SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Julia Masucci laced up a pair of cleats for the first time when she was four. Her first soccer team was the Spotswood Recreation Department's Blue Dragons. When she graduates in June, Masucci will be playing for another team with dragons in their name next fall. Masucci has committed to take her goalkeeping skills to SUNY Cortland where she will play soccer for the Red Dragons.

Masucci made the Spotswood High School girls varsity soccer team as a freshman and immediately found her place as the Chargers' starting goalkeeper. Last season, she backstopped the Chargers to a 14-2-2 season. Masucci was in goal for Spotswood's 12-game unbeaten streak to start the 2019-20 season. Her 12 shutouts and 174 save season earned her All-Conference and All-Blue Division honors.

Unlike some players that hate stepping in between the pipes. Masucci was drawn to the goal because she likes "saving the game." Her earliest soccer memory dates back to when she was nine.

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"I was kicked in the head while making a save," Masucci said. "I had a concussion and was out of school for a week."

Masucci was an early commit to the Red Dragons and is one of three players on the Chargers' current roster committed to taking their soccer skills to the collegiate level. The Spotswood native had several colleges interested in her. Kean University was her second choice, but Masucci is thrilled with her decision to head to New York to play for SUNY Cortland.

"I am excited to be able to continue my love of soccer for another four years at the college level," Masucci said. "They SUNY Cortland Red Dragons seemed very close-knit. The coach is easy to talk to and was very supportive and concerned about things that matter to me."

Masucci plans on majoring in physical education and is looking forward to pushing herself, "competing every day, having a chance to better herself and gaining responsibility while being a student/athlete in college."

Senior year is not quite what Masucci had in mind. The coronavirus pandemic had changed the landscape of pretty much everything including her final season in blue and gold. However, even though the 2020-21 girls soccer season is shortened, Masucci is happy to be back on the field with her teammates and friends, many of whom she has played with for the past 13 years.

"I like the great connection and interaction with my teammates," Masucci said of her time on the Chargers girls varsity soccer team.

Spotswood High School head girls varsity soccer coach Michael Reid has coached Masucci for the last four years.

"She has brought a lot of experience and organizational skills to the goalkeeper position for our program," Reid said. "She is one of the most competitive players in the program and it shows in practice and in games. Julia also does a lot of on field training with the team in practice, giving her the ability to play in the field."

"She is one of the best goalkeepers I've seen in the area recently with her ability to distribute the ball out the back with accurate passes with both feet," Reid added. "Julia set the single season shutout record for our school last season with 12 shutouts. We are looking forward to her continuing her dominant play in goal and providing great leadership on and off the field for the rest of her senior year."

The Chargers are off to a 3-1-1 start for the 2020-21 season. Masucci has two shutouts in the books already and serves as one of the team's captains. The senior is also a member of the Spotswood High School girls varsity basketball team. Masucci plays travel soccer for the Jersey Shore Boca's Fusion U18 team.

"Besides her goalkeeper abilities improving every year, I have seen Julia develop more vocally on the field and being a leader," Reid said. "We are very fortunate to have three outstanding captains with starting varsity experience since their freshmen years with her being one of them. She has the drive to be a great goalkeeper and that has helped her succeed in high school and will continue to college soccer when she plays at SUNY Cortland."