Sept. 18, 2012
There was really never any doubt where Meagan Proper was going to attend college. Growing up a stone’s throw from Raleigh in the town that has become quite famous for its American Idol singer, Garner has always had strong Wolfpack roots and the Proper family was certainly no different.
“Growing up around Wolfpack Athletics it was always an ambition of mine to go to school at NC State,” said Proper.
“My parents were lifetime Football (ticket) holders so I grew up at these events. Watching all the State soccer games, watching Carolina, Duke, and the rest made it pretty hard not to go here.”
From an early age observing from the stands she always thought about what it would be like to play soccer for the Wolfpack.
“Seeing the life they lived was pretty cool so I think it was always something I wanted to do,” Proper said.
Growing up in a soccer-crazed state like North Carolina and more specifically the local Triangle area, Proper began playing at age four and despite also playing basketball, something this region is also famous for, soccer has always been her passion.
You can trace most budding athletes careers all the way back to playing around the house with siblings and this case is no different. Older sister, Jennifer, who also attended NC State, got Meagan interested in soccer.
“Having that figure to look up to was really important to me,” said Proper. “Just playing in the back yard with her really grew my passion for the game. She played for CASL (Capital Area Soccer League) too so I kind of just followed her lead getting involved in the game.”
The younger Proper’s game continued to grow as she passed through middle school, and then through her time with CASL and Garner Magnet. She became a prolific scorer for head coach Connie Barnes in high school.
In her junior season, Proper was the area’s second leading scorer after amassing a staggering 98 points on 31 goals and 36 assists and was named Offensive Player of the Year in the Greater Neuse River Conference.
She finished her career with 271 points (85 goals and 101 assists) and was named all-state three times.
It has been a little different story in college for the sport management major. Playing in the nation’s toughest conference, the ACC is the best of the best when it comes to collegiate soccer and that has changed Proper’s game over time.
“You’re playing against girls that had the same stats that I put up in high school,” said Proper. “The level of competition is unbelievable; every team in the ACC is good. There is not one weak team that we play.”
Speaking of change, the 5-5 Proper has played forward for nearly her entire soccer career, including her first two seasons at NC State. But after the Pack got off to a 0-2 start in the 2012 campaign, and few nagging injuries on defense, head coach Steve Springthorpe decided to tweak his lineup and that involved sending Proper to the back line.
So despite only playing defense a little going all the way back to her ODP days and saying it had never been a natural position, Proper was more than willing to make the switch. As a team captain it was something she was convinced would make her club better.
“I was a little nervous when Steve first told me right before the Texas game,” said Proper. “I was open minded that week going into the game. I really listed to everything Steve and (Associate head coach) Chris (Shaw) had to say - what our back line had to say – and took all the input and gave everything I had. It has been a good change.
“Now I’m just focusing on little details now that I’m getting more comfortable.”
And you can’t argue with the results. Ever since the switch, NC State ran off five-consecutive victories, the longest such streak since Springthorpe took over the program before the 2009 season.
Included in those wins was a shutout of Texas, and a come-from-behind win the same weekend at LSU.
“I’m learning every practice because it’s not something I’ve played before,” Proper said. “But I’m really enjoying it.
“I said to Steve whatever we have to do to help our team succeed. If you need me back there I’m going to give a 100 percent.”
The always offensive minded Proper, who takes nearly all the clubs corner kick, gives the Wolfpack an added dimension as an attacking outside back.
“I think that is a big part of what Steve is looking at having me back there. Having an outside back that is not afraid to get forward and serve crosses and get into the attack makes it hard for the other team to defend us.”
Because of an injury early on in her 2009 freshman season, Proper still has one more season and plans to use it in 2013 as a red-shirt senior. She would like to continue her education at State by attending graduate school to focus on Higher Education Administration.
“I would love to work in a university setting and have the ability to stay around sports and the game,” added Proper.