Hailey Magilton might not be the biggest player out there, but few show the same heart as her.
Magilton is a sophomore at Bryn Athyn and the Villa Joseph Marie High School graduate stands 4 feet 11. But when you see her playing sports – both soccer and basketball – her game is as big as anyone.
“I think the majority of the time people are surprised when they see the way I play,” said Magilton, who lives in Lawncrest. “My role is mostly to hustle, I sprint the floor, play defense, but I’m a passer or get people open in place.
“I do think sometimes people underestimate me because of my size, but I try to change their minds really quickly. I try to play bigger.”
She has more than succeeded.
Playing a sport in college is difficult. It’s unusual for an athlete to play two sports just because of the time commitment you have to put in. But Magilton has been able to make it work, at least through one season. And while her responsibility with both teams will only increase as she continues to play, she got a good feel for what she should expect as a freshman and intends to continue to push herself to contribute on both teams.
It’s a lot different than high school, but she’s adjusting well.
“It’s good because they both keep me in shape,” Magilton said. “So I just go from one to the next without any rest, so I’m never out of shape. I can hop right in. In high school it wasn’t bad, but with a lot more work and different sleeping schedule, it’s harder. I go from one to the next, with no real break, so that’s made it hard, but I love it..
“It’s been rough, but I like it because it keeps me busy. I’m not sitting around doing nothing, I always have something to work on.”
Whenever she puts in work, she’s working her best.
Magilton did the same thing in high school, both at Villa and at St. Basil, the school she attended for the first three years of her career.
Finding out your school is closing is never easy, but it’s particularly tough when you’re a junior and finding out you won’t graduate from the school.
Luckily, other than the far commute, Magilton made the best of it.
“It was really hard, it was very difficult, especially hearing the news, we heard it during COVID, we heard it over an email, so we weren’t even together,” she said. “It was hard to transfer from Basil’s to Villa. It was a rough year because it was new, but a lot of Basil’s people went there, that was nice. It was still the Basil’s community.
“I loved Villa. They were very welcoming and they treated us great. I really liked it. It was a great community, too. I loved both schools.”
It’s kind of why she decided to continue her career at Bryn Athyn. Just like her two high schools, her college has everything Magilton looks for in a school. It’s not just a place to play sports and get an education for her.
“I love the school, it’s definitely a lot of community there,” she said. “I love it a lot, at first I was nervous like anyone, but it’s a smaller school, the teachers are very helpful, there are so many activities, so it’s very easy to get involved, and you make friends a lot easier. It makes it like a big family, kind of.”
This year, she’s hoping to contribute in both soccer and basketball.
“In soccer, I just try to go in when people need subs and make sure I’m playing my butt off,” said Magilton, who plays center midfield. “I work as hard as I can for the time I’m in, come out and then go back in. I’m hoping I can have more playing time this year and keep moving up. I want to play this year, but there’s a lot of center mids. I would play anywhere and I can play anywhere, so I go wherever coach puts me, I’ll be happy anywhere.
“I want to keep getting better in basketball, too. I want to be able to help the teams in anything I can do. When I go out, I’ll play my butt off. I just love being part of both teams, both communities. I learned so much last year from the older teammates, and they make me better. I just want to keep getting better.”
Off the field, too.
Magilton is majoring in sports management, minoring in education, and she has big plans.
As an athlete, growing up in the city, she wants to make sure all kids who want to play sports in Philadelphia have a spot to do it.
You never know, she could end up building more dual sport college athletes just like her.
“Longterm goal, I want to open my own sports complex where they have soccer fields, basketball courts and places where kids can go to play sports and have fun,” Magilton said. “Just go and have a good time.
“Short term, I’m working at a daycare (St. Stephen’s in Mayfair as an assistant teacher) right now, I love where I’m working. I’m going to stay there to make money and do a job I love.
“Coaching? I think I’d love that. I don’t know if I want to teach, I think coaching is something I’d love to do because I love working with kids. Maybe teaching younger ages, preschool or something. I love working with kids, so I have options.”