Salem High School has its first nationally ranked soccer player. With an average of 22 saves a game, and a save rate of 82%, she had a grand total of 310 saves this season. According to MaxPreps, a website specializing in coverage of American high school sports, Maggie Gibson finished the season with a fifth place national ranking. Having only played soccer for two years, Gibson has made an impact on the team.
Gibson is a junior at SHS. She has been playing soccer since her sophomore year. When asked why she started playing she responded, "they needed a goalie and I wanted to stay in shape for basketball.¨ With no previous knowledge of how to play soccer, Gibson jumped in the deep end. “I had no idea what I was getting into.”
Gibson had a lot to learn in a short amount of time. Her first year playing she had a full team helping her. After graduating half the team last year, the Lady Lions soccer team struggled for players all season. Needing a team of at least 11 players, the girls soccer team played half their season with only eight players. By the end of the season, the team had 11 players with a couple of substitutes.
Tammi Gibson, Maggie’s mother, played soccer while in college. She played her sophomore year of college at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. When asked how she felt about her daughter playing she replied, “I was very proud that Maggie was willing to try something new. I knew it was a very physical sport. I’m glad that she went out of her comfort zone and tried something new and found that she really enjoys playing goalie.”
Corabelle Tally is the coach for the Salem girls soccer team. Tally was not surprised by the turn out to play soccer this year after graduating eight seniors. She doesn’t believe Salem has ever had a player that was nationally ranked. Jessica Batt is the goalie trainer that has worked with Gibson since she started playing. Batt has trained Gibson to become better and has helped her to learn the game of soccer. Tally said that without Batt, Gibson would not be as good as she is.
As a goalie Gibson has to work with her team in order to save the ball. The defense is the last line before the ball gets to her. “In game my defense helps me out by attacking the ball more and my offense works hard to receive and take the ball up the field,” said Gibson
She said the team encourages her to keep her head up if a ball gets past her. Without her team, she would not be as successful.
“Soccer is my favorite sport,” she said. “I think playing soccer is the best decision that I’ve ever made.”