Soccer dream continues after blown knee

Jordan Toney

Katie Merson didn’t step onto the soccer field as a goalkeeper until she was in middle school. The starting goalkeeper broke her arm and Merson was picked to be her replacement.

“I hated it when I started,” Merson said.

Now this redshirt senior is the goalkeeper of the Georgia Southern Women’s Soccer team. The Albuquerque, NM, native has plenty of awards under her belt, including making the Southern Conference Championship All-Tournament roster twice. In 2012, she was chosen as the Southern Conference Championship Most Outstanding Player.

Now she has a new award to show off, the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week, which is the first Sun Belt in-season honor awarded to a Ga. Southern student athlete.

“At the beginning of the year we made a goal sheet… and that was one of my goals, so it’s good to be checking off things early,” Merson said.

Other things on her list include a specific number of shutouts (don’t expect her to tell you the number though), winning the conference tournament and making an all-conference team. Her biggest goal, however, is getting back to where she was before her injury a year ago..

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“Coming back from blowing out my knee was probably the hardest thing I’ve done. It took me about 11 months to get back to playing and that was just to be back playing, not playing at the level I need to be,” Merson said.


Since coming back this season, Merson has recorded 19 saves, including a shutout in just the second game of the season against UNCW. She’s currently holding a save percentage of 79.2.

Like any other Georgia Southern team, this is the first season the soccer team is playing in the Sun Belt Conference. Merson, however, isn’t letting the new pressure get to her.

“I’m so excited. It’s so cool. College soccer is awesome, because I’ve gone places that I’d never think I go. You get to play against amazing teams and you’re always challenging yourself. This is every little girl’s dream,” Merson said.

That dream for Merson began when she started playing soccer at just three years old. That’s no surprise however, considering she was born to soccer-loving parents.

Nineteen years later, Merson is continuing that dream and being a part of the first Ga. Southern women’s soccer team to play in the Sun Belt.

“It’s a special year, we can feel it. Every practice, every game, there’s something special coming this year. Come out and support us. We could use all the support we could get, cause we’re going to be doing big things this year,” Merson said.