Written and interviewed by Matt Queen.
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine— Samantha Munson is Southern Maine Community College’s (SMCC) female student-athlete spotlight of November. At five feet, six inches tall, Munson is very versatile on the field and covers many positions. The primary positions she is accountable for include center midfield, left midfield, and left forward. When asked which one was her favorite, her response was left forward. “The defensive mindset is usually a struggle, but once everything comes into play, it works out,” was Munson’s response on how to take defensive planning into game situations.
In her fifth semester at SMCC, Munson joined the soccer team her second semester during the fall. She intends to graduate in May with a Liberal Studies degree, a focus in English. She wants to continue English, but most importantly wants to be happy doing what she does best. When asked about continuing her education, Munson wants to attend a four-year school, with Unity College being her immediate first choice. Highly interested in the Environmental Policy and Law Program, Munson seemed very motivated and eager to learn more in this field. “It brings everything together, by that I mean the three fields of life. English, Ethics, and Environment.”
Going back to her student life at SMCC, Munson believes the entire community is something truly special and has loved meeting the people she’s interacted with on campus. “I love starting with a team. Love people with the same drive and motivation.”
Munson is from South Portland, Maine where she has grown up her entire life. She stated, “It’s had its ups and downs, but I couldn’t be happier here, developing as a young person and the soccer player I am now.” Munson has been playing soccer since she was three years old, and competitively for about ten years now. I asked Munson if there were any other sports she plays, and was intrigued with her answer. Although soccer is the only one she is involved with at SMCC, she does play year-round frisbee for a travel league. She said it’s her favorite sport now since being out of high school. “You’ve got to work hard, do your best, and if everyone’s working hard, it all comes together in sync.” As well as frisbee, Sam loves to work on her yoga. She works at yoga studio and loves the mental and physical attributes that come with it.
Interestingly enough, her first semester out of high school, Munson was involved with an AmeriCorps group, members involved in a year-long, full-time commitment serving a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. Although it was fun and the service helped others, Munson decided an education was the next step. “I did not regret an ounce of time I spent there. The faculty and students were phenomenal,” Munson said.
Munson praised the SMCC soccer team chemistry and culture when asked. She believes her team possesses everything needed in order to really work fully and together. She said it’s hard sometimes to find a group of athletes that are not busy with everything going on in life. “Taking their free time and putting it towards athletics. The level of commitment comes on your own time and when every girl shows up to practice wanting to work hard and push themselves, it’s an incredible feeling.” Along with her experiences at SMCC, Munson said that it has presented to her that life is what you make of it, and it shows how you want to live your own personal life. Before, she thought she had a dependency on who she was around, but now professors, coaches, and friends have taught her to create her own individual path of life and have made her work for what she wants to do—rather than what she’s supposed to do.
Mental toughness was something also discussed with Munson. She thinks herself and everyone has the drive to work their hardest, whether it’s practice or performance. Her continuous drive and effort with the task at hand inspires others. “Putting mental health before the game is important, and trying to present that to yourself and teammates is huge. If your having a hard day, empty your mind and alleviate the stress that’s going on.” She also noted that cohesiveness is what’s most important, and if everyone has something they can bring to the table to help lead, then it’s going to work out well for the team.
Speaking of her coaching experiences, Munson said it’s hard to be at a two-year and be coached. When you take your first year or two with the player to get to know them, it takes a lot of effort and commitment for the coaches to learn your style of play and help you transcend. Munson has a lot of respect for her coaching staff. She mentioned that she thinks it’s amazing how coaches can help develop a person on and off the field because it’s such a short time with the athlete—“helping with what you need the most in the most realistic ways.”
Finally, Munson spoke to me about her biggest role model in life—her brother Cody. Cody is a student athlete at Husson University. “He is a guy who understands that you have to work hard to make it in life. Consistently pushing himself to be who he wants to be.” His work ethic and relationships are something Munson truly admires, and seeing him achieve these aspects and conquering road bumps is so inspirational to her because she wants to work as hard as him. “The consistent way of how he lives his life is remarkable and he’s good at it. I really want to be at where he’s at one day.”