Best on the Shoreline!
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Valley Regional girls’ soccer alum Megan Perkins is stepping into her first season as an assistant coach with the Warriors. Megan was a four-year starter at Valley who earned All-State honors during her junior season. (Photo courtesy of Megan Perkins )
Megan Perkins is coming back to Valley Regional to take on a new role as the assistant coach of the girls’ soccer squad this fall. Megan, who graduated from Valley in 2011, played four years of varsity soccer for the Warriors at the striker position. Now, Megan is looking to use some of the lessons that she learned as a player to help first-year Head Coach Lauren MacDonald’s team see success.
Megan feels excited to return to the same halls that she walked while growing up in Essex. Megan, who lives in Centerbrook, has a long history of playing soccer in her hometown.
“I’m a Valley alum, and I grew up in Essex. Soccer has always been a huge part of my life,” says Megan. “I played competitively year-round. It was my only sport. Soccer was a particularly huge part of my life in high school. It had a huge impact on me going into adulthood, and I want to be able to have that same kind of impact for the girls.”
Megan experienced some memorable moments playing for the Warriors, especially during her junior year. Valley made a deep postseason run that season, and Megan earned some prestigious honors in the process.
“My junior year was the biggest year for me, personally. We ended up making the Shoreline finals. I was First Team All-State, and I was nominated for All-American,” says Megan. “I was one of the leading scorers that year. Back when I started varsity my freshman year, one of my biggest goals was to become All-State.”
While Megan had an outstanding career at Valley, she’s also been through some tough times. Megan sustained a significant ankle injury that ultimately cut short her career at Keene State College. Even though that was a major setback for Megan, she believes the experience gave her valuable perspective for her new position as an assistant coach.
“I was injured quite a bit because of my ankle, but I was always involved with my team. While I was a captain, I was injured most of my senior year. I think that experience will help me in this job, like it has always helped me in all my jobs,” says Megan, who graduated from Keene State in 2015. “I felt more like a coach when I was injured. A lot of my talks with the team happened on the sidelines, rather than on the field. It wasn’t always fun on the sidelines, but I was able to learn the game a different way. I think that benefited me, and I hope that will benefit the girls, as well.”
This fall will mark Megan’s first season as a coach. Megan hopes that she can have just as much of an influence on Valley’s players as her high school coaches did on her.
“Head Coach Rob Shepard and coach Steve Kleiman had a big influence on me. They really motivated me to work hard,” Megan says. “They got the best out of me, and that’s what I want to do for the girls. They expected the best, but they also motivated me to give my best.”
Megan wasn’t necessarily looking to step into a coaching role this year. However, when Coach MacDonald presented her with the opportunity, Megan just couldn’t pass it up.
“Lauren got in contact with me and asked if I was interested in being assistant coach. I thought about it constantly, because I always saw myself as a coach,” says Megan. “I liked passing information along to my fellow players and watching how that helped them excel on the field. That’s the biggest goal as a coach. That’s what drew me to it. Also, being a Valley alum, it was a huge draw to be able to come back to my old high school and the athletic program that I loved so much.”
MacDonald knew that Megan was the ideal candidate to help her try and build Valley girls’ soccer into a Shoreline Conference powerhouse. MacDonald believes that Megan will play a pivotal role in helping the Warriors’ athletes succeed.
“Megan and I grew up playing soccer against each other from middle school to high school all the way to our club teams. I knew she would be the perfect match for my coaching style, as we had similar styles of play,” MacDonald says. “I’m looking forward to this season with Megan coaching alongside me. She brings a wealth of knowledge of the game that will help our team develop into the best version of themselves.”
Megan is eager for the 2019 campaign to get underway. MacDonald told Megan that the Warriors are ready to work hard in order to improve. As a coach, that’s exactly what Megan wants to see.
“Based on what Lauren said about the team, we have a great group of girls. We’ve got our first practice coming up, and it will be a great opportunity for us to introduce ourselves as a unit to the team,” says Megan. “They have that will to win and work hard, and that’s important in a soccer team. If they want to work hard, I think they will be a great group of girls to coach. We’ll be able to learn together.”