by Christina Katsamouri, Contributor
Kaitlyn Hogan was sitting in class at Monroe Woodbury High School when she received a text from her upcoming soccer coach at Loyola University. It read, “We need to talk.”
“I said to myself, ‘This isn’t good’,” Hogan said.
Hogan soon found out the school was rescinding the athletic scholarship offer she had earned with no explanation, just months before she left for college.
Hogan, now a midfielder for Manhattan College, played soccer her whole life and always had hopes of earning a scholarship to play for a great school. Her dream came true just to have it taken away without giving a reason. Under the impression of the scholarship, Hogan had only applied to Loyola University.
“I thought, maybe I am not supposed to play soccer, maybe this is not meant to be for me,” said Hogan. “I did think it was over.”
But Hogan didn’t stay down. Within a few days she was searching for a new school to play for, one that would see all she had to offer as a player.
“A few days later my mom was like ‘Alright let’s do this’. We are gonna find you a place to go and play soccer,” said Hogan.
She started applying to other colleges, writing to coaches, narrating her situation. Hogan was an All-American soccer player in her hometown Monroe, NY. Her local newspaper even published a feature on Hogan with the title, “Future D1 Athlete Looking for Someplace to Go.” That was all Manhattan College coach Brendan Lawler needed to see.
Lawler, Manhattan College women’s soccer coach had read the newspaper and gave Hogan a call. They met up and he said he wanted her to go and play for him, and the rest was history. For Lawler, Hogan was an outstanding player and was needed on his team. He grabbed his chance, and Hogan committed for the Fall of 2018.
“She was always a great player. She saw the game very well. She is not a loud player, she just plays her best.” Lawler said.
These are just a few of Hogan’s attributes that made him want her to play for the Jaspers.
Hogan started her college career as a Jasper at Manhattan College. The freshman recruit class that came in with Hogan wasn’t big, creating a lot of competition from more seasoned players. For Hogan that was a challenge.
“I knew I had the skills to be on the field, however, the girl that was playing on my spot was a senior and a captain. So that was pretty challenging for me,” said Hogan.
Hogan was able to get her time throughout the season even though she had a senior to go against. While she didn’t see it as a competition, she knew she had to work even harder to get on the game.
Freshman year went on with a few minutes on the field, going into her sophomore year, the senior captain in front of her was gone and that was her time to play and shine. She earned her minutes and she made her coach not want to get her off the field.
“Hogan was dominating the field and she earned her spot on the starting line up,” Lawler said.
He also noted he was always counting on her from that year on and she was feeling confident and ready to lead.
Athletic opportunities during junior year were taken away from her because of COVID, but they had a few games at the end of spring that she played and dominated in. Following up to her senior year, Hogan became a captain and continued leading her team on the starting lineup.
“Senior year came and in one of my meetings with the coach he asked me what I think about captains,” said Hogan. “I said to him ‘I want to be a captain’. That was it for him, he wanted me to be a leader for my team.”
However the college journey wasn’t as smooth as it sounds. Hogan suffered many injuries throughout her time as a Jasper, such as during her freshman year when she developed a hip injury. The trainers let her continue to play, saying that it wasn’t anything to worry about.
She pushed through her sophomore year. After getting an MRI she learned that she tore her labrum on her hip and that she would eventually need to have surgery.
“The pain was getting more intense and since I was playing more and more the pain was not going away,” said Hogan. “I couldn’t do any more damage to my hip. I didn’t wanna give up my playing time, I was a starter so I kept playing. I played through my injury till the season was over.”
Hogan got surgery in January of her sophomore year, she recovered and used all her junior year to get back at it. Her junior year there wasn’t a season in the fall because of COVID and she took it to her advantage. Spring came with only seven games, which she played and started as well.
“I was still in so much pain because my hip was so damaged. My coach knew I was in pain and he would take me off the field. I did keep playing through it.”
Senior year started with another injury on her knee which kept her out for two weeks. Hogan wasn’t done though. After conversations with her doctors and the coaches they came to the conclusion that she couldn’t do any more damage to her body, she had only a few months left before college soccer is over and the only option for her was to play regardless of the pain. She minimized practices and her and her coach agreed on Hogan taking as much time as needed off practice in order to be able to play 90 minutes. That is the deal for her senior year.
“I can’t sit here and watch all these people doing what I love the most. I am strong enough to do this, I have a few months left to play so I wanna finish strong with my best recs on and I wanna win,” Hogan said.
Hogan felt she worked too hard to quit soccer because of an injury. She continues to be a leader despite the obstacles she’s had to overcome.
“I have something within me that says I love soccer. This is my passion and I don’t have much longer. My family loves coming to watch me play, I don’t want them to feel bad for me.”