When you ask the women’s soccer team to describe sophomore goalkeeper Megan McCabe, one particular trait seems to get repeated.
“What I like about Megan McCabe is that Chicago, working class attitude,” EMU head coach Scott Hall said. “She will give you everything. Anything you ask her to do, she will give you 110 percent of it.”
That dedication and working class spirit can also be found off of the pitch.
“I remember once I knocked over a shelf of dishes in our bathroom and made a huge mess,” Sophomore defenseman and roommate Julia Lombardi said. “I didn’t have time to clean it all up, so I left it. Megan (McCabe) asked me later if I did it and I lied and said it wasn’t me. She ended up cleaning up the whole thing. That’s just the kind of person she is. Even if it is your fault, she will be there to back you up.”
But her hard-nosed Chicago upbringing doesn’t come without some of its darker tones.
“I can be really sarcastic sometimes,” McCabe admitted with a smirk. “I give anyone sass any moment I can, I have no mercy sometimes. It can get to be too much sometimes, I bet.”
McCabe was born on June 4, 1994 in Arlington Heights, Ill., which sits about 25 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago, to Eugene and Kathie McCabe. She is also a big sister to high school junior Allison.
“Even though we’re about four hours apart, I have really close relationship with my parents and my sister,” McCabe said. “Allison and I both have just really loved soccer since we were little kids, so it is something we’ve always bonded over.”
Although she had a love for the game from the start, it wasn’t always about playing defense and making saves.
“I was a forward until about seventh grade, when my team forced me into it (playing goalkeeper) because everyone was switching around,” McCabe said. “From seventh grade to about mid way through freshman year of high school, I would switch between in goal and on the field until my parents finally said ‘you need to pick’ because I knew I wanted to play college soccer so I chose goalkeeper.”
She was a member of the Sockers FC United U-16 club team that won the Illinois U-16 girls’ State Cup championship, an honor that she says is one of her biggest moments playing the sport.
“Winning that game in penalty kicks was a big moment for me,” McCabe recalled. “That team won (the) State Cup, won regionals and finished fourth at nationals, so that was cool.”
During her time at Prospect High School, McCabe set school records for shutouts in a season (11), most career shutouts (33), lowest career goals-against average (0.87) and goals against average (0.71), a performance that garnered the mutual interest between her and Eastern Michigan.
“I loved the coaches (at Eastern) and I loved the team and the dynamic I saw from them,” McCabe said. “I also really liked the campus and I kind of wanted to go out of state to experience more. I’m really close with my family, but I’m not a home body and I am ok with being away from them.”
In the classroom, even though she is still listed as “undeclared”, McCabe is beginning her journey into the Exercise Science field, in hopes to someday work as a physical therapist.
Even though she is only a sophomore, McCabe has already picked up some interesting study habits to help her cope with the work load.
“She does this really weird thing when she studies for tests; she always talks to herself out loud. It’s really funny to watch,” fellow goalkeeper and redshirt sophomore Anna Vess said.
Quirks aside, McCabe has some big plans for herself during her college career.
“Julia (Lombardi) and I are planning on going to Europe one summer before we graduate,” she said.
A trip like this would be the second time she has ventured overseas, after she was given a unique opportunity her senior year of high school.
“I was part of an exchange program where we (my family) hosted an Italian girl in September and, during Spring Break, I went over and lived with her in Italy,” McCabe said. “It was an incredible experience for both of us, just getting to experience how different everything is was a cool opportunity.”
Follow Josh Dye on Twitter: @JdyeEMUEcho.