On the Field with Michelle Hogan
Stepping out on the soccer field for her tryout with the San Antonio Athenians in 2017, Michelle Hogan was beyond nervous. The women’s semi-professional team was making its inaugural debut and Michelle wanted to be part of it. “The girls were all really competitive and I hadn’t played much soccer since high school,” Michelle said.
But muscle-memory kicked in and Michelle picked up right where she left off, making the team and excelling during the season.
At 23 years old, Michelle will be playing her third season at this high level of the sport. She is excited to be returning for her second season with the Athenians (located in San Antonio, Texas) after having played for a Women’s Premier Soccer League Team, FC Tucson, another semi-pro team, in 2018. The San Antonio Athenians, in the United Women’s Soccer division, is a second-division pro-am women’s soccer league team. The local team equivalent would be the Santa Clarita Blue Heat.
“I really missed the competitiveness of it all,” Michelle said when asked what made her decide to pursue soccer after college.
Born and raised in Santa Clarita, Michelle began playing soccer at the age of 4, with the Canyon Country AYSO. She went on to play on a club soccer team for the local Santa Clarita United, and then LAFC in Pasadena. She also played at Canyon High School.
Moving around the field, Michelle started playing as a forward because of her speed, but during her high school years, she transitioned to a defender, which is now her preferred position.
“I like being able to see the whole field in front of me,” Michelle said. “I can still use my speed down line.”
Feeling a little burnt out after so many years of devoting her life to soccer, she decided to take most of her college years off from playing the sport competitively.
She continued to participate in pick up and intramural games for fun, until her last year of college when she realized how much she missed playing the game at a higher level. That’s when she joined the Texas State Women’s Club Soccer team.
“Everything drew me back to soccer and I just really wanted to help grow the sport,” Michelle said.
It was in college that she met her now-fiancé Billy Forbes, who plays soccer professionally for San Antonio FC, in the league right under Major League Soccer.
The two soulmates met through mutual friends, and started dating soon afterward.
Billy proposed to Michelle right on his home field in front of fans, friends and teammates. “We’re a big soccer couple,” Michelle said.
After seeing her play for the Texas State club team and in pick up games, Billy convinced Michelle to try out for the semi-pro Athenians team, and the rest is history.
Now her schedule consists of working during the day and practicing and attending fitness trainings in the evenings, as the team prepares for their summer season.
Some of Michelle’s former teammates have gone overseas to play internationally, giving her some ideas for her own next steps with the sport in the future.
“It’s fun for right now and if the right opportunity presented itself to play at the next level, I would consider it,” she said.
When asked what she likes most about soccer, Michelle replied, “My favorite part has been the experiences of playing against teams from different states (even Mexico) and the people I get to meet. I love all the girls on my team and have definitely built some life-long friendships.”
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