Former Eastern Soccer Star Kelli McGroarty Preparing for the Next Level at La Salle

Former Eastern Soccer Star Kelli McGroarty Preparing for the Next Level at La Salle
Kelli McGroarty is on to the next phase in her athletic career even though it is on pause. One of the top girls’ soccer players in recent South Jersey history has continued her education and soccer career at La Salle. 
 
McGroarty was a dominant player all four seasons at Eastern, where she played for her father Jamie, among the top coaches in South Jersey history.
 
La Salle competes in the Atlantic-10 and last month the conference announced that it was postponing fall sports competitions and championships until the spring.
 
McGroarty is still working out with her teammates but this will be the first fall in years where she won’t be playing competitive soccer games, although the workouts with her teammates are still extremely challenging.
 
McGroarty said she chose La Salle for a variety of reasons, chiefly because of the culture around the program set forth by veteran coach Paul Royal.

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“I just liked a mixture of everything,” she said. “I liked the school, love the team and how supportive they are to each other, and I like the coach becaue he wants to make you a better person and player. It was a mixture of everything.” 
 
Despite not being able to play this fall, she is looking at this with a positive attitude.
 
“I want to play soccer but in the long run it is beneficial for freshmen and the team in general,” she said. “Especially freshmen, we are able to adapt to school.”
 
She feels all the time in the summer and fall with her new teammates will pay big dividends in the spring.
 
What will also pay dividends is having a player of McGroarty’s caliber on the team.
 
At Eastern she set school records for most career points (275), goals (108), goals in a season (40) and career hat tricks (11).
 
Keep in mind she did this while competing in the Olympic Conference American Division, among the best in the state. 
 
She was also a two-time United Soccer Coaches All-American and All-East Region selection and the 2018-2019 New Jersey Girls’ Soccer Gatorade Player of the Year. She was also the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association Midfielder of the Year her final three seasons.
 
McGroarty earned various other individual awards, and also helped Eastern maintain its status as one of the state’s top programs.
 
As a junior the Vikings won the state Group 4 championship. During her senior year, Eastern was the South Jersey Group 4 champ. Eastern also won the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association title in each of her final three seasons. That is the tournament that matches 16 of the top teams in South Jersey. 
 
In addition to soccer, she was a four-year letter winner in basketball and lacrosse. 
 
While growing up, she was part of the Eastern soccer program, often being a ball girl on the sidelines during games.
 
“I loved my time at Eastern,” she said. “When I was little and saw the high school players how they acted in practice and games and I tried to pick the best from everybody. To get first-hand coaching from my dad growing up and learning what a good player would be from a coach’s standpoint and I learned so much.”

And now she hopes to apply those lesson at La Salle and is intent on using her time this fall the best way, to keep improving as a student and an athlete.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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