Overcoming an ACL injury and returning to play a Division I sport is something that would challenge most athletes.
To overcome two ACL injuries and return to help your team win back-to-back regular season conference titles is a remarkable feat for any athlete.
UCF redshirt senior Megan Fish did just that.
“It is not really an individual thing, it is definitely your support around you — whether it is the athletic trainers, the coaching staff or your academic services helping with when you are missing things for surgeries and stuff,” Fish said. “I would not be where I am if I did not have the family I have here, and I am just really grateful for that.”
Fish’s accomplishments are not just the ones she makes on the soccer pitch, but also the strides she has made in the classroom and in her community. She was recently recognized with the Haier Achievement Award for her contributions as a student-athlete on and off the field.
Haier will honor Fish with an on-field presentation at an upcoming UCF sporting event, as well as donating a Haier 48-inch LED HD television to the school’s athletic department and $2,000 to the UCF general scholarship fund.
Student-athletes from all sports, schools and divisions are eligible for the Haier Achievement Award, and Fish is now in the running for the Haier Ultimate Achievement Award that will be announced in the spring.
“It is very important to me that we have players here that have wonderful character on and off the field, and Megan Fish is the perfect example of a teammate, a leader and a person that contributes in every way,” said UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. “She is so deserving of this award; she does anything for her team.”
Fish was an American Athletic Conference All-Academic team student-athlete in 2013 and 2014. The midfielder played 80 games for UCF, compiling three goals and six assists for 12 points. In addition to her success in the classroom, she has also had a big role helping others.
In May 2014, she volunteered on a Knights Without Borders service-learning trip for a week in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where she helped run sport clinics, promote education through sports and renovate a local library.
“It’s kind of hard to relate to kids sometimes, but one thing that you can always get on the same level with them is sports,” Fish said. “I am lucky with soccer that it is a universal language, and you bring a soccer ball over and you don’t need to talk, you just play and there is joy.”
Fish has been a Knight since the 2011 season and wanted to achieve her dream of playing Division I soccer in part to honor her late father Carmen.
After two ACL injuries, Fish came back strong and helped the Knights earn back-to-back AAC regular-season championships, the 2013 American Conference Tournament title and an appearance in the 2014 NCAA Sweet 16.
“I am not ready to close this window for playing yet, my body has held up so far, so I am really going to try to do the pro bracket and go overseas,” Fish said. “Whenever that window closes, then I am going to keep up with the nonprofit work and keep trying to use soccer to speak to others and empower them.”
Matthew Saunders is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.