Team: Sky Blue FC
After being traded by Portland Thorns earlier this year, Margaret “Midge” Purce has made an impressive debut for Sky Blue FC in the NWSL Challenge Cup. Taking a look at her already notable career, it is easy to see how she is fast becoming one of Sky Blue’s standout players.
In her early days, Purce was called up to play for the National team in both the under-17 and under-20 categories, and then again for the under-23’s. She made her first appearance for the senior USWNT in 2019 in a friendly against Costa Rica.
During her college days at Harvard, Purce was rather prominent on the scoresheet, netting 42 goals in 69 appearances for Harvard Crimson. As a freshman, Purce became the first rookie in Ivy League history to be named Player of the Year; a feat that she then repeated in her last year with the Crimson. Purce was selected by Boston Breakers as the 9th pick in the 2017 college draft. She made 22 appearances for the Breakers and played for them until their dissolution, when she then moved to Portland Thorns.
Although she may be registered as a midfielder on the roster, Purce, somewhat dangerously, is able to turn her hand to a number of positions on the pitch. Across the 2018 season with the Thorns, Purce largely played as a fullback, yet moved back to her more natural forward position sporadically in 2019.
Since joining Sky Blue, Purce has once again returned to a fullback position. Across the Challenge Cup so far, she has filled both outside back roles, and occupying either of these looks set to continue.
But as she now develops her game as a defender, it must be said that Purce’s attacking flair cannot go unnoticed. In fact, as a fullback, she has been one of Sky Blue’s most dangerous players on the pitch.
Purce has a yearning to push forward; to quicken the pace with her sprightly surges. She is smart in her tactical play, often cutting in from the wing to outwit an opponent or two. From the middle Purce sparks creativity. Delivering risky through balls to her teammates and following these up with her own thunderous runs, she continuously attempts to create goalscoring opportunities.
Yet she recovers well defensively. Trailing back with urgency, Purce is there to retrieve a lost ball, or to dispel an opposing play. It sometimes appears that at any one-time Purce is all over the pitch, seemingly occupying multiple positions all at once. A gifted and versatile player if ever you’ve seen one.
Putting it simply, Purce is quite the spectacle to watch.
By Charlotte Stacey