As a child growing up on the streets of Jamaica, N.Y., Nicole McClure always had a passion for the sport of soccer – a passion she said she inherited from her older brother while watching him play in recreational leagues.
Now McClure, who is entering her senior year as a goalkeeper, has been involved in soccer for nearly 13 years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. She said she plans to play overseas and eventually make it as a professional soccer player.
After appearing in 14 matches, mostly as a reserve goalkeeper at the University of Hawaii, McClure decided to bring her talents to USF, where she then had the opportunity to showcase records of her own. After redshirting her first year at USF, McClure said she quickly adapted to the soccer team and contributed to the team’s success.
“Redshirting my first year was an agreement between coach and I,” she said. “I believe it helped me because I was able to watch and see what I had to do.”
As a goalkeeper, McClure uses her height and ability to react quickly to make saves. She finished last season recording 14 wins, tallying eight shutouts, ranking second in the Big East with a .816 save percentage and starting all 23 matches for the Bulls.
McClure attributes much of her success to her unique training style, she said.
“My training is a lot different from the rest of the team. It involves aerobics, gymnastics and working on my reaction time,” McClure said. “I used to play basketball, so I’m good with my hands and feel comfortable stopping opponents from scoring a goal.”
The family-oriented McClure said she looked up to her elders, such as her father, who once played goalkeeper as well. She said she is also very close to her second family of 35 sisters – the USF soccer team.
“We do everything together,” McClure said. “We even run together when we don’t have practice just to get better. They are a big key to my motivation.”
Coming into this season, McClure said she is focusing on helping the team win the Big East and getting deeper into the NCAA Tournament while trying to achieve the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year award – all of which she hopes to accomplish by the end of her senior year.
McClure believes if the team stays positive and keeps its mind in right place, it will continue to dominate, picking up where it left off last year.
“If we stay positive, no matter how the game is going, and not sweat the small stuff, we can go deeper in the tournament,” she said.
McClure and the women’s soccer team kicked off the season Aug. 19 against UCF, and play Indiana on Friday.