The senior goalie and captain, a first team All-Friends’ Schools League selection each of the past three years, is off to another fine start this season, making seven saves against a strong Baldwin School squad earlier this month in a 0-0 draw. Last fall, she made many crucial saves to lead the Gators to the FSL championship final, and was a first team All-Main Line selection. A versatile athlete, Gordon has provided scoring punch for the Gators when moved out of the net, and is a starting defensive midfielder for the Shipley girls’ lacrosse team in the spring. Gordon recently committed to play soccer at Drexel University, where she will enter the Health Sciences program.
Q: Is there one save that you made this season (to date) that stands out in your memory? Can you describe how the play unfolded, and your role in it?
A: One particular save that I made this year that stands out is when we played Baldwin (a 0-0 draw) – I remember waiting patiently as the play unfolded through the midfield and the ball was kicked over for a forward to run onto. As she was coming down the field, I tried to stay calm and focused on the same thing each time before I make a save – I say to myself, “On your toes, set shape, and breathe.” The shot came to my right side high and I pushed it out of bounds with my top hand. In that moment I felt unstoppable.
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game as a goalie?
A: I believe the strongest aspect of my game is my ability to get balls in the air and coming out on 1v1 shots. As a kid I was always scared of getting hit, but once I played in goal every game I got used to stepping out to a ball and have been knocked out a few times but it doesn’t scare me anymore.
Q: What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: Something I will always be working on is my foot skills and my ability to add an extra player on the field behind my back line to play with my feet.
Q: As a goalie, does on-field communication with the defense play a big role in your success?
A: I believe that on-field communication is the key to success at any level of play. Without not only the goalkeeper talking, but every position on the field [talking], it can be very challenging to play to the best of your abilities. Talking to my players is something I have practicing since the first time I was put on a team. For Shipley, I communicate with my defense through every play.
Q: Have you always played goalie? What sparked your original interest in the goalie position?
A: I originally started off playing striker and later transferred to the goalkeeping position because that is where my dad played. Every day after practice he would shoot on me and that is where I learned how to handle catching and getting hit with fast-paced balls. I didn’t completely transfer to goalkeeping until after my third year of playing soccer.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: On game day I’m always trying to get in the mindset, whether it is 10 minutes before warm up or when I leave my house at 7:15. I start off by blasting my playlist in the car on the way to school and get a big breakfast for the day. If I’m not in class I have my headphones on and I am always hydrating for the game. At lunch I make sure to have a protein with fruits and vegetables on my plate, so when it comes time to leave for the game I am completely ready to take the field.
Q: Who have been your biggest mentors as a goalie, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
A: My biggest mentor has been Jill Loyden, who is CEO of The Keeper Institute in New Jersey. She has been my goalkeeping coach for seven years now and every day I go to training I am always learning something new. She has inspired me not only through training, but in life. She has taught me so many valuable lessons in life to help me pursue my dreams on the field and keep a strong mental game at all times. Without having Jill and the entire TKI staff, I would not be close to the player and person I am today. I owe so much of my success to them.
Q: What uniform jersey number do you wear? Why did you pick this number?
A: I wear No. 00, but for the longest time I was No. 99 because it is the highest number you could be. I later transitioned to No. 00 because I know no matter when I start I am always starting from point 0 and from there I can only go higher.
Fun facts – Grace Gordon
Favorite TV show: The Office.
Favorite movie: Dead Pool.
Favorite athlete: Shayne Gostisbehere.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: On My Grind.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Flyers.
Favorite pre-game meal: Caesar salad.
Family members: parents Marybeth Gordon and Scott Gordon, brother Cooper Gordon, step-sisters Brynn and Kylie Spangenberger and Lexi McCoy, step-brother Damon McCoy, step-mom Jenn Gebhart, step-dad Neil McCoy.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)
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