ROCKVILLE — When Megan O’Dwyer first learned she was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Junior College Scholar All-America team, she didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the award.
By the time the Solano Community College forward/midfielder returned from the NSCAA convention in Indianapolis last weekend, she understood fully what the award meant.
“I didn’t really know what it was,” O’Dwyer said. “One day at practice coach had me sign a release so he could nominate me. Then the first week of (winter) break he told me I was selected to be on the Scholar All-America team.”
According to the NSCAA’s website, an athlete must carry at least a 3.30 grade-point average throughout his or her career, start more than 50 percent of the team’s games and be a significant contributor on the field.
O’Dwyer certainly fit the bill.
“We’re not only talking about the highest level performance in the classroom, but a good player as well,” Falcons coach Jeff Cardinal said. “I know that was the criteria for that award. You could have a 4.0 student but if she didn’t contribute significantly on field, she can’t get that award.”
Cardinal also praised O’Dwyer’s work ethic, noting she hasn’t missed a day of practice or school in two years at Solano.
O’Dwyer was the Falcons’ leading scorer as a freshman in 2011, with 11 goals and 24 points. In 2012, she put up nine goals and 19 points and was a second team All-Bay Valley Conference selection.
“So she scored a good amount of goals in two seasons for Solano,” Cardinal said. “It was a good two seasons for her not only on the field but academically as well.”
O’Dwyer said she currently has a grade-point average of 3.89.
She also said it’s been a whole lot of work to keep up both her grades and her skills on the field.
“It’s crazy. It’s a lot of hard work,” O’Dwyer said. “You make a lot of sacrifices, but I think they outweigh everything. I don’t want to just rely on soccer. . . . More options and more opportunities.”
That said, O’Dwyer said she’ll take a soccer scholarship if she can land one, but she’s also applied to a number of University of California campuses as well.
“She’s basically going through the process right with certain four-year schools to continue playing soccer,” Cardinal said.
As for the Indianapolis trip, O’Dwyer said it was awesome.
“It was one of one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “It was almost overwhelming with so many coaches and awesome players there.”
She even got to share a moment with U.S. National team great and current soccer broadcaster Julie Foudy.
“I couldn’t believe I was among the best in the country and I got to meet Julie Foudy,” O’Dwyer said. “It was such a cool experience.”
O’Dwyer is just the latest Falcon to earn recognition from the NSCAA.
Solano has three previous All-America selections in Andrea Salvador (2005), Katie Knopp (2008) and Britney Cooper (2009).
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.