After signing her first U.S. professional soccer contract last week, a former Triton standout talks about her journey and what it will take to keep a permanent roster spot.
Besides a brief high school trip, Morgan Goff had only visited Washington, D.C. once before last week.
That instance, in 2019, was soured by news that she didn’t survive final cuts during tryouts for the local National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team.
Last Tuesday’s drive to the Nation’s Capital held more of a ceremonious tone, however, as the Triton alum was en route to join a Washington Spirit club that kept her on a shortlist of candidates to fill open roster spots this summer.
“It was nice to hear that I was still relevant, even though it had been a while since I trained with this team,” Goff said during a recent phone interview with The Daily Record.
“I’m excited to have my first opportunity to prove myself in this league.”
The 2019 University of North Carolina grad started 14 of 27 games her senior year, helping the Lady Tar Heels to their 22nd conference championship and another NCAA title game appearance.
With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a countrywide hold to all athletics in 2020, Goff’s dreams of playing professionally were diverted from the states and she signed her first pro contract with Iceland’s Þróttur of the Úrvalsdeild kvenna.
“Iceland definitely helped me find more of my voice on the soccer field and to be more confident with my decisions and my leadership,” Goff said.
“So that was definitely a plus to bring to this environment – to have more a commanding voice, and with that comes confidence on the field.”
Though she doesn’t consider herself a “showy” player, Goff says the Spirit coaches have asked her to display more of her newfound voice.
It’s something the versatile defender and midfielder says she is still fine-tuning after engaging in personal workouts for the majority of this year, but also noted how encouraging Thursday’s first practice was.
“I think it went pretty well, to be honest. Coming from my own workouts and not being with a team for so long, I was wondering what my form would be like when I got back,” Goff said.
“I was actually presently surprised with how well I kept up with everything. Also, having already signed, I was a lot less nervous about how I would play ... that was very helpful with my mentality.”
She added that manning the outside back and center back positions have been the most effective through early team workouts, roles she’s had plenty of time to develop during her stint in Iceland.
As a National Team Replacement contract player, Goff joins a group of hungry hopefuls league-wide that will round out their respective rosters until athletes return from the Tokyo Olympics in late August.
Between now and when her contract is scheduled to expire, Goff is carrying the same resilient mentality that put her in this position.
“Basically, just prove myself as a player. Prove that I can not only keep up, but create things and bring value to the team,” she said.
The Spirit return to action Sunday, July 18 against NJ/NY Gotham FC, which can be viewed on the Paramount+ app at 5 p.m.
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910 230-2040.