 3.44
Soccer position(s): Left Back

Team goals for 2013:
We had eight team goals this year that we made up during our preseason meetings. We wanted to have fun, achieve consistency, grow as a team and compete for the America East Championship, etc.

When and why did you begin playing soccer?
I started soccer when I was 4. My dad played soccer and is still very involved. My mom helped coach when I was younger as well. Since then we have been at the soccer field almost everyday of the week.

Do you have role models?
Kelsey Wilson, who is a former captain of our women’s soccer team, had a huge impact on me my freshman year. I’ve learned so much from her over the years and still ask her for advice to this date. She inspired me to keep working hard and eventually things will work out in the end.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I played volleyball and ran track in high school but being competitive with soccer and on multiple teams I wasn’t able to spend much time on other sports. I did play piano as well. I love volunteering and have done a lot of community service in the past few years such as Black Bear Mentoring, Walk for MS, etc.

Why did you choose UMaine?
I was still unsure whether or not I wanted to come to the U.S. for school and soccer until I arrived on campus. Meeting the team sold me on why I should attend this school. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and I felt at home. It is fairly close to home for me as well and I wanted my parents to have the chance to watch my games.

How do you balance academics, sports and other activities?
It has definitely taken time management over the past four years to stay committed to both my academics and athletics. I am constantly making a to-do list and updating my calendar of what needs to be done so that I don’t stress out. I know that everyone on our team is going through the same stresses, so we help each other out and make sure no one is getting too overwhelmed.

What’s your GPA; has playing a sport shaped your study habits?
3.44. I am sure I could have dedicated many more hours to studying, but my thoughts are that you should be a well-rounded student. I have good grades and I still have time for athletics, friends and volunteering.

What are some favorite soccer moments?
There are so many memories that I have of every single one of the girls. This year has been by far the best season and I’ve grown so much closer to everyone. Every time I stepped on that field I had the biggest smile on my face because I knew I was playing with my 25 best friends and I wouldn’t have rather played with anyone else.

What was it like to play for the AE title and host a semifinal?
Amazing. I guess in the moment everyone is excited but looking back on it we have accomplished so many things. I was only a freshman when we made it to the championship, so I didn’t really have the same perspective as the others. The semifinal game was one of the most memorable and exciting experiences ever. I remember calling my coach and freaking out on the phone that we had a bye and were going to play at home.

What’s your favorite part of being a student-athlete at UMaine?
I love the size of the university and how everyone is very supportive of each other. I have friends on every team and we have created friendships that will last forever. Especially in the KPE department, the teachers and other students are always announcing the games and wishing each other good luck.

How has playing soccer impacted you as a person?
I can’t even start to begin how being on this soccer team has impacted my life. I have traveled a lot, met my best friends and developed relationships with people I will never forget. It has made me good with teamwork, helped me stay busy and organized.

Why has this senior group had such success on and off the field?
We are all friends but have something different to add to the group. Each one of us has impacted the team and had many good things to add. Staying connected and on the same page, especially this year, has been key to our success.

What advice would you give a student-athlete considering UMaine?
It was honestly the best decision that I made to come here. You will be instantly welcomed onto any team and there are so many people around here that will make your experience that much better.

How did you become interested in occupational therapy and exercise science?
I took a class in the KPE department that worked with kids with disabilities and I have loved it ever since. I am currently job shadowing at a school working with young kids and I enjoy every moment. Helping people improve their quality of life and seeing improvements in kids already makes me want to work in this profession forever.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I plan to go to grad school next year for occupational therapy. I am not sure yet what my plans are as for soccer but I do wish to continue that as well.

Anything you would like to add?
These four years have flown by but I have had so many great memories. I would like to thank everyone at the school and all of our community who have supported us the last four years. So proud to be a Black Bear!

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