Morgan Proffitt thought she was done winning awards from Marquette University when she graduated last May.
But shortly after returning to Columbus from her rookie season in the National Women’s Soccer League, Proffitt received a call from the school. She had been selected as the recipient of the 71st Robert L. and William P. McCahill Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Marquette student-athlete.
Proffitt will be honored Monday night at the Golden Eagles’ home basketball game against DePaul.
“I was definitely shocked when I got the phone call,” Proffitt said. “This award is especially important to me because it’s not just about soccer. It’s about service to the community and academics, so this is the award I’m most proud of. There are so many outstanding athletes that come through Marquette, so the fact that I was picked to receive this honor is very special to me.”
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The Columbus North graduate was a three-time All-Big East selection and the 2016 Big East Defensive Player of the Year. She was a four-time Big East All-Academic Team honoree and graduated with a double major in marketing and operations and supply chain management.
The McCahill Award was named after Captain Robert L. McCahill, a former Marquette student-athlete who gave his life at the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 during World War II. His brother, Colonel William P. McCahill, also a MU student-athlete, established the award, which was first presented in 1946.
Following William McCahill’s death in 1999, Marquette renamed the award for both McCahills. The award is given to a student-athlete who has achieved in athletics, scholarship and service to the university.
“Morgan epitomizes what Marquette student-athletes strive to be every day, displaying excellence in all aspects of life,” Marquette vice president and director of athletics Bill Scholl told gomarquette.com.
“During her time at MU, her pursuit to be among the very best on the soccer pitch was as apparent as her humility and the respect she showed her teammates, coaches, administrators and professors. I can think of no better representative of Marquette and the McCahill Award.”
At Marquette, Proffitt was actively involved in numerous community service initiatives, including Hunger Clean Up, Relay for Life and TOPSoccer.
Since returning to Columbus last fall, she has mentored and provided support to aspiring college soccer players, including Columbus East freshman Alana Dwenger and North freshman Kate Kolhouse.
Later this week, Proffitt will head to Florida to train with some of her teammates with the Washington Spirit National Women’s Soccer League team. The preseason starts Feb. 19.
“I’m a perfectionist,” Proffitt said. “I’m never really satisfied with where I’m at. I just want to keep getting better.”
The Chicago Red Stars selected Proffitt with the 12th pick in last year’s NWSL Draft. Proffitt, who had played the previous two seasons with the Red Stars Reserves while still at Marquette, was stuck playing behind women’s national team player Julie (Johnston) Ertz at the defensive midfield spot.
Midway through the season, Proffitt started alongside Ertz and played the entire game in the midfield. Following the game, she was waived.
“It really came out of nowhere,” Proffitt said. “It’s a business, so you can’t take anything too personal, but it was definitely a surprise because my coach was telling me they were going to develop me.”
A few teams called Proffitt. The Spirit, who were the lowest team in the standings, had priority.
Proffitt saw action in 10 professional matches last season, making four starts and playing 366 minutes.
“I felt pretty good about my first season,” Proffitt said. “Definitely, it’s hard going from a college setting going to a league where everybody is very good. It took some adapting.”
Getting used to Washington, D.C., also took a little adapting. During the season, she lives in the suburb of Boyds, Maryland.
“I love it out there,” Proffitt said. “I get along with the coach and the girls great. The city is awesome. There’s so much to do. It’s a combination of urban and rural. This is ultimately a blessing. I ended up with a really good situation.”
Proffitt has been on multiple U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team rosters. She was on the team that won the Nordic Tournament in England in 2016.
Last year, Proffitt was again called to the U-23 camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family, friends, coaches, teammates and all the athletic staff at Marquette,” Proffitt said. “I can’t thank them enough.”
Name: Morgan Proffitt
High school: Columbus North
Current pro team: Washington Spirit