Sky Blue FC’s Monaghan loves being at home in New Jersey

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Sky Blue FC player Paige Monahan played soccer as a young girl not too far away from where she is playing today, as a professional. She grew up in Succasunna, a town in Morris County, New Jersey.

As a teenager, she played for the Roxbury Gaels, as part of their girls soccer team. She had 68 goals in 45 games.

Sky Blue FC forward Paige Monaghan kicking the ball down the field
Paige Monaghan kicking the ball down the field (Photo by Sky Blue FC/Jesse Louie)

She also played on their girls’ basketball team. She was a member of the basketball team for two seasons.

“Roxbury is my hometown,” Monaghan said. “It’s a small town, because everyone knows each other, and playing for Roxbury High School was awesome. Playing for my town team was huge. It was a lot of fun and we had some great wins, but really, I just remember having some good teammates and being coached under Justin Renna. It opened some doors for me – in the college soccer world and the club soccer world.

“I also played basketball there, which was a lot of fun. Basketball was my dad’s sport. It was something that we grew up together playing. It was fun, but soccer was more of my thing.”

In 2014, she was named the NJAC Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

“It was huge,” she said. “Any time you get an honor, it obviously feels good. But I don’t really try to focus on the awards and just focus on working hard. It was a good highlight in my career. I wouldn’t be able to have that honor without the success of my team.”

Following the conclusion of her high school journey, she choose to attend college at Butler University. She would also be a part of the women’s soccer team.

“I always wanted to play so close to home being so close with my family,” Monaghan said. “But when I started to visit schools and schools started to reach out to me, I then visited Butler. I told my mom that it’s such a shame that I love it here, but it’s so far away. My mom then said it’s only four years and you need to go experience the world. Choosing Butler has had such impact on my life.”

When she was away at Butler, she got home sick. She missed her mother Christine, father Jim, her two brothers, and sister.

“Oh my gosh, yes,” she said. “I think anyone, who says that they don’t get home sick is a liar, because I totally missed my family. But my Butler family helped me get through those times.”

As a member of the Bulldogs, she appeared in 80 games. In those four seasons, she had 22 goals and 18 assists.

“It was amazing,” Monaghan said. “When I came there as a freshman, they weren’t in the rankings. They were ranked something like 200. They were very low in the rankings, but 12 other girls and myself made Butler special. My freshman year, we won the Big East. Then, in my four years, we made it in the Top 20 rankings, which was huge and a sign of improvement. My teammates were amazing, and we were able to turn that program around. Now, they’re the top dogs. It was an honor to play there and I’m so blessed every day that I got to play there.”

Paige Monaghan drafted by Sky Blue FC with the 10th overall selection
Paige Monaghan drafted by Sky Blue FC (Screenshot from Butler Athletics/NWSL)

Monaghan was drafted by the Sky Blue FC in the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft, which was held on Jan. 10, 2019 at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago, Illinois. She was the 10th overall pick, which was the first pick in the second round..

“I honestly believe this is where I was meant to be,” she said. “To play for this team, which has history, and great players, I’m happy to be a part of it. To be playing in New Jersey, I love the New Jersey vibe. To be here, it’s so awesome. I’m blessed every day for it.”

When she was drafted, she made history with the selection. Monaghan was the first player ever drafted into the NWSL from Butler University.

“It’s funny, because I didn’t really know that,” Monaghan said. “There were so many great players to play for Butler, but for me to have it and be in the record books, it’s really special. I want to tell younger players, especially fellow Butler players, if you put your dreams to it, it can happen.”

By being drafted by Sky Blue FC, she now gets to play very close to home. In fact, Succasunna and Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey is approx. one hour away.

“No, I don’t think so,” Monaghan said about pressure playing so close to home. “At the end of the day, my parents are always going to be honest with me, whether I had a good game or bad game wherever I was playing in the world. But I do think the ticket sales have increased with me playing at home from the Monaghan family.”

She has appeared in 18 games, including 15 starts as a rookie. Monaghan has two goals and one assist on the season thus far.

“It’s great,” she said. “It’s definitely been hard, because I’m playing at a different level from college to pro. The game is a lot faster here. I’m learning a lot from the older girls on the team.”

When Monaghan is finished with soccer — which she hopes is a long time from now — she would like to go into sports broadcasting. She said she would like to focus on women’s sports.

While she was in college, she was interviewed for the radio broadcast during men’s basketball games, according to Butler Athletics.

“The sports world has always been a part of my life,” Monaghan said. “Besides playing, I like to watch sports – and I thoroughly enjoy sports. At Butler games, I got to talk and do halftime interviews. It was so cool to be able to talk to other athletes. That really peaked my interest, but right now, that’s on the back burner. I have a lot of soccer left to play. Hopefully, in the future, you’ll see me on the sidelines being a broadcaster. I definitely want to do women’s sports.”

Sky Blue FC forward Paige Monaghan walking onto the field with a kid before a game
Paige Monaghan walking onto the field with a kid before a game(Photo by Sky Blue FC/Jesse Louie)

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