Philadelphia Academy Charter goalie standing tall

Stepping up to be goalie as an experiment sophomore year, Lauren Beck has become a star blocker.

Lauren Beck has provided Philadelphia Academy Charter with stability in net. PHOTO: BRIANNA DONAGHY

Lauren Beck didn’t try out to be a goalie. It never even crossed her mind to play goaltender.

She was put there as an experiment during her sophomore year because the Philadelphia Academy Charter School girls soccer team needed someone to step up.

Beck was happy to do it. And it worked.

“They decided I should try it because I’m tall and I can block a lot of space,” said Beck, who stands 5 feet 11. “I had the longest arms on the team, and I can take up a lot of space. I remember going in during a game against Central and I didn’t allow a goal. I had to learn a lot, but I like it. I’m still getting better.”

Beck, now a senior, is one of the better goalies in the Public League, and this year she’s been frustrating her foes.

The Chargers are 3–2–1 on the season, but Beck is 3–1 on the year. Her only loss was a 1–0 decision to Masterman. She has two shutouts and she notched 15 saves when Philadelphia Academy Charter tied Franklin Towne Charter 1–1.

“We’ve had a lot of tough games, but we’re doing really good,” Beck said. “The defense is doing great. They do a lot to help me, they play really good in front of me. I like to do things to help them because I’m the last line of defense. But they work hard in front of me to make things easier for me.”

Beck excels at soccer, but she’s a three-sport star. She’s also a talented center in basketball, and during her first two years at the school, she played lacrosse for George Washington High School.

“Lacrosse is actually my favorite sport, but there were some problems so I couldn’t play last year,” Beck said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to play. I was one of the better players on the team those years, but I might just focus on soccer and basketball.”

She has time to decide what she’s going to do, but right now she’s all about soccer.

The Fox Chase native is standing tall in the Chargers net and enjoying every second of it.

While she truly appreciates the hard work her teammates put forth, she doesn’t mind when they call on her to make plays.

“I love when I make a save that gets everyone excited and gets everyone cheering,” Beck said. “I love when I’m able to get momentum. When you make a big save, it gets everyone excited. Whenever I make one, it seems like the rest of the team plays better for a few minutes. And I love hearing everyone cheer.”

When Beck isn’t saving shots, she’s saving dogs.

During her free time, she volunteers with the National Greyhound Adoption Program in Parkwood.

There, she helps out in the kennel, walking dogs, playing with them and just doing whatever it takes to help the former racing dogs get comfortable in their new environment.

“I love doing it, I wish I could take a lot of them home but my mom won’t let me,” Beck said with a laugh. “I fell in love with a couple of them. I just feed them, play with them, take them out. A lot of them are scared, so I try to make sure they trust me.”

The job has helped prepare Beck for her future.

Next year, she hopes to go to college where she’ll major in pre-veterinary medicine, where she’ll help animals.

Certainly Jack, her black lab/hound mix, has helped her go in that direction, but so has her work with the National Greyhound Adoption Program.

“I love animals, and I think that would be the perfect job for me,” Beck said. “Plus, I like science. I did really well in chemistry. Biology is a little tougher for me, and I know I’ll have to do well in that, so I’ll work with it. It’s something I really want to do, so I know if I put the work in, I’ll be able to do it.”

That’s exactly how she feels about her soccer career, too.

The Public League is tough again this year, but the Chargers have already played some of the best teams in the league and they’re on the right track.

Beck hopes her play, combined with the improvement of her teammates, will mean good things for the Chargers when the weather starts to cool down.

“The biggest thing we want to do is win the Public League championship,” Beck said. “I want to make it to states, too, in soccer and basketball. The soccer team is really starting to play together. I’m glad I switched (from midfield) to goalie as a sophomore because now I’m more comfortable and I’m ready to help us win.” ••