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University of Maine Women’s Soccer Squad - Meaghan Bradica

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Success Beyond the Soccer Field
Womens_soccer_largeMeaghan Bradica: Positive attitude and balanced perspective

University of Maine women’s soccer coach Scott Atherley compared Meaghan Bradica, a kinesiology and physical education major from Stoney Creek, Ontario, to a sixth-player in basketball because of her ability to come off the bench and positively impact the game.

“Meaghan has such a positive attitude and balanced perspective. She is selfless and someone who is always willing to do what is in the best interest of the team,” he says. “As a player, Meaghan is very versatile because she is cognitively flexible. At one point during the season, she played four different positions in one game and was exceptional at each spot.”

She was also exceptional in her coursework. Bradica was named to the America East Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner.

Bradica 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. This was the second consecutive season in which the squad, which finished 9–5–5, advanced to the semifinal round and lost to Stony Brook University. This fall, the Seawolves edged the Black Bears 3–1 on penalty kicks after the squads battled to a 1–1 tie in two overtimes. 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.

Below, Bradica talks about what it has been like to be a member of the UMaine women’s soccer team and university community.

Age: 21
Hometown: Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
Course(s) of undergraduate study: Kinesiology and physical education, with a concentration in exercise science
GPA: 3.97
Position(s): Midfield

Team goals for 2013: To compete for the AE Championship, grow as a team, have fun, achieve consistency, give our best every time we step on the field, peak at the right time and have no regrets.

When and why did you begin playing soccer?
I began playing soccer when I was 4 years old. I played many sports growing up, but soccer was the most enjoyable for me. I knew it was the sport that I wanted to pursue.

Do you have role models?
My parents are my role models. I’m one of four children in my family and my parents have always done so much for us. They have been my biggest supporters and have driven a countless amount of hours throughout my college career to watch me play. I hope to one day become the kind of people that they are.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Besides soccer, I love to watch and play other sports. Up until I came to college, I played soccer, basketball, volleyball and field hockey. I also love to travel, shop and spend time with family and friends.

Why did you choose UMaine?
I chose UMaine because I wanted to play soccer at the Division I level. When I visited the school, I instantly knew that it was the right choice for me. The coaching staff was great, the team was close-knit, and the faculty was extremely welcoming.

How do you balance academics, sports and other activities?
Balancing school and soccer requires a lot of planning and time management. With soccer we had a lot of 6 a.m. practices, so making sure I got my homework done during the day was key so that I could get to bed at a reasonable time.

Has playing a sport shaped your study habits?
Playing a sport during college has taught me the importance of time management. Since we travel so much during the season, it has been extremely important to keep on top of my work and make sure to complete homework and assignments ahead of time.

What are some favorite soccer moments?
Competing in the AE Championship game as a freshman, hosting a semifinal game last year for the first time in UMaine women’s soccer history and playing in the semifinals this year against Stony Brook. This might have been one of the most fun games I’ve ever played in. The energy and excitement that our team had was amazing, and it’s something that I’ll never forget.

What was it like to play for the AE title and host a semifinal?
Being in the AE Championship game my freshman year was an unforgettable experience. Our team had an amazing run, finishing sixth going into playoffs and then beating Hartford in the quarterfinals and Stony Brook in the semifinals. Going on to play for the AE title in front of hundreds of fans at Boston University and having my family there to watch was something that I’ll truly never forget. Hosting the AE semifinal game last year was another highlight of my soccer career. It was the first time our program has ever hosted a semifinal game, and the support from the entire school and community was amazing. It was really a proud moment for our team being able to play the semifinal game on our home field.

What’s your favorite part of being a student-athlete at UMaine?
My favorite part of being a student-athlete at UMaine is being a part of the Black Bear family. The entire athletic department is extremely supportive and encouraging. It’s always so enjoyable to watch other UMaine teams compete, and it’s especially a great feeling to have them in the stands at our games.

How has playing soccer impacted you as a person?
Playing soccer has helped me become a team player and a leader. It has also made me realize that the relationships I develop with people are the most important things in my life. In the future, I won’t remember the stats or the amount of minutes played, but I’ll always cherish the memories that I have made with my teammates. For me, the last four years have been amazing because I’ve been able to play the sport that I love with the people that I love.

Why has this senior group had such success on and off the field?
I think that this senior group has had such success on and off the field because we are all very hard working and conscientious. School and soccer are two things that mean a lot to us, so we invested a lot of time and effort into both of these areas. We also had great guidance from our coaching staff and academic advisers, which really made it easier for us to have success both on and off the field.

What advice would you give to a high school student-athlete considering UMaine?
I would definitely tell them that they wouldn’t regret their decision to attend UMaine. Not only is it a great school academically, but being a part of UMaine athletics will make your college experience unforgettable.

Why did you become interested in kinesiology, physical education and exercise science?
I chose to major in kinesiology and physical education, with an exercise science concentration, because I always enjoyed my science classes throughout high school. Learning about science as it relates to exercise and sports is something that I thought would be really interesting, especially being an athlete.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I am looking to further my education after I graduate, but I am still unsure of what type of graduate school I would like to attend. Many people in this major pursue careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy or teaching.

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