Soccer isn’t just a game for McKinney Boyd High School graduates Kelley Monogue and Meghan Streight, it’s a lifestyle.
Both sophomores play soccer for Texas A&M University and both say playing at the collegiate level has been harder and more rewarding than they expected.
“It’s a shock whenever you first get here how intense it is,” said Monogue, a human resource development major. “I was not prepared for focusing on school and playing soccer.”
Monogue and Streight participate in daily soccer practices, weekly weight training sessions and games every Friday and Sunday in the fall. Combined with full course loads, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at times.
"After a week of playing soccer,” said Monogue, sleep outweighs studying. “I should really study, but I want a nap for another three hours,” she often tells herself.
For Streight, who was recruited by Texas A&M as a sophomore in high school, the challenges have made her a better player.
“Coming in as a freshman, it’s hard to know what to expect. Everyone is so competitive at every single practice and every single game,” said Streight. “At the college level, you are rewarded for all your hard work.”
Streight was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team and the All-Big 12 Tournament Team in 2011. Monogue was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week four times in 2011 and ranked the number one freshman in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com the same year. Streight was recently named All-SEC First Team and plays a key role on a defense that ranks fifth in the nation.
Both credit years of hard work, daily practice and determination as their keys to success. “I was always at soccer practice. We would go to soccer every day of the week. I wanted to do that,” said Monogue who played for the Dallas Texans Soccer Club and for McKinney Boyd High School. Streight played for McKinney Boyd and the D'Feeters Soccer Club.
“Playing high school soccer was more of a refreshing break from club soccer,” said Monogue who, like Streight, began playing soccer as a young girl.
Streight plays defender and midfielder for the Aggies and though she is majoring in allied health, she hasn’t settled on a career path.
Meghan Streight (#4) was recruited by Texas A&M University while still a sophomore at McKinney Boyd High School. (Photo: Aggieathletics.com)
For Monogue, a career in human resources may have to be postponed if she gets an offer to play professional soccer. “I would always be more than willing to try it out. That’s something that has always been a dream of mine,” said Monogue, a forward for the team. Like many female soccer fans, Monogue followed the United States women’s national team in the women’s World Cup and summer Olympics. Abby Wambach is one of her favorite players.
But Monogue knows playing professional soccer will require even more dedication and may require a move overseas as women’s professional soccer in the U.S. is less established than other professional soccer leagues.
For young soccer players looking to follow in her footsteps, Monogue has this advice. “You need to pick a school where you enjoy their team a lot because you are going to be with them all the time.”
Newcomers should also be prepared to be challenged and not take themselves too seriously. “There’s always going to be someone who screws up as much as you do. Keep going and keep pushing,” said Monogue.
Streight added, “You might want to find a school that plays to your style.” She advises to make sure you like the coaches, ask about possible playing time and make sure the scholarship level is adequate.
Both Streight and Monogue have family members who graduated from Texas A&M.
“To be honest, I only ever wanted to play at A&M,” said Streight. “It’s an honor to play for this school. To be able to represent our school, to be able to play at the collegiate level as a whole, to play with the girls I get to play with, it’s just such a blessing.”
And one that comes with high expectations said assistant media relations director Thomas Dick. “Only the best and the brightest get looked at as far as athletics,” he said. Student athletes are provided with tutors, state-of-the-art training facilities and top notch medical staff, but at the end of the day they are expected to win championships. The Aggies recently came within a game of winning the SEC tournament. They lost to Auburn University, 2-0, in the semifinal. The team is now preparing for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Beyond good grades and athletic ability, said Dick, “We really look to the 12th man involvement, for the average student and fan. It’s the involvement of the community and people on campus,” that helps make Aggie athletics successful said Dick who added attendance at Aggie soccer games is among the top five in the country. Parents Ray and Dee Streight and Dan and Cindy Monogue know that, they are the girls’ number one fans.
Student athletes take a different, often more difficult path than most students said Monogue, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The experiences that I’m going through now are life-long experiences I will always remember.”
For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Specialist, at 469-302-4007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.