Alex McGonigle isn’t just playing for herself. She’s not just playing for her team. She’s not just playing for her school.
She is doing all that, but she’s also flying the banner of her old school.
McGonigle is a senior center midfielder on the St. Hubert High School soccer team. If you’re a Bambies fan, that name might not sound familiar to you. That’s because while McGonigle was a soccer star during her first three years of high school, last year she was playing for St. Basil’s Academy, which closed at the end of last school year.
“When I found out it was closing, it was heartbreaking,” said McGonigle, who lives in Fox Chase. “I wasn’t at school, we were at home learning and I got an email. It was so upsetting. I love St. Basil’s.
“But when it happened, I really didn’t have to think about where I was going. Other people didn’t know right away, but I did. I knew I wanted to go to Hubert’s because of the sisterhood. I had friends from St. Cecilia’s who went there and they loved it. My mom went there, she loved it. I knew it was where I wanted to be, and when I got here, I knew it even better.”
She’s a proud Bambie. But she’s also playing for those who aren’t playing this year.
Basil’s soccer team had a large junior class last year, so this year was expected to be a fun one. But when the school announced it was closing, most of the players decided to stop playing.
“There are two other girls playing, but most people didn’t play, and I feel so bad for them,” McGonigle said. “That’s why I’m dedicating this year to all of my old teammates, my old school and my coaches. I found a great spot to play and I love it, but I feel so bad for the girls who aren’t playing. Soccer season was my favorite part of the year at Basil’s, I loved it, and it’s sad that we didn’t get a chance to play there. I’m playing for all of them this year.”
She would love to be at her old school, but she’s pretty darn happy at her new school, too.
McGonigle admits having a place like Hubert is a perfect fit for her. The soccer actually helped her get acclimated to going to the school and now that she’s in the building, she couldn’t be happier.
“The girls here are so welcoming,” McGonigle said. “I’m kind of surprised, but kind of not. I knew going here, just from what everyone told me that it’s a great place with that sisterhood that makes going to school fun. But so many girls have gone out of their way to ask me how I’m doing and if I need anything. It’s such a great place. I really love being here.”
It’s also not a bad place to play soccer.
It’s much different than playing in the Catholic Academies League. Both leagues offer extremely tough competition, but many of the teams McGonigle faced in previous seasons aren’t on the Bambies schedule. But there are a host of teams she hasn’t played against.
“I’m actually looking forward to the season because when I was there, I knew the teams we played, I knew what to expect, but now we see different teams, so it’s really exciting,” McGonigle said. “Plus, I think we have a really good team. I actually started playing with the team before I got here, so I think that made going to school a lot easier. This team is so good.
“I really like the girls on the team. They were so welcoming. When I found out Basil’s was closing, I was so upset because I wasn’t going to have my senior year. But now I’m getting that here and it’s great.”
The Bambies are happy to have her.
Not only does she bring talent to the midfield, she has a wealth of experience and has learned a lot from her days at Basil’s. She’s happy to share everything she’s learned with her younger teammates.
“I was pretty upset when I thought that I wouldn’t get a chance to be a captain at Basil’s, and I thought there was no way a new school was going to have a transfer be a captain,” McGonigle said. “But when they told me, I was so happy. It was definitely something I wanted to do, and I’m trying to be a good leader. When I was younger, I always looked up to the upperclassmen, so I’m trying to be that kind of player for them.”
She’s also a pretty good soccer player.
“I try to be a team player who works really hard and does whatever I can to help the team,” McGonigle said. “I’m not a huge goal scorer. I try to get the ball to the strikers and let them do what they do. I like to get people involved and I’ll definitely work hard. That’s what I’ve always done.”
This could be the last year McGonigle plays soccer. She’s unsure if she wants to play in college. She’s also unsure what she’ll major in, but is leaning toward something in business. So she’s hoping she can play for as long as possible while representing the Bambies.
“I knew playing for St. Hubert’s was going to be fun, but it’s better than I even thought it would be,” she said. “We have a great coach, we have great players, we are friends and that happened really quickly. I would have loved to finish at Basil’s, but this has been great, too.”