One of the most important components of an athlete’s progression is competition. If you have a rival or a teammate that is pushing you, the more motivated you will be to perfect your craft and not get complacent. For North Carolina Courage forward McKenzie Meehan, she is surrounded by talented players that are helping her refine her abilities.
A native of Rhode Island, McKenzie Meehan is one of the most accomplished players in Boston College history. She still holds the school record in career points and career goals (nearly 20 more than second-place on the list) and that type of production helped her get drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2017. Last summer, Meehan was traded to North Carolina for Elizabeth Eddy. She joined a Courage side that is loaded with talent, especially in the attack. McKenzie told BGN, “It’s been amazing to learn from incredible players Lynn (Williams), Jess (McDonald) and Hammy (Kristen Hamilton) throughout my time with the Courage, as they push me to be better every day.” While it’s great to learn from those talented teammates, the goal for any player is to get on the pitch and help the club succeed. Talking about how she can make sure to stay in contention for playing time, she explained, “Personally, I have to make sure I’m learning and growing as a player every day at training so that I’m prepared and ready for any opportunity.”
Meehan had the opportunity to start for the Courage in their 2-0 win over the Washington Spirit in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. The two-time defending league champions North Carolina cruised through the preliminary rounds of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup before getting bounced in their first knockout match vs. Portland Thorns FC. “It was definitely disappointing to get knocked out of the Challenge Cup, but it gave us an opportunity to refocus and understand the areas where we must improve,” Meehan said. “It also gives us extra motivation and hunger to get back to training to elevate our level as a team for next season.” That next season will come sooner than expected as the league announced a return is coming soon with the Fall Series. What is McKenzie working on the most in her individual game following the Challenge Cup? She answered, “I would like to improve my speed of play, my decision making in and around the box, and my finishing.”
Still only 25 years old, Meehan is just entering her prime, but she hasn’t had a chance to play for her country since being called up for a U-23 tournament back in 2016. However, McKenzie is just focused on what she can control at the moment. “I think right now my main goal is to continuously improve and put myself in a position to be an impact player every time I step on the field,” she said.
Outside of soccer, McKenzie has always had someone in her life that’s pushing her to be great and to share experiences with: her twin sister, Maddie. With a theme of competition breeding success, what are three things that each twin is better at than the other? “I’d say she is better at planning, I’m better at going with the flow. She’s a better baker, I’m a better cook. She was always a better long distance runner, I’m better with short distances,” McKenzie said.
The Meehan family grew up in Glocester, Rhode Island and McKenzie loves getting back home when she can. “I love being home in the summertime, as we have some great beaches and cool spots in Newport and Narragansett,” she said, “I also love the food at home – lots of good Italian, pizza strips, coffee milk, etc.”
Speaking of good food, Meehan said she’s been working on some new recipes and baking during the pandemic while also going for walks and hikes and adding in some tennis, yoga, and puzzles. Soon, McKenzie and the Courage will be back to trying to solve NWSL defenses with the Fall Series set to kick off on September 5th.