Senior Spotlight: #29 Morgan McKerchie
Keeping Her Dreams Big
By Angie Bazzano, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
EAST LANSING, Mich. - For senior captain Morgan McKerchie, her passion for soccer was ignited at a young age and her love for the sport has only intensified with every game.
When she was four years old, the Clio, Michigan, native came home from kindergarten with a flyer from the American Youth Soccer Association. Her curiosity was instantly piqued and she knew she needed to play the game. However, her parents, who had played baseball, softball and basketball, hadn't ever thought of their child playing soccer. After some persuading, they eventually gave in to a persistent McKerchie and ever since, soccer has been much more than a sport.
"Keep your dreams big and push toward them. You just have to reach for the highest goal," said McKerchie. "As a little kid I always dreamed that I was going play college soccer, but you don't really think it's going to happen."
McKerchie's dream of playing college soccer became a reality during her sophomore year of high school. When McKerchie came to Michigan State for an official visit, she immediately fell in love with the school and the soccer program through the way the team interacted with each other. Her decision of what school to attend was very easy from that point on.
During her freshman season, McKerchie started all 19 games that she appeared in. This trend continued into her sophomore and junior campaigns, as she appeared in every game her second season and started all 18 games last year.
"Luckily I got to play my freshman year so that made soccer a lot more fun. I just embraced the opportunity and used that to keep pushing for the four years. I didn't want to lose my starting spot."
Through being a leader and team player, McKerchie has had the ability to have an impact on her teammates, the team dynamic and the culture of Michigan State soccer.
"I like to lead, not necessarily on the field," McKerchie said. "I'm not the biggest goal-scorer or the biggest assist, but I like to lead in how I hold myself, the standards I hold myself to and how hard I work. I hope that pushes other people to work as hard as I am."
McKerchie's biggest influence on and off the field is her grandma who passed away after battling cancer two years ago. McKerchie always saw her grandma cheering her on in the stands at her games and knew that no matter what, she would always be her biggest supporter. When she's tired on the field or not feeling great about her play, McKerchie uses that as motivation to work harder, for herself and her teammates.
"Other people are fighting bigger battles so I just have to keep pushing through it because my teammates need me."
From her strong presence on the field as a consistent starter, McKerchie is able to use her experience to mentor the younger players on the team.
"Helping the younger kids when they first come in in pre-season and using my experience to help them get better," said McKerchie. "I'm in the final stretch here and it's about helping them get better for their next four years."
After switching her major from pre-med to electrical engineering, McKerchie was set back school-wise and faced a new challenge off the field.
"Having a hard major and balancing soccer has been key for me because the classes can become overwhelming, so making sure I keep my stress from school and don't bring it over to soccer practice with me because that can have a negative effect."
She quickly learned how to balance the two, as she received Academic All-Big Ten honors during her sophomore and junior years.
A humbling experience that always puts things into perspective for McKerchie is seeing the younger soccer players that come up to the team after the games, bright-eyed and dreaming of becoming collegiate soccer players one day, much like she was when she was younger.
"You have these little kids coming up to you and they're smiling and happy. We might've just lost but then you see these little kids and that's what it's about," McKerchie said. "Sometimes it's just more than winning or losing a game, just letting these kids dream that they can become the next Michigan State soccer player."
As the season winds down, her personal goals all involve positivity, to keep impacting the team in a positive way and remaining positive through all of the ups and downs that are still to come.
"That's our goal right now, to just game by game push each other to be better so that the team is better and so we can make it to the post-season."
With graduation looming in the near future, McKerchie has sights on her post-grad plans. After graduating next December, she plans to use her Electrical Engineering degree to work under a professional engineer for four years and then write for her professional engineering exam.
Her dreams don't just stop with becoming a professional engineer. McKerchie hopes to open her own engineering firm and merge that with her dad's electrical contracting firm.
To McKerchie, being able to represent the Spartans as a student-athlete has been the most rewarding experience and an opportunity that has shaped who she is today.
"Being a Spartan means everything to me. It's just a once in a lifetime opportunity and once you get it you just have to run with it," McKerchie said smiling. "It's really hard to put into words. It's more like a feeling. Just saying 'I'm a Spartan' makes me happy. I just get excited."
As McKerchie suits up in the Green and White for the final time this season, she will look back on her time in East Lansing as one full of friendships and memories. She will remember her teammates, the friends that she's made in the past four years and the countless opportunities that Michigan State has given her to succeed in the classroom, on the field and in life.