Paige Monaghan is an amazing young athlete that is currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League. She was picked 10th overall by the NJ Skyblue in the NWSL Draft and is continuing her success from high school and college. Growing up in New Jersey, she played at the premier club, Players Development Academy (PDA). This led to a successful high school career where she scored 68 goals in 45 appearances. After being highly recruited by top programs, she chose to play at Butler University. Paige fell in love and found a home at Butler University, where she was named All-Big East Offensive First Team not once but twice and was awarded 2017 All-Big East Offensive Player of the year. Paige graduated from Butler University with a degree in marketing and wants to be a sports broadcaster in the future. Paige is currently working on growing her skills while playing with Skyblue FC and attends training camps for the United States U-23 team. Paige gave some great advice for all athletes who are looking to play at the next level.
Questions and Answers for College Athletes
LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that a coach has given you and who was that coach?
Paige: The best advice I received was from my college coach, Rob Alman. He told me to believe in myself, love the game, and do it with everything I have from training, games, recovery, to everything in between.
LRT Sports: Soccer is a highly physical sport, what advice can you offer to young soccer players who are trying to get into shape for college soccer? What two exercises should a soccer athlete do every day?
Paige: You need to be truly fit. Not fake fit where you power through a beep test or max out one rep. From the weight room to aerobic fitness, get ahead of it now. This will put you in a position to play in a 90-minute game, help with injury prevention and your overall well-being as a collegiate athlete. For example, I work on core every day because that is your stabilizer so two exercises I recommend would be planks and v-ups. But any lifting movements such as hang cleans or other overhead movements work your core. Mastering those movements will help you in the long run.
LRT Sports: What are your thoughts on the push in football and basketball to pay college athletes and how do you feel it will affect sports such as soccer?
Paige: Yeah it is interesting reading all those articles but really, it doesn’t involve my sport or me. I was blessed to be provided a great education through college soccer.
LRT Sports: What tips do you have for college athletes who are trying to go pro?
Paige: Two things, love and discipline. Love for your family, friends, teammates, support, yourself and the game. As well as discipline. Stay disciplined with your choices and actions. There will be sacrifices that you have to make, and if you make the right choices and right sacrifices, that’s your start to being a professional.
LRT Sports: Do you have any tips for collegiate soccer athlete who is playing for a coach that they do not particularly get along with?
Paige: Control what you can control. You control your attitude, your choices, your goals, your friends, etc. Instead of focusing on the things you wish your coach could be doing different, focus on how you can positively impact your environment for the team.
LRT Sports: In your opinion what is the best characteristic that a college athlete should have when playing their sport?
Paige: In my opinion, the best characteristic would be passion. My passion kept me going and still does. I love soccer. It is so much fun to me. There are times it can be a grind of course, but how lucky am I to be playing the sport I love alongside with other athletes?
LRT Sports: Being that LRT Sports is a rating and review site for college coaches, would you have used their resources to see what current and former athletes have to say about college head coaches?
Paige: Yeah, of course there could be some sour apples reviewing coaches, but I think it would be beneficial to read up during the recruiting process.
Questions and Answers for High School Athletes
LRT Sports: Do you see any major flaws in the NCAA recruitment process? Please explain.
Paige: During my college recruit, I was way too young. But I believe the rules have changed which is great. For instance, I was recruited my sophomore year. People were committing their freshman year of high school. That is too young for the athletes as well as the college. Talent can change for better or worse, injuries, and staff changes. It didn’t make sense to me so I am glad they changed it.
LRT Sports: When you were in high school how many schools were you looking at? How many schools would you recommend that athletes look at? What is that magic number, if there is one?
Paige: I was told to visit as many schools as possible which I did. It does get exhausting. But, you need to visit the school itself without coaches, the team, etc. See how you like the school, the feel, the distance, the environment. The sport one day will end, your education should be your drive. Then I would contact coaches, team, etc to see how well you like the feel of that.
LRT Sports: Since you went through the recruiting process, what would you say are the do’s and don’ts when being a potential recruit?
Paige: Just to be yourself. You want to be authentic. This place will be your home for the next four years. Don’t be anyone but yourself and be the best version of yourself.
LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can offer a recruit while on an official visit?
Paige: The best piece of advice would be to surround yourself with good people. You have the choice to pick a team and staff. I believe if you surround yourself with people who are genuinely good, good relationships will form, great goals are made and met. It only sets you up for greatness. I remember college as the amazing people I was surrounded with and have extraordinary relationships with today, not how many goals I scored.
LRT Sports: What advice can you give high school athletes when it comes to social media?
Paige: A lot of people go to college. A lot of people party. Not a lot of have the opportunity to be a collegiate athlete. Understand the amazing opportunity you have. Social media is great but to be blunt, you’re not “cool” for posting at a party, future employers will see. Your media is a representation of you.
LRT Sports: Any advice for athletes who are trying to get off the bench?
Paige: Communicate with your coach. Ask, “What do you think are the areas of improvement for me?” Be receptive and ask for an individual session to improve on these skills. But most importantly, keep working. I have been there before. As I talked about, I was in a great environment full of great people and soccer players that it just drove me to be better which I got better.
LRT Sports:What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or a teammate while playing a game?
Paige: Hahah it was in practice actually. We were playing a drill and time was up and my coach blew the whistle as I was clipping a ball to my friend on the other side of the possession grid. Naturally, everyone looked to where I was kicking it to. She (one of my nearest and dearest friends) was back peddling all cool trying to take a casual great touch out of the air and BOOM! The ball smacks her right in the neck, as a weird “Yelp” came out of her mouth. The whole team laughed. One of the funniest moments in my soccer career.
LRT Sports: What is your go to meal before a big game?
Paige: This sounds weird but sweet potato, ground turkey, then I always have to have my game day cold brew.
* Originally published on September 9, 2019, by John Freund