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Mount Mercy Academy's Haley O'Donnell Makes the Smooth Transition

by cnewman
Thu, Oct 3rd 2013 09:00 am
Mount Mercy's Haley O'Donnell (11) watches as her teammate Jessica Alvira looks for the ball. Jeffrey Barnes/MetroSource Photographer
Mount Mercy's Haley O'Donnell (11) watches as her teammate Jessica Alvira looks for the ball. Jeffrey Barnes/MetroSource Photographer
Since she has started playing soccer, Mount Mercy Academys Haley ODonnell only knew about one thing scoring goals.

That was until August when ODonnell was approached by Mount Mercy Academy coach John Glose to switch positions.

Instead of scoring goals, Glose wanted ODonnell to help prevent them.

Its funny, when Haley made varsity her freshman year she told me she never played anything but forward, explained Glose after their recent win over Immaculata Academy.

When I asked her to play defense she didnt complain one bit. She is awesome to coach. She is enthusiastic about it.

With the departure of half his backline, Glose put the speedy ODonnell back there. While there have been some rough spots, ODonnell has made a pretty smooth transition and now has looked like she has played the position her entire life.

Its a lot different. When you play forward you are trying to score a lot of goals, said ODonnell. On defense they dont get as much credit, but its a big job.

Glose credits her improvement on the fact she is an easy person to coach.

She is getting better and better every single game back there, said Glose. I am lucky to have her.

ODonnell herself wasnt hestitant at all when making the change. She was happy just to get on the field and help her teammates out whatever position that may be.

It was a big transition playing on defense, said ODonnell after their 1-0 victory over Immaculata earlier in the week.

I learned how to play defense. It was a big transition, but I like it a lot.

Her development on the field has been noticed by travel soccer teams as well, as she was picked to play for the Buffalo Legends Premier Soccer team.

Playing against the top competition in Western New York can only improve her game, and get her noticed by colleges.

That is just going to help her further her career and play well, said Glose. I think she is just starting to scratch the surface. She takes her soccer seriously, and it has really paid off for her. And it couldnt happen to a better girl.

Playing 80 minutes a game is something ODonnell is getting used to as well. While playing forward at the academy, Glose rotates his forwards to keep them fresh.

He has so much confidence in his backline that he plays them the entire game.

The reason why I started playing defense is because we needed a defender, said ODonnell. He (John) thought I was strong enough to win balls in the air. Its really hard playing the entire 80 minutes, but its worth it. And, its good exercise.

Haley ODonnell has shown steady improvement since she showed up at Mount Mercy Academy three years ago. She is a team player and one that Glose and her teammates can count on.