New Beginnings

In times like this, to welcome a newcomer with open arms may be unheard of. However, West Virginia University made it clear that Maddie Murphy is now family. Murphy may be a newcomer to West Virginia University, but she is no newcomer to the sport of soccer. 

Throughout high school, Murphy was selected to multiple U.S. Women’s National Team camps, a three time team MVP, and tallied 35 career shutouts. This is all before her decision to play collegiately at Boston College, where she entered a total of five career matches, tallying seven total saves for Boston College. 

Murphy spent two years at Boston College before making the decision to transfer to West Virginia University. Some may think her transferring may have come at a cost due to the world being in a global pandemic. However, Murphy’s decision to transfer was made before the pandemic started so there was really no effect. Murphy explains what really influenced her decision to become a Mountaineer by saying, “I had a few previous relationships with current players on the women’s soccer team so that was comforting to me coming to WVU. What struck me immediately was how welcoming all the other girls on the team were. The coaches and trainers all treated me like I had been on the team for years and I honestly never actually felt like a transfer. I was welcomed as a member of the family from day one. The closeness and chemistry on this team and in this community is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It feels amazing to be a Mountaineer.”

Murphy makes it clear that the best part about being on a team is that you are a teammate. Being a teammate allows one to be amongst and support their teammates on and off the field. The continuity and influence one gets just being a part of a team goes a long way. 

In retrospect, the rhetoric we use today is very different when compared to other periods of time. Nowadays terms such as social distance, quarantine, six feet,  and mask wearing play a more prominent role in our society today.  In many ways, these terms can be used to describe soccer because, at times, soccer may appear to be a “socially distant”  sport while other times, it may not.  How is it possible to keep up in play in this constant flux? 

Murphy, a goalkeeper, may play the hardest position in soccer according to some people. In fact, without a goalkeeper, a team is vulnerable to being scored on a countless number of times. Therefore,  Murphy is very important to this Mountaineer team.  

The art of goalkeeping is more than stopping the opposing team from scoring. Goalkeeping entails a series of possessions that can make or break the game. Murphy explains,  “On the soccer field, the goalkeeper is a unique player and the last line of defense on the team. Each team only has one goalkeeper and we are more easily identified by wearing a  different color than the rest of the team. As the only player that is allowed to use their hands, the goalkeeper also needs to be able to effectively use their feet to play the ball. In certain pressure situations I can’t use my hands and must use my feet and my teammates know I possess this added skill set and they can utilize me as another field player, in addition to a shot stopper. I serve as a leader for the team and a director of the defense and midfield when defending the opponent as well as when we are building attacks against the other team.”

If it was easy, everyone would do it. This offseason, Murphy made it her duty to physically improve whether that be in strength or in honing her goalkeeper skills; for example  she’s working hard to refine her corner kicks, crosses, footwork, and distributions. 

Winning a collegiate soccer game is a hard task in terms of preparation, but surviving a pandemic is one of the toughest things many of us has had to deal with. West Virginia University and its athletic department have taken all the necessary measures to keep the students and staff safe.  Murphy describes, “The University required us to get tested three times a week to make sure there were no positive cases on the team. We needed to remain in our bubble with our teammate only. When we were not on the field, we had to keep socially distant from each other and wear masks. Washing our hands and sanitizing daily was paramount to our health and safety.”

The Mountaineers finished their season with a 7-2 record in the Big 12 conference. The team will return to play next semester for a spring season following the NCAA’s approval to move fall championships to spring 2021 due to the pandemic. 

For more on Maddie Murphy, follow her on Instagram @Murphym1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: