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Blue Collar Bone: Fauquier soccer player Megan Enos worked through injuries

Saturday, Jul. 12 | By Jeff Malmgren
Megan Enos plays forward for Fauquier and outside back for her travel and Olympic Development Program teams. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
A dirt bike has curiously had an intermittent impact on Megan Enos' soccer career.

This Honda XR70 has managed to be a peripheral player in her journey from youth soccer phenom to college prospect.

Enos has dedicated much of her life to soccer, even adding her name to three rosters simultaneously at times. In the past year alone, she was a junior striker for the Fauquier High Falcons, a back for the Prince William Soccer Inc. Courage 96 Red and a back for the Olympic Development Program Region I team.

The rising senior rarely played other sports over the years, but did find time to ride dirt bikes with her brother in the yard of their family's home in Marshall.

Unfortunately, as a seventh grader, Enos' bike tipped over as she tried to avoid a collision with her brother's bike. She broke her collar bone and had to take a break from soccer during her seven-week recovery.

Soon after, Enos began climbing the ranks of the ODP program. She eventually got the opportunity as a sophomore to travel and play with the Region I team in Germany. So she decided to sell that dirt bike and use the money to fund her trip overseas, scheduled for March 2013.

Enos never got the chance to go. In November 2012, she collided with an opponent during a PWSI tournament game in North Carolina and broke her collar bone again.

With a flashback to her dirt bike mishap, Enos immediately diagnosed the injury. This time, however, she suffered a more severe displaced fracture.

"I couldn’t really feel anything because of the adrenaline, but when I tried to stand up I could feel my shoulder pulling," Enos said. "I knew it was broken. … It didn't break the skin, but you could kind of see my jersey pushing up a little bit."

She needed two surgeries to mend the bone – one to insert a rod and pin, and one to remove them. Doctors estimated it would take six months before she could play soccer again. They suggested she instead join the Fauquier track team and use that non-contact sport as a way to stay in shape while her collar bone recovered.

So, as a sophomore, Enos made the rare choice to participate in a sport other than soccer.

Naturally, that backfired.

Enos excelled on the track and by late May she had advanced to the state meet in the 1,600-meter and 3,200 relays. By that time, doctors had also cleared her to play soccer again. So Enos participated in both sports for a few weeks.

Until running caused a stress fracture in her shin.

"Trying to better myself, and that happened," she said. "And I couldn't find joy in just running around a track. I really hated it."

Due to the stress fracture, Enos missed another three months of soccer.

"Miserable. Not playing, ugh, time goes by so slow," the 17-year-old said. "It’s one of the most important things to me. It’s all I’ve known my whole life. I love doing it more than anything."

Enos' injury kept her from attending an ODP Region I camp in July 2013. She finally returned to full heath that October, though.

She still had that money from her dirt bike sale, too, so she finally got to travel with the Region I team this past March. Enos went to Coasta Rica, March 19-26, and played against the country's national team, as well as other opponents.

The Region I team is composed of players from 13 states between Virginia and Maine.

"She's basically considered one of the top 20 players in that region," Fauquier coach Rick Ashley said. "It’s just incredible."

Enos made that Region I team for the second consecutive summer after an arduous tryout process. Each summer, she had to earn a spot on one of five district teams in Virginia and then train with that squad weekly until tryouts began for the state team in November. She then played for the state team in tournaments until the Region I tryout began in Rhode Island.

That region team then played its tournament schedule, including games overseas.

"It's cool to play," said Enos, who also recently made a verbal commitment to join the Virginia Commonwealth University women's soccer team. "But I don’t know if I'm going to do it again because it’s tough with college. And it’s just kind of a hassle. The camp is kind of miserable and ODP has actually lost its competitiveness" in the older age groups.

Back and forward

Megan Enos plays forward so effectively for Fauquier, it's hard to believe that's not her preferred position.

She can outrun most high school defenders to the ball and then ward off anyone trying to mark her once she has possession. In fact, as a junior this past season, she had a hand in 50 percent of the Falcons' goals, scoring eight of 20 goals and assisting two others.

Enos sometimes feels isolated, though, at the top of Fauquier's formation. She prefers the bustle of playing outside back for her PWSI and ODP travel teams.

"It’s more involved in the game," said Enos, who also plans to play outside back for VCU. "Being a striker I have to do a lot of watching until get an opportunity. Outside back I can put myself in the attack."

From the defensive end, Enos loves to utilized her speed to make a run up the sideline and gather the ball. From the flank, she tries to set up a teammate with cross into the box.

"She’s just a great outside back at that level," Rick Ashley said. "But, with us, a player of that quality, we need her as a striker because of her goal scoring ability.

"She has great speed, great finishing ability and she turns on defenders really well," he said.

Each March, it takes some time for Enos to transition from outside back to striker once Fauquier's season begins.

"It's uncomfortable at first," she said. "I don’t have the best shot because of playing outside back. … But after a game or two you adjust to making different runs."

Fauquier often uses a 4-4-2 formation with Enos playing highest and her follow striker sagging toward midfield. The Falcons (10-6) then look to feed through balls to Enos or set her up with balls on the outside to set up crosses.

As a sophomore last season, she scored nine goals despite playing only five matches due to that collar bone injury.

"When she’s on the pitch, we’re a different team," Ashley said. "The girls feel we’re just going to find a goal. … When she's not out there, the girls just don’t seem to have the same confidence."

Enos had 13 goals and an assist as a freshman.

"She’s an elite player, but she doesn’t act like that around the team," Ashley said. "She’s still very down to earth, very positive, very encouraging."

In fact, before each game, Enos searches for quotes she believes are inspiring and positive. Then she reads them aloud to her teammates.

"She’s just a really good team leader," Ashley said.

'Walking Muscle'

Megan Enos' nicknames as a child nicely sum up her playing style.

One coach called her the Energizer Bunny. Another called her the Walking Muscle.

Enos combines relentless speed with a frame that's strong despite her slender, 5-foot-6 stature.

That speed and her soccer savvy were evident as soon as she began playing in a recreation soccer league at age 4.

"Everyone else was kind of just running around in a circle," Enos' mother, Ann, said. "She knew what was going on and would score goals at will. … She was always athletic and agile."

Megan Enos soon joined the Fauquier County Soccer Club team before moving on to the PWSI and ODP teams with which she attracted the attention of college coaches.

VCU eventually made a partial scholarship offer and she quickly accepted.

"My guess is she’ll win a starting spot as a freshman," Ashley said. "I think she’ll do really well."

No other college programs offered her scholarships before her commitment to VCU, perhaps because the broken collar bone and shin stress fracture limited her exposure. James Madison and Pittsburgh were among the interested teams that she considered.

"She missed the swell of … exposure," Ann Enos said. "It was kind of bad timing getting that injury."

Megan Enos is interested in studying physical therapy and physician assistance while playing soccer at VCU.

"I just hope to make college great," she said. "Playing after that is always a dream, but I don’t know how realistic it is."

- - - - -

The Megan Enos File

Family: Father, Jeffery, is a director of operation at Ineo Global Support. Mother, Ann, does part time office work. Brother, Ryan, 19, is a Fauquier High graduate and pole vaulter who recently transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University after Radford University cut its men’s track program.

Favorite athlete: Ali Krieger of the U.S. Women's National Team. "Her dad was actually my coach and she played for my club team when she was younger, and she played outside back."

Favorite teams: "My whole family are huge Pittsburgh Steelers fans and Penguins fans. [A lot of] my family is from western Pennsylvania."

Favorite foods: Moose tracks ice cream and pancakes.

Favorite music artist/song: Jack Johnson/"Banana Pancakes." "His music is very relaxing and clam and happy."

Favorite TV show: "Friends." "They don’t really make show like 'Friends' anymore. It always makes me laugh."

Favorite place: Stone Harbor, New Jersey. "That's the beach where my dad and his family went when they were younger, so we always go there when we can in summer."

Hobby: "I play piano a little bit, but I'm not really good at it."

Pregame superstition: "I always have to put my right sock, right shoe and right shin guard on before my left. … One time I put my left on first and it didn’t feel right, so I took it off."

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