Meg Pierce, leading by example

After getting kneed in the quadriceps during a game and suffering a muscle tear, Meg Pierce was out for a year before physical therapy helped her recover. This year she’s come back as strong as ever, becoming a standout for the Santa Monica College women’s soccer team. Pierce has scored ten goals since the beginning of the season.

Determined and hard working, Pierce has embraced her role on the team. “I just love playing. I love being on a team, being a leader. I’m not a captain, but I like to lead the team by example.”

Her competitiveness starts during practice and warm ups. Pierce believes it’s important to set a good example, and to take warming up seriously. “I believe that if I’m doing really well [in warm ups], it parallels the game.”

She also carries a degree of a superstition into her playing. She wears a piece of magenta electrical tape around her shin guards to bring herself luck. “No one else asks if they can use it because they know it’s mine.”

Pierce believes that team unity is an important part of success, and that bond can be strengthened during off-court activities. Aside from meeting three times a week for practice and two times for games, they all meet after hours as well. “We have movie nights, sleepovers, we go out for dinner. I think it has helped us understand each other better on the field,” Pierce said.

Her sister, Emily Pierce, also plays on the team as a left midfielder. “We’ve always played together, so we know each other very well. It helps bring a better game,” Emily Pierce said.

Head coach Aaron Benditson considers her a dynamic impact player that can definitely play at the next level. “She can change the game by making final passes or scoring goals,” Benditson said. He believes she has what it takes to be recruited by a four-year institution, but he doesn’t want it to distract the team. “We’ll focus more on it once the season finishes,” Benditson says.

Although Pierce knows she has the potential to play anywhere, she wants to focus on her academics, and figure out if she can balance her schedule between playing soccer at a major university, working a job, and studying for her degree at the same time.

She is currently a sophomore majoring in business. She hopes to transfer to UCLA, UC Berkeley, or USC after finishing her last few units at SMC.

Pierce has been playing soccer since she was six years old, when her parents first signed her up for a team. Like most kids growing up playing soccer, she’s just chasing a dream.

Only for her, the line between dreams and reality is steadily dissolving.