“I don’t feel like I’m done with soccer yet.”
Maggie ShawChattanooga’s two-time Southern Conference Defender of the Year will head overseas for an opportunity to continue playing the sport she loves on a professional level while she puts her dreams of nursing on hold.
“I like being a nurse,” Shaw said. “I can be a nurse throughout my life, but once soccer is done, it’s done.”
Shaw will head to Prague on Wednesday for a two-week trial with Slavia Prague of the UEFA Champions League.
“I’ll practice with them for two weeks. If they like me then I’ll stay for the year,” she said.
While going now for a chance, she had a contract in hand but did not feel the location was the best for her.
“Location was a big factor,” Shaw said of Lithuania. “[Lithuania] sent me a contract and I was about to sign it when my agent texted me.”
Also a member of the Champions League, she was offered a contract with Lithuania, but felt the Prague opportunity might be better. After a back-and-forth by her agent with Upper V Athlete Management with the team from Prague, she opted for the trial instead.
“They [Prague] said they’d pay for my flight and accommodations if I would just try out, so I thought maybe I should do that instead.”
Mocs head coach Gavin McKinney spent all five seasons as Maggie’s head coach. He sees this as a tremendous opportunity for the team captain.
“She’s worked extremely hard,” he said. “She’s got a goal in mind. She wants to be a professional soccer player and it’s a great opportunity for her.
“Luckily we’ve got many players to follow her. We want them to chase things like that and be ambitious. It’s not an easy thing to do, to be a professional athlete.”
Maggie leaves the Scenic City as the most decorated Chattanooga soccer player in program history. She played and started more matches than anyone else in program history and her trophy case is filled with a multitude of SoCon accolades. Along with Defensive Player of the Year, she was a three-time All-Conference First Team, three-time All-Tournament, named to the league’s All-Freshman team and earned Player of the Week honors.
“I really wish it could be the defense as a whole could get it [Defensive Player of the Year] award,” she said. “It takes more than one person to defend. I think it just goes to show how good the back line was when I was playing.”
When she got to UTC as a freshman with twin sister Samantha, the Mocs were last in the league and McKinney was just a few years into his tenure and building. Her career concluded with Chattanooga claiming its first-ever Southern Conference regular season title and second trip to the tournament semifinals.
However, it’s the friendships that she’ll remember the most.
“I feel like I got the opportunity to work with a lot of different girls,” the Columbia, SC, native said. “My sophomore year, I lifted with the juniors. They are my best friends still. When I was a freshman, I got to be a part of the senior class too. I just went to Australia with three of my former teammates. I am definitely thankful for UTC soccer because I have friendships that are going to last a lifetime.”