Soccer, Basketball, Track
Favorite athlete: Alex Morgan
Favorite team: Phillies
Favorite memory competing in sports: Scoring four goals in one game my freshman year against our rival, Pennsbury, or hitting a halfcourt buzzer beater in a basketball game against Pennsbury.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: During a playoff game when it was pouring rain, I was trying to dribble through the ocean that appeared on the field, but instead, I started running, and the ball just got stuck. Therefore, I was basically running while the puddle stole the ball from me on a breakaway.
Music on iPod: Taylor Swift
Future plans: Play collegiate soccer
One goal before turning 30: Have a college degree and live a happy life.
One thing people don’t know about me: I play CYO volleyball for fun in the spring.
Rachel Clemens finds herself at times simply standing back as she marvels while watching Megan Schafer play soccer. She sees her moves on the field, her passing ability, her knowledge of the situation, her shots, her goals.
She sees her fierce competitive nature and she sees her desire.
These are all wonderful traits for an athlete, one who excels at a singular sport.
Clemens has been the head coach for all four years Schafer has played for the Neshaminy girls’ soccer team, and she finds herself in awe of what she sees on the soccer field.
The pair have worked well together. The Redskins reached the PIAA Class AAA state semifinals a year ago. This year, the team is off to a rousing start with only two goals scored against them in the team’s first 10 games.
While much of this is because of what Schafer and her Neshaminy teammates have been able to do on the field, what makes the coach shake her head in amazement about her top player is what Schafer is like off the field – when the game is not on the line.
“I think of her and there are just not enough adjectives to properly describe her,” Clemens said of Schafer. “She is one of those rare players that you only get every so often. It’s hard not to be a fan of Megan Schafer’s.”
Schafer is a four-year starter for the soccer team, a three-year captain. She is also a three-sport athlete, the starting point guard for the girls’ basketball team in the winter and running for the track team in the spring. There is no question as to which sport she excels at the most. A two-time First Team All-American in soccer the last two years, she was named the PSCA State Player of the Year in 2012 as a junior. She has already committed to Penn State, the recipient of a soccer scholarship.
Certainly, that would be an impressive enough resume for any 17-year-old.
Yet, ask those involved with Athletes Helping Athletes to name Schafer’s best attribute, and they would probably not list any of the numbers. They would probably say her smile.
Athletes Helping Athletes is a program throughout Bucks County dedicated to special needs children. One aspect of the program is giving the children a chance for inclusion in the athletic process by allowing them to be part of a team during game days.
Schafer first became aware of it while playing on the basketball team. Two years ago, she lobbied Clemens to have the Neshaminy girls’ soccer team participate.
“It’s such a great program,” Schafer said. “I can honestly say that that program has changed my life in the way that I look at things, my outlook on life.
“Meeting the kids and giving them a chance to be part of a team – because they don’t get that chance. It helps to see them and their parents and to see how happy they are to be a part of it, just to get their name announced.”
The children are honorary captains for the Redskins’ home games. They meet the team prior to the match, are there for pregame introductions and sit on the bench during the game. It is something the entire team has embraced.
“She was so instrumental in the soccer team doing this,” Clemens said. “Now I see why she is so into the idea of doing this with the girls soccer team. It is so special.”
For Schafer, it is so much more than just a smile and a high-five. It is about the connection, the interaction, doing something nice for someone else.
“I am so happy we started doing it for soccer and that I have gotten to be a part of it,” Schafer said. “It has made me decide that I want to do something like that with my life. The whole organization is amazing to me. I think all the girls on my team feel the same way, how great it is to be doing this.”
This is the essence of what Clemens talks about with regard to her standout player. There is so much more than a name in a boxscore or a space on a trophy.
Schafer also excels in the classroom where she boasts a 4.3 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
“There have been so many awards and interviews when I’ve talked about Megan over the four years, and the one thing I can say is that even as a freshman, she was a natural leader,” Clemens said. “You could always tell she was going to be an elite player.
“What I didn’t realize about her back then was that she is one of the most humble players you will ever come across. She has never let any of the many honors she has received ever get to her head.
“You look at her leadership capabilities and you understand that she is a great teammate and an amazing person to coach. She has a total attitude of team-first.”
Neshaminy has seven seniors on its roster this fall. Each has tasted defeat, each has experienced much success. Every one of them is after the ultimate prize of a state championship, but each also knows it will only occur if they are together as one unit.
“Last year, we were so close, getting to the state semifinals,” Schafer said. “And this year, we know it’s our last year. All the seniors, we worked so hard this summer. We think about it all the time. Our mentality is to take it one step at a time, but we know we were so close last year and we want to see if we can go farther this year.”
Schafer is the youngest of three children and part of a large extended family. Part of this helps explain her competitive nature, but it also defines her compassion for those around her.
Even with all the accolades bestowed upon her over the years, when pressed to name a single moment that stands out above the rest, Schafer thought long to find one.
“Because of my family,” she said, “I think what I’m most proud of is hearing my parents say how proud they are of me.”
Sometimes, you just have to stand back and marvel.