THREAT UNLEASHED Charlotte McMurtrie ‘26 carries the ball up the field to pass to a forward. “I like playing midfield because I get the ball a lot and I get a lot of assists.” McMurtrie said. “I’ve tried other positions like forward but my favorite by far is midfield.”
THREAT UNLEASHED Charlotte McMurtrie ‘26 carries the ball up the field to pass to a forward. “I like playing midfield because I get the ball a lot and I get a lot of assists.” McMurtrie said. “I’ve tried other positions like forward but my favorite by far is midfield.”

Rising soccer star wins big

Sophomore wins soccer national championship with club team

From a young age, Charlotte McMurtrie ‘26 always knew she wanted to play soccer. So, when she got the opportunity to play on a Rec & Ed soccer team, a recreational team organized by her elementary school, she was ecstatic. Now, eight years later, she is a national champion. 

Since her Rec & Ed days, McMurtrie has played at Michigan Premier Soccer Academy (MPSA) Crush and Michigan Tigers. She is currently playing at the Michigan Hawks in Livonia, Michigan, where she has been playing for three years as an attacking midfielder. She plays on the 2008 Elite Club National League (ECNL) team. In July 2023, the team won the U15 ECNL National Championship in Richmond, Virginia.

“When I was younger, I used to dream about winning the national championship,” McMurtrie said. “I would watch YouTube videos of old championship games. When we won, it was such a surreal moment.”

The process of getting to the national championship takes about three weeks. It starts with 44 teams going to California. From there, eight teams from each age group will advance to the playoffs in Virginia. There, each team will play three other teams over the span of three days. McMurtrie’s team played two teams from California and one from Pennsylvania.

“The first game we came back from 0-2 to win 3-2, the second game we came back from 0-1 to win 2-1, and in the championship game, we came back from 0-1 to win 2-1,” McMurtrie said. “Because the games were so close, it made winning the championship that much more amazing.”

McMurtrie’s mother, Amanda McMurtrie, traveled with her to the national championship. Most parents on the team travel to all the tournaments to support their daughters.

“The national championship experience was pretty amazing,” Amanda said. “They were underdogs the entire time and they just kept beating all these teams and advancing. Charlotte had assists in the semis and finals, which was pretty special for her.”

McMurtrie’s journey to the national championship wasn’t easy. Two years ago, she suffered an MCL injury. She tore her MCL, a ligament in her knee, from excessive pressure on the outside of her knee. She was unable to play for two months during her recovery.

“I had to do PT for about eight weeks,” McMurtrie said. “After I had recovered, I was slow to come back to the player I was before.”

In a regular week, McMurtrie has about six to seven practices: four club practices, and additional practices at other facilities. Aside from her Hawks practices, she trains at facilities like NLT (Next Level Training) Soccer or Impact Sports Performance. These practices focus on sprints and strength training to improve her overall performance on the field.

“That’s the main disadvantage of playing club,” McMurtrie said. “It kind of consumes your life. If you’re not fully committed, it can be super time-consuming and you have to sacrifice other opportunities. It depends on what your priorities are, but for me, I love it, so it’s not a hard choice.”

The main opportunity McMurtrie has had to give up is playing high school soccer. Due to the lack of time her schedule has, she is not allowed to play on a high school team.

“My club doesn’t allow us to play high school soccer,” McMurtrie said. “But I wish I could, it seems really fun.”

Amanda says that she understands the sacrifices McMurtrie must make in order to play soccer at a high level. She travels about ten times per year for soccer tournaments in the Midwest and other parts of the country.

“We travel a lot because it’s a national league,” Amanda said. “Charlotte has to be very disciplined in her time management. She honestly manages this 100% on her own, but it often means she doesn’t have much time for things other than training or school work.”

Out of the things soccer has brought to McMurtrie’s life, she says her teammates have been the best part.

“They’re my best friends,” McMurtrie said. “At first, I just saw them at practices and games, but now we’re a lot closer, and we hang out and see each other almost every day.”

McMurtrie met one of her closest friends, Nina Laba, three years ago when she joined the Hawks.

“Charlotte is super supportive and kind,” Laba said. “That’s what she brings to the team. She’s an amazing player and teammate. In the past few years, I’ve grown super close to her and soccer has really helped our friendship.”

Looking forward, McMurtrie hopes to play college soccer at a D1 school. Official recruitment for her class will start in summer 2024.

“I’m really nervous for when coaches can start contacting me,” McMurtrie said. “I want to play at a Power 5 school [a school in one of the five main collegiate sports conferences]. I just like the environment and the culture of a bigger school.”

McMurtrie’s big win in July has opened many doors for her. It has helped her gain experience and is making her college search much easier.

“It’s helped me gain a lot of attention from college coaches,” McMurtrie said. “I get to go to selective camps where college coaches do a lot of scouting. I hope that I can continue playing soccer in college because it’s a big part of my life and I really enjoy it.”

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