First, Megan Dee had to prove to her coach that she was a real person. Only then could she go on and prove that she was also a good soccer player.
The Hamilton resident scored eight goals this year to tie for the team lead on Notre Dame High’s girls’ soccer team. But during the summer, first-year coach Victoria Camera thought Dee was someone else, since she was on vacation the first few weeks of the Irish’s 7-v-7 season at The College of New Jersey.
“It was just bizarre,” Camera said. “I saw on our list we had Megan Drum and I saw a Megan Dee. But we hadn’t seen her for half our summer league games. I didn’t make up the list because I was hired late, so I just thought they wrote Megan Drum down twice, but called her Megan Dee the second time.”
Just imagine the coach’s reaction when Dee finally showed up.
“Some of the girls told me there was some confusion,” Dee said with a laugh. “She told me, ‘Oh I thought you were Megan Drum until now.’ All the girls kept telling her, ‘No, there’s a Megan Dee,’ but I wasn’t able to show up because we were on vacation, so she was surprised when I got there.”
Since Dee was a rising junior, Camera was anxious to see what she had to offer. Many of the players in the summer league were freshmen and sophomores, and Camera was hoping some of the older players could show enough to become varsity contributors.
Camera saw enough in the first few summer games to realize this was a varsity player, just by the attitude she showed up front.
“I do remember her attacking and being offensive,” the former Hamilton West standout said. “Our problem in the beginning of the season was who was going to attack? We had a lot of young girls at TCNJ who were afraid to attack. She wasn’t afraid. She attacked and she wasn’t hesitant to go about what she could do.”
Attacking has been a way of life on the soccer field for Dee, who moved to Crosswicks from Allentown in eighth grade. She started playing soccer at age 3 and quickly worked her way into travel ball. She is currently playing for one of the top girls’ clubs in the nation as a member of the PDA South Spurs.
Dee scored a bundle of goals on the Irish’s freshman team, and tallied over 20 during her sophomore season on the JV.
“I’ve never played defense before,” she said. “I started at forward, worked my way back to center mid, then went back up to forward. I obviously want to score as many goals as I can, but if anybody gets the ball in back of the net and gets us one goal ahead of the other team that’s fine.”
Entering the season, Dee was not going to take anything for granted.
“I think with the new coach coming in I wasn’t like, ‘Oh this is gonna be easy since I’m a junior now,” she said. “I made sure I still played to best of my abilities. I was pretty confident in myself that I was making varsity. I think if I wasn’t confident in myself I wouldn’t have done my best in tryouts.”
Although most of Dee’s experience was at forward, Camera saw that Notre Dame had an abundance of frontrunners. She also noticed that Dee had good speed, which the coach felt would work better at outside midfield.
“She just had really nice composure,” Camera said. “There was something about her energy, she’s very calm. I knew her shots were going to be a deadly weapon. We started her at outside mid most games. Depending on injuries, we did put her up at forward. But we knew we were always going to get Megan Dee when she stepped on the field. Because of a position change, we weren’t gonna get someone else. We knew that she was gonna produce what we needed her to get done. That’s’ what we really liked about her and that’s what made her so consistent.”
Camera added that Dee’s foot was a big-time weapon, from either close in or far from the goal.
“She scored goals that looked like crosses, but they were just long shots,” Camera said. “She got a lot of long goals. Or she would be on the end of the crosses. She was really good in that sense.”
Asked if some of her goals were supposed to be crosses, Dee chuckled.
“I don’t even know, but hey a goal’s a goal, right?” she said. “I think with some plays you have to set yourself up for some things. Other times it’s one girl dribbling all the way down the side of the field and you just finish off the ball they send in.”
Or, you create a goal on your own, if you have a good leg.
“A lot of my goals this year I started to realize, were from long shots a couple yards outside the 18 that I was able to get it right over the goalie’s hands,” Dee said. “I think my shot had a lot to do with it. I worked on it a little bit over the summer but that’s something every forward should do.”
Camera feels that Dee has the ability to be a playmaker as well, but feels her bigger value is as a finisher.
“I like her on the outside of the field,” the coach said. “I’m not saying she couldn’t distribute from the center, but from what we saw of her this year, we like her where we had her. I don’t think we should try and change the player she’s become. She was one of those girls who met our expectations and we can’t wait to have her back for another year.”
Dee certainly wasn’t complaining about being switched.
“I was so happy with the season,” she said. “I couldn’t have pictured a better first year on varsity. Everyone that I met was so welcoming and we were all nice to one another and encouraging. I just thought this year was great. The MCTs and states we might not have gotten the outcome we wanted but I think that the chemistry we had was more important than that. I loved it.”
Camera noted that it took Dee a while to come out of her shell at the beginning of the season, but that soon changed.
“The girls love playing with her,” Camera said. “There is something really honest about her; that’s what I like about her.”
That, and the fact that Cindy Dee is just as enthusiastic about Notre Dame soccer as her daughter.
“Her mother has become such a great team mom,” Camera said. “She’s really helped out a lot with things.”
Making it that much better that Megan Dee actually does exist.