By Terry Jacoby, FUEL Soccer Contributor
Hillary Beall was the No. 1 ranked goalkeeper nationally in the Class of 2017, and the Laguna Beach, Calif., native could have written her ticket to anywhere in the country. Beall picked Michigan and enjoyed a fairly successful first year with the Wolverines, despite the team finishing with a .500 record.
“I wanted to go someplace where I could help change a program and really put that school on the map in women’s soccer,” Beall said. “It was just a great fit.”
During her freshman season at Michigan, Beall appeared in seven matches with six starts, including starts against three ranked opponents. She recorded 31 saves, 1.2 shutouts and a goals-against average of 0.96. Beall missed the final three games of the season due to injury.
Beall, who attended Crean Lutheran in SoCal, played with the U.S. U-14 and U-15 national teams. She also played with the U-17 National Team in 2015 and played club soccer for the elite So Cal Blues (2014-17).
In February, Beall was one of three goaltenders invited to the U.S. U-19 Women’s National Team training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The 5-foot-11 keeper also represented the U.S. at the 2016 U-17 World Cup and played with the U-19 WNT in Prague, Czech Republic, in June 2017.
To become an elite goaltender is a full-time commitment and getting better and improving is a big part of Beall’s off-season. And it comes by working out on and off the pitch.
“The summer is a big part of my off-season training where I can go home and really personalize my workouts,” she said. “I will go three times a work to the gym and work on my strength. It helps with me getting explosive and getting fit in the off-season.”
The weight room is a big part of her routine aimed at getting stronger. “I do some upper-body pullups and bench presses but a lot of it is lower body work,” she says. “I will do squats and dead lifting and then explosive movements like jumping, hurdles and sprinting.”
Beall also will spend five days a week working with her personal goaltending coach, improving skills and techniques. She also will train with a team three days a week during the off-season.
“Rest and taking care of yourself also is very important,” she said. “If I want to play professionally and play with the National Team someday I have to have my body in shape to last for the long run. So resting and staying healthy is a big part of that.”
Three workout tips
- Run on off days. There is the funny saying that players become goaltenders because they don’t like to run or aren’t as athletic or lack speed and quickness. Well, those days are over. The best goaltenders in the country are as athletic as a center mid or attacking forward. And it certainly involves running. “You can’t be too fit,” Beall says. “I will run on my off days and if I only have one training session in a day I will always run afterwards.”
- Cross train. Beall believes you can have fun and work out at the same time. During the off-season you can find her on the bike. “I like to cycle which is great for cross-training and a lot of fun,” she said. “I will go to cycle and spin class with my sisters. It’s really good for your cardio and it’s also good to get away from soccer one day a week and just clear your head. And it’s not easy. It’s a good mental workout as well.”
- Prioritize your time. Beall says it’s important to get the most out of your workouts by having a plan and focusing on what you want to accomplish. Making everything you do part of a program designed to get you where you want to go. Have goals set and then focus on how you are going to accomplish them. “You have to prioritize what you want and a big part of that is setting goals,” she said. “Sometimes you have to give up things in the short-term you don’t want to do but in the long-term it’s going to help you accomplish your goals. It’s about sacrificing and doing the little things that will add up in the end.”