Favorite athlete: Fletcher Cox
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Best memory competing in sports: Beating our rival CB East in our annual Kick for Pink game my junior and senior year.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Swinging and missing the ball in front of the student section.
Music on mobile device: All genres.
Future plans: Attend college with a business major.
Words to live by: “Do small things with great love.”
One goal before turning 30: Travel the world
One thing people don’t know about me: My favorite place is California
By Mary Jane Souder
Meghan Gallagher isn’t a headliner, and despite excelling as a four-year starter at center back, the Central Bucks West senior toiled in relative obscurity.
“Meghan, being the center back, did not receive the spotlight like the goal scorers do,” West coach Mike Moyer said. “She didn’t care about that at all. She wanted the team to do well and win. That says a lot about who she is as a person.”
Winning is something the Bucks did plenty of in the season recently completed. They won 14 games and earned the fourth seed in the District One 4A Tournament. It represented a remarkable turnaround for a team that two short years ago was 0-12 in SOL Continental Conference play. It’s a turnaround that began late last year when Mike Moyer – this year’s conference coach of the year - took over the helm. Listening to the Bucks’ coach tell it, Gallagher was very instrumental in the team’s change of fortunes.
“From day one at summer league, Meghan and (co-captain) Trish (Hauck) brought the team together and made them a ‘family,’” Moyer said. “Meghan remembered what it was like to be an underclassman and the anxiety that she had and most teenage girls have at that age, and she went above and beyond to make sure all the girls feel part of the team. She wanted her senior year to be one she would never forget and the turning point for CB West girls’ soccer.”
Gallagher took her role as captain and leader seriously.
“As a leader, you want to be vocal and tell your teammates what to do, but at the same time, you don’t want to scare them off, especially when you have freshmen playing,” she said. “You want them to be comfortable and still come up to you and talk to you if there’s a problem or if they’re nervous. Even though I was vocal and would tell people what to do, I still wanted them to approach me and not be scared of me.”
It was a style of leadership that worked for a Bucks’ squad that included some talented young players.
“She rallied the girls every time they were down,” Moyer said. “She was there for all of them. She and Trish Hauck were the reason we were successful this year.”
Gallagher, meanwhile, deflected the credit for the turnaround back to her coach.
“The coaching staff was so much more behind us,” she said. “Mike Moyer was such an impact on our season.
“He was just really invested and believed in us, no matter what. I think everyone felt more comfortable with him because he was so positive. Even if we lost, he wouldn’t be down on us. He was only thinking of the positives. I think my team and I agreed that he had such an impact on the way we played.”
Moyer’s one-game-at-a-time philosophy proved to be effective for a young West squad eager to win.
“Our program just turned around this year,” Gallagher said. “No one really believed in us, and we really didn’t care about that.
“We just focused on ourselves and believed in ourselves. That’s all we really needed. Obviously, winning is so much fun, and I feel like when you win with such great girls – they’re probably one of my 25 best friends. It was just so much fun winning with them, and even losing with them – it was so much fun.”
Gallagher has been playing competitive soccer since she was in first grade. It was love at first kick for the West senior.
“I love the game, and it’s so much fun to play,” said. “I really liked how it was a team sport, and you can win or lose as a team.
“Something about it – I used to play basketball too, but I quit basketball because I liked soccer so much better. I liked how it was 1-0 or 2-0 games. I just like the game. I never got tired of it.”
A center back after a brief stint at forward when she was a youngster, Gallagher was a rock on the Bucks’ backline.
“She was always good,” said Moyer, an assistant at West before taking over the helm. “What made her stand out was her knowledge of the game.
“She always knew how to take good angles and was a leader even in her younger years, and that’s why she was a captain her senior year. Being our center back, she saw the whole field. She was the quarterback, so to speak. The girls respected her, they listened to her and they got better because of her.”
After an opening round bye, the Bucks saw their successful season come to an end in a 1-0 loss to Penncrest in the second round of the District One 4A Tournament.
“It was so hard to see it end,” Gallagher said. “We were all bawling our eyes out at the end of the game.
“It’s really tough to let something go, especially after such a good season. It was really hard, but all of us seniors – we leave behind such a legacy because we’re the ones to get (the program) back in shape.”
Making the ending even harder was the realization that her days of playing competitive soccer just might be over for Gallagher, who has not ruled out the possibility of playing club or intramural at the collegiate level.
Soccer is just one small piece of Gallagher’s busy life. An excellent student, she was a member of the Key Club as a sophomore and junior, enjoying the opportunity to volunteer within the community.
“One of the main places I volunteered was the Green Leaf Nursing Home,” she said. “I really liked it there. Some people don’t like to be in an older environment, but they would always tell me stories about their background and their struggles. It was nice to talk to people.”
She has also volunteered at Bucks County Children’s Museum, and she is involved with Best Buddies, working with special needs students.
“We have things like holiday parities, we threw a prom last year,” Gallagher said. “We just talk to them and have a good time.”
Gallagher also is involved with Rise Against Hunger, an organization that packages and donates food to those in need.
“Meghan is such a good person off the field,” Moyer said. “Everybody sees what she does on the field, but I see what she does on and off the field.
“She volunteers, she comes from a great family, and she’s kind of like the team mom. She’s always organizing pasta parties, sleepovers, team bonding. She’s just a really likable person.”
Gallagher, who has her sights set on a business major, is looking to attend a large school when it comes time to choose a college, and although her high school sporting days are over, Gallagher walks away with nothing but good memories.
“I could not imagine high school without soccer,” she said. “It’s such a big part of high school. I wouldn’t have met some of my closest friends now if I didn’t play. I just think it makes me a better person in general because it shapes who you are.”