Keepers of the Goals: Dual profile on soccer’s stars
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Soccer is a team sport, yet one person on the field has the extra responsibility of preventing a game-winning shot from slipping through their hands.
“The goalkeeper has to play well for the team to play well”, said Mercer University junior and goalkeeper Jeremy Booth.
Luckily for Mercer soccer, two standout goalkeepers have shined in this year’s Southern Conference play.
Maggie Cropp, a senior out of Morgan Hill, California, allowed only one goal out of 24 attempts in the month of September. Cropp says that her role on the field is a bit different from the other players.
“I can see the whole field, so it’s my job to direct everybody else. I’m there to guide them,” Cropp said.
Booth is the men’s starting goalkeeper. Following his freshman season, Booth transferred out of Mercer and spent a year away from soccer, but he chose to return for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
“Not playing last year was definitely a big motivation to play this year,” Booth said. He added that he pined for the sport while he spent a year away from the constant lifts, workouts, games and his teammates.
The Georgia-native has won several awards during his second season as a Bear, racking up recognition from SoCon coaches and players. In the men’s preseason tournament in Utah, Booth was named to the All-Tournament Team. He also won SoCon Player of the Week in early October.
Booth explains that the pressure the goalkeeper deals with is something that he has become accustomed to.
“There is definitely pressure, but you learn to deal with it,” he said. “I’ve been playing for 16 years now, so it’s just something you have to cope with.”
Cropp said that when you play a Division 1 sport, it consumes you. When asked about the absence of soccer after graduating in May, Cropp expressed her fear of boredom.
“I’m already freaking out. I’ve been doing this since I was five years old, and now I’m about to stop. I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself,” she said. “Everyday, this is what you do. You wake up and go to practice.”
Booth shared Cropp’s worries.
“It’ll definitely be hard trying to figure out something else to take that away,” he said.
Booth has two remaining years to play for the Bears and said he’s excited about the potential and future of the young team.
“We were kinda separated in the beginning of the season. It’s becoming a tight knit group of guys,” he said.
Despite her apprehensions of leaving soccer behind following her graduation, Cropp is focused on the upcoming month of competition. She said that the team’s goal is to win their two upcoming home matches in order to host the quarterfinal at Mercer’s home field.
Cropp explained that though their record may not be dominant at the moment, the Championship Tournament is always unpredictable. Last year, the team went in ranked third and ended up winning.
“That’s the best feeling,” Cropp said about helping her teammates win championship rings.
“I want to make a lasting impression. I have three weeks left to ever play soccer, which is the craziest thing ever,” she said.