Toll Gate senior Laura McGuire signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Assumption College on National Signing Day last Wednesday.
It happened to be a snow day.
On Tuesday afternoon, McGuire got a little more of a chance to celebrate when Toll Gate held a small ceremony in its gymnasium. Flanked by family members and soccer coach Lonna Razza, McGuire put pen to paper again and was all smiles.
“I was very excited,” McGuire said. “I verbally committed back in November. To get the letter and send it off is really exciting. It’s a big step.”
McGuire was a second-team All-State performer from her spot in Toll Gate’s backfield this past fall. She’ll join an NCAA Division II program at Assumption, where a few Titans have already made their mark. Toll Gate graduate Kori Imondi played for the Greyhounds from 2006 to 2009, and her sister Kelsey was a senior on the Assumption squad this past fall.
“I think it’s an excellent fit,” said Razza, the Titans coach. “I had contact with the coach and he asked about her, and I just told him the truth – I thought she’d be a great fit for their program. From the look on her face, her excitement, obviously it was a good fit.”
McGuire has been playing soccer and basketball for a long time, and she’s been a four-year contributor in both sports for Toll Gate.
In those four years, soccer became a passion. She was a mainstay for the Titans and a standout for her club team, Tidal Wave Soccer Club.
“When I got into high school, I really started wanting to play in college,” McGuire said. “I play basketball too, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play a sport in college. But I started to enjoy soccer more and more in high school. I went premier and I decided I wanted to pursue it.”
Part of that pursuit was a clinic at Assumption last summer – and it pretty much marked the end of the pursuit.
She knew what she wanted.
“I went to a clinic over the summer,” McGuire said. “I was invited by the coach. I got there and I really liked the campus, the atmosphere, the team. The coach was great with us, with all the players. He critiqued all of us and told us what we needed to work on. The team felt like a family. I got a really good vibe.”
McGuire was offered a small amount of athletic scholarship money, but was just excited to get the opportunity. She’ll play for head coach Kevin Meek, who led the Greyhounds to a 7-5-5 record in his first season at the helm last year.
“From the moment I saw Laura play center back, I knew I wanted her on our team,” Meek said in an Assumption release. “She brings a lot of power, leadership and character to the program. She will be one of the fastest players on the team and is exceptional in the air. Her commitment to academic excellence and her desire to push herself on and off the field at all times makes her exactly the type of person this program needs.”
McGuire is part of an eight-player recruiting class and the only player from Rhode Island. The other members of the class hail from Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida.
The Greyhounds had two Rhode Islanders on their 2013 roster – Imondi and former Mount St. Charles standout Michaela Connors.
McGuire can’t wait to get her college career underway.
“It’s going to be a lot different from high school, but she’ll adjust,” Razza said. “She’ll be fine. Stay in shape, listen to the coach and do what he tells you. She’ll do great.”