Continuing our way through player previews for the Northwestern women’s soccer team, we’ll move on to Meg Boade. On Aug. 11, United Soccer Coaches released their 2023 Midfielders to Watch list; unsurprisingly, Boade was included. A rising senior, No. 34 will look to build off a successful junior year as the ‘Cats attempt to make it to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
Who is she?
Senior; midfielder; from Lone Tree, Colorado, 2022 First Team All-Big Ten and United Soccer Coaches All-North Region honoree
48 games played, 34 starts; eight goals; three assists; 19 points
2022 was a breakout year for Boade, as she scored seven goals and notched two assists en route to the ‘Cats journey to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018.
After playing just 959 minutes over her first two seasons in Evanston, Boade entered 2023 as a bonafide starter, making the XI in all 23 contests. She was everywhere on the pitch in those appearances, whether it be dropping back to stymie a counter attack or dancing through the opponent’s eighteen with the ball practically glued to her feet. No passing lane was safe from Boade’s aggressive defending. Having her on the ball inspired confidence in the Northwestern attack, as the potential for something great was always tangible.
Despite lower counting statistics than others around the conference, Boade’s commanding presence as a quintessential central midfielder earned her First Team All-Big Ten accolades. Her prowess on both sides of the ball also earned the respect of United Soccer Coaches, who named her to their All-North Region team.
Boade’s stellar season was highlighted by a brace in a come-from-behind victory against Nebraska and a one goal, one assist performance against Purdue.
If the Wildcats are to have any success this year, Boade will be at the forefront. Her veteran leadership in the midfield will be especially important following the departure of Rowan Lapi. It will be up to Boade to head up that unit and facilitate chemistry between returners like Caterina Regazzoni and newcomers like grad transfer Jaelyn Eisenhart. Her NCAA tournament experience will allow her to push the team toward their ultimate goal, because one taste of the postseason is never enough.
It will be hard for Boade to improve upon 2022, but increasing her goal contributions could elevate her even further. She put shots on goal 58.6% of the time, but converted less than half of those, going 7-for-17. Dialing in her finishing would allow Boade to become more lethal for the Wildcats, making an already potent offense even more dangerous.
A strong fourth season would place Boade in the upper echelon of Wildcat footballers, especially if she pushes Northwestern to a Big Ten Championship or a deep NCAA run.