By Joseph Staszewski
Rachel Daly went back to excelling at stopping goals instead of scoring them.
The St. John’s University junior was a defender all her life before posting a record-setting season at forward for the Red Storm women’s soccer team last season.
Daly didn’t miss a beat when she returned to play the back line with the L.A. Blues of the pro-am W-League this summer. The English import, who scored a St. John’s record 23 goals last year, was named to the All-Conference team and helped the Blues to a fourth title in seven seasons during her first year with the club.
“That was great for me because I have been playing forward all year for St. John’s,” Daly said. “Getting on the All-Conference team as a defender was obviously a big thing for me because they could have chosen from any of our back four.”
She called the Blues, which consisted of some of the nation’s best players, one of the best teams she has ever played on. Daly, who is in her second season with the league, knew from early on in the season they would be the favorite to win it all.
Los Angeles ended up beating the Washington Spirit 6-1 in the title game July 27. Daly scored twice on corner kick for the Blues during the season.
“We spent such a close season together,” Daly said. “Everyone was really good friends. Even the staff, we were all so close. Doing that together is just a great achievement. It was a great feeling.”
The whole summer was a learning experience for Daly, who will return to forward this fall for the Red Storm. She had played on different levels of the English national teams growing up, but this was her first time around the top-tier players in the United States. It allowed her to pick up some things along the way.
Daly plans on taking her experience with her into this season at St. John’s, which kicks off with an exhibition game against Lehigh Aug. 13. The Red Storm return a strong core from last year’s club and have added motivation to try to bring home a Big East title and reach the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. St. John’s will host the conference tournament.
“That just drives me to make sure that we get into the Big East final four so we can play in that,” Daly said. “There is nothing worse that being at home and having to watch other teams play on your home turf, knowing you are not in it. That should drive everyone to make sure we get there.”