Meaghan Nally was born in Fairfax, Virginia and grew up in Herndon, playing soccer for South Lakes High School. When it came time to continue her soccer career at the collegiate level, she didn’t have to travel far. In 2016, she signed to attend Georgetown University, staying in the area affectionately known as the DMV (District of Colombia, Maryland, and Virginia). “When choosing Georgetown, staying in the DMV was not really a consideration; I just knew the balance of great academics and competitive soccer on a city campus was the perfect fit for me,” Meaghan explained to BGN.
“But once I got there, I did realize how nice it was to see my parents, family, and friends at all of my home games; so I was very grateful to be so close to home.”
In 21 matches last season, ten of them ended with zeroes on the scoreboard for the team trying to breakdown Nally and the Hoyas’ defense. When asked how satisfying it is to shut out an opponent, she responded, “It is very validating. Ever since my first season at Georgetown, shutouts were something we took great pride in; we knew that we would rather win 1-0 than 5-1.”
“And shutouts are really a reflection on the whole team because our keeper only had to stop a few shots because the backline would only let a few in; the backline could limit the opponents to a few shots because our midfielders were able to press and win the ball higher up the field more often than not; and our forwards started the whole thing by forcing the other team into those pressure pockets; and we were able to do this so effectively in games because the non-starters challenged the starters every day at practice to defend perfectly as a unit. So I think it’s even more validating because of the full team effort involved.”
Those shutouts and her one goal and two assists this season helped her win Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, as well as another All-Big East First Team selection. “Obviously winning awards is nice, but if that becomes your sole focus you become a very selfish player, you end up putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself, and you take some of the joy out of the game,” Meaghan said. “So my first priority was to make sure I was team focused, which enabled my motivation to come out of a place of love and respect for my teammates, rather than a fear of individual failure. And we also have a culture at Georgetown where our only goal is simply to get a little bit better every day, so this helped to put the big things in perspective and alleviate some of the pressure I may have felt.”
While she didn’t want to declare why a team should draft her over another prospect this week, she will look to take that team-first mindset, ability to defend centrally or out wide, and a shining resume to the NWSL. Maybe, Washington Spirit will decide to keep the Georgetown star defender in the DMV for her professional career as well.