Athlete of the Issue: Katie O’Malley ‘23


Katie O’Malley ’23 goes for a shot in game against Naperville North High School on April 3, 2022 (photo courtesy of O’Malley)

Scarlett Lestina, Managing Editor

After earning All Sectional honors last year while playing left forward for the LT girls soccer team–ranked fifth in Illinois class 3A–Katie O’Malley ‘23 continued playing soccer for her newly joined club team, Eclipse. They competed at Nationals in Seattle from June 22-26, 2022. 

“This was my first tournament with [Eclipse] so it was pretty stressful, but a bunch of college coaches were there,” O’Malley said. “The teams were really good. You’re playing against these girls who are committed to places like Stanford and Florida State.”

O’Malley had yet to commit to a college, but after the tournament she decided on Illinois State University (ISU).

“I fell in love with Illinois State,” O’Malley said. “High school soccer is what made me want to play college soccer because of the camaraderie and the playing with a bunch of different levels of girls.”

With a majority of her senior year left to play, head coach Bill Lanspeary is excited to see her lead the team with her attitude and work ethic, he said.

“It’s been fun to watch her grow from her sophomore year through her senior year in her confidence and her ability and her leadership,” Lanspeary said. “It’s fun to see how that’s kind of developed and how she leads and plays.”

O’Malley has been on varsity since she was a sophomore, where the team went to State; there was no high school soccer season her freshman year due to COVID-19. However, as an upperclassmen she has taken the younger girls under her wing being the first ones to welcome them to the new team, teammate Caroline Mortonson ‘25 said.

“During my first year on varsity, she was the first person to contact me and ask if I needed rides or anything else,” Mortonson said. “On the field Katie uses positive communication to help boost your performance or make you feel better about yourself when you lose the ball.”

Along with being a positive role model, O’Malley’s teammates also look up to her soccer skills, teammate Josie Pochocki ‘24 said. 

“She’s super aggressive and willing to dribble through everyone,” Pochocki said. “She loves to score goals.”

O’Malley’s family has played a big role in her soccer career, O’Malley said. They have continued to provide her with support throughout her entire soccer career, spanning since she was in first grade.

“My family has kept me in it and encouraged me to keep going,” O’Malley said. “Especially throughout the recruiting process I would get kind of down on myself, but they would tell me I could do it, I just needed to be patient with myself. They really helped with the mental part of [the recruitment process].”

O’Malley will continue to play for the LT girls soccer team with hopes of continuing the success of last season getting all the way to regionals, she said. Soon after graduation, she will start training for the upcoming fall soccer season at ISU.