• Athletics
Big Red Sports Network Profile Marcia Ojo ‘21

Ashley Cohen ‘22

Marcia Ojo ‘21 has been a passionate and hard-working soccer player since she first began the sport many years ago. Having recently wrapped up her final soccer season at Lawrenceville, Ojo will carry the life lessons and soccer skills she has learned with her into her college career and beyond.

Ashley Cohen: When and how did you first start soccer?
Marcia Ojo: I started playing soccer when I was really young. My dad was my first coach! At first, I played on a team of mostly boys for small, recreational games. When I was nine, I switched to a club team called the Players Development Academy (PDA), and I have played there since then. PDA helped me become serious and passionate about soccer, and because of that mindset, I think I have grown tremendously as a player.

AC: What is your favorite part about soccer?
MO: I love the actual playing of soccer and the freedom of the sport. After countless hours of training, games and scrimmages allow me to express the skills I have worked to develop. Playing soccer serves as an escape from any other challenges, stresses, or headaches life might hand me. On the field, I can be myself and not worry about anything else.

AC: What position do you play, and how is it unique from other positions?
MO: I mainly played center-back until high school, where I now play forward. Playing forward is unique in that I can see the whole field and, in a way, be my teammates’ “big-picture” vision. I get to help lead and coach the rest of my team. I think it is one of the most difficult yet rewarding positions.

AC: How have the soccer coaches had a positive impact on your time at Lawrenceville?
MO: [Head Girls’ Varsity Soccer Coach ] Ms. [Jess] Magnuson has helped me develop in a way I had not experienced before Lawrenceville. Her coaching has taught me how to become a better player and leader, as I have learned how to assist my teammates who have not had as much experience on the soccer field. I am really thankful for that.

AC: What is your favorite Lawrenceville soccer team tradition?
MO: On game days, we walk out and scream, “LGBR.” Our chant echoes through the whole fieldhouse, and then we are silent on our walk to the field. I feel like it sets the serious but excited tone for the game that day and puts us in the mood to play hard.

AC: How do you balance your academic and athletic careers? Do you have any advice for other student-athletes?
MO: I do club soccer outside of school, so it can definitely get difficult to manage academics and athletics if I do not schedule my time. My biggest piece of advice would be to make a schedule and balance your time between seeing friends, finishing schoolwork, and going to practices and games. I would also say to get your homework done before it gets late! Last, make sure to communicate with your teachers.

AC: What is one lesson soccer has taught you, on or off of the field?
MO: Soccer has taught me how to approach loss. I have learned how to bounce back after losing a game and how to look at failures as opportunities for improvement, rather than discouraging setbacks.

AC: During the fall season, how did the team adjust for COVID-related obstacles? As team captain, how did you try to make the season feel as normal as possible?
MO: Without games, we had a lot of practices. It felt normal in that we trained with our usual drills. We took the opportunity to make this season unique by hosting “competition days,” or intra-team games, which I think made everyone excited for practices even though we did not have any real games to look forward to. We also practiced with the boys’ soccer team, which was super fun to experience the more physical side of the sport. We made sure that everyone was engaged with the team, excited to come to practice, and ready to improve!

AC: Having recently finished your final season, how do you plan to stay involved with future generations of the soccer team?
MO: I will definitely be there for my teammates if anyone ever needs help, advice, or just to talk. I still talk to my past captains, and I plan to do the same for my current teammates! I will also return to watch soccer games whenever I am here!

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.