Helping hold the team’s defense to a very high standard, senior captain defensive back Gabbi McArtor brings a top of the line work ethic every time she steps onto the field. An elementary education major, McArtor hopes to transfer her leadership skills from the soccer field into the classroom. McArtor was just recently offered and accepted a future internship, an opportunity that is well deserved and something that she will take full advantage of after graduating from Illinois State.

Growing up in Palatine, McArtor was raised to play soccer by her mother and father. Starting at just five years old, she began with local recreational leagues. As years went by, McArtor realized she had a growing passion.

“When I was about 10 years old, I was playing and all of a sudden I realized I was becoming coordinated, more athletic,” McArtor said. “I started to do things with the ball that I was never able to do before. At that point I knew that I loved soccer and wanted to pursue it for as long as I could.”

Around junior high school, McArtor joined a club team considered to be one of top in the nation, Eclipse Select. Throughout high school, she travelled around the country with Eclipse. She was part of a team that won seven state cup championships along with a U-16 national championship. Along with club soccer, McArtor also played her senior year for Palatine High School, leading her team to a regional championship. Since the very beginning, McArtor has always had the leadership to help bring her team to victory.

McArtor has always been one of the shorter players on every team that she has been on. However, height has never been a factor as McArtor uses her hustle and agility to make up for the height differential. Standing at just 5-foot-1, she is the shortest player listed on the Redbird roster. McArtor uses this as an advantage when she takes on her opponents.

“I try to never really look at it that way, I just try to tell myself my ability makes up for everything else,” McArtor said. “My speed is what makes me who I am; I think it actually goes hand-in-hand with me being shorter. I like the challenge. It goes right along with being a captain.”

Heart over height, McArtor truly brings the best work ethic every time she steps onto the field. McArtor is not a record breaker; she does not have the personal accolades compared to teammates Aryn Newsom and Rachel Tejada. But Gabbi McArtor is a big part of ISU’s success on and off the field.

“It’s not all about the personal awards,” McArtor said. “Yeah, it’s nice to be recognized, but that’s not what it’s all about. I can’t control accolades, that’s not the most important thing to me. I just want to be a role model to my teammates. I try to keep the team’s spirits the highest they can be.”

Head coach Drew Roff holds McArtor to very high expectations every time she laces up to lead her team.

“We require Gabbi to cover a ton of ground. We expect her to defend 1v1, along with getting on the attack,” Roff said. “She makes sprint after sprint; she’s tireless. Gabbi is tremendous and she’s always sharp. When she’s sharp she gives us a whole other dimension. She really is a team leader.”

McArtor helped lead ISU to a 1-0 conference victory over Evansville, Saturday afternoon at Arad McCutchan Stadium in Evansville, Ind. McArtor’s aggressiveness led the way for the Redbirds’ defense holding Evansville to just eight shots. McArtor also flowed well on the offensive side of the ball, assisting Kelli Zickert for the lone goal of the game. McArtor, along with goalkeeper Newsom led the way for the team’s fifth shutout of the season. Newsom made two saves in goal.

“Our defense was outstanding; we didn’t give them a lot of chances” Roff said. “Gabbi plays with a huge heart. She always brings the best work ethic to the table. When it’s a conference game I think we all step up even more.”

Graduating in Spring 2015, McArtor has already begun to look into her future as an educator. Last Friday, she applied for a teaching internship back home in Palatine. Not even a week later, McArtor was informed that she was accepted into the position. In just a few months she will find herself in familiar ground back in her hometown, this time as a full time teacher and not a student. Her selflessness as a player on the soccer field has helped her grow as a person throughout her career here at ISU.

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