Sports

Monika Lee: International star

Monika Lee celebrates scoring a goal. After three games, the mid- fielder is one of only three Loyola players to have scored a goal.
Monika Lee celebrates scoring a goal. After three games, the mid- fielder is one of only three Loyola players to have scored a goal.

From playing on the Loyola women’s soccer team as well as a national soccer team, to studying marketing and contributing to the community, Monika Lee does it all. She is one of the leading contributors on the field this season as a junior, recording three points after three games.

Lee started playing soccer when she was 4 and has never stopped. She grew up in Shelby Township, Mich., and was active in many sports. She played softball, basketball, baseball and danced, in addition to playing soccer. As Lee got older, she started to focus her attention on the sport she most wanted to keep playing. As she said, “I always kept choosing soccer.”

Besides her athletic endeavors, she also enjoys going shopping, watching movies and spending time with her friends.

Lee is very close with her family, particularly her mother, with whom she enjoys seeing movies. On most game days, her parents and her brother can be seen cheering her on from the stands.

When Lee visited Loyola as a prospective student, she said,“I took a tour and I loved the campus.”

“When I came here and visited I just got that feeling, like ‘Wow, this is home,’” Lee said.

For Lee, there is a lot to love about the city of Chicago: “I like how diverse it is. There are a lot of different types of people. I like how there is always something to do.”

Lee is a marketing major and is considering double majoring in information systems. “I just think it’s a really interesting field, it’s a growing field. There are so many different products in the market, how do you make your product a better one [and] make people buy that product?” Lee said.

She went on to explain that one of her favorite classes so far has been a marketing class: “Marketing 201 with Eve Geroulis was awesome, she was a great professor.” Lee said that the class reinforced her plan to major in marketing. “After taking her 201 class, I was like, yup, that’s my major.”

This past summer, Lee played on the Philippines women’s national team. Her mother was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when she was 4. Lee became a dual citizen before becoming a member of the team. “It was awesome, I can’t even say once in a lifetime because I hope I will be back … I played really well, I had a great experience,” she said.

She went on to say, “It was good to see the Philippines … the good and bad side of the Philippines. It was also good to see Bangladesh, that’s where we played. It was honestly a very humbling and rewarding experience.”

As a junior, Lee is taking more of a leadership role with Loyola’s team. She said that she sees herself as one of many leaders on the team. “I don’t really think there is one [leader] per se … I think there are a lot of leaders and there’s a lot of people for the younger girls to look up to and I consider myself one of those leaders,” she said.

“She does a really good job of getting out in the community, building those bridges between [the] Loyola community and surrounding communities,” Head Coach Barry Bimbi explained.

Monika enjoys volunteering at Misericordia, a residential community for people with developmental disabilities.

Bimbi said that Lee is willing to help anyone: “[People] can come up to her and ask her for anything, she will absolutely go out of her way to help someone.”

Lee is unsure of what the future holds, and said “I am just kind of taking it day by day, I kind of have plans, but they are not really set in stone. I would love to get a job and become a succesful businesswoman, but I could see myself still playing a little bit longer.” She said that playing in the Philippines where she has family is a possibility.

For now, however, she is playing soccer at Loyola as a midfielder and has made some early contributions to the team. Bimbi said he is pleased with Lee’s contributions early in the season: “Couldn’t be happier. We’re three games in, she has a goal and an assist. From this point forward, can we keep that going and can she end the year with five, six goals [and] five, six assist[s]? If she does that, and everyone comes along, we’ll have a really successful year.”

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