Freshman midfielder and forward Julianna Bonner dribbles up the field on Thursday, Oct. 17, at Goodman Stadium. Bonner recorded one goal and one assist during the 2019 season. (Jake Martin/B&W Staff)

Julianna Bonner’s love for soccer fueled by sense of family

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Freshman Julianna Bonner always knew she wanted soccer to be a major part of her life, and she said she knew she couldn’t leave it behind after high school.

But it wasn’t just the physicality of the sport that attracted her to years of playing the game — she said competing with a close-knit group toward a common goal is what truly drove her passion.

Now a midfielder and forward on the Lehigh women’s soccer team, Bonner said she immediately found a family within the program.

Freshman midfielder Mattie Murphy said she was thoroughly impressed by Bonner early on. Bonner’s tenacity during every drill was admirable, and Murphy said she was impressed by her skill level and integrity as early as the first day of preseason. Murphy said Bonner’s affinity for working with other people translates to her performances on the field. 

“(Bonner) is always willing to work with you on the field,” Murphy said. “She’s always looking to do what’s best for the team and is constantly making sure she’s doing her job, not for herself, but rather to support the team.” 

Bonner said she prides herself on being a dynamic player. As a midfielder, she said she is expected to be present on all parts of the field and move to wherever the ball is. Bonner said while she revels in opportunities to take on players on the offensive end, she always remains cognizant of her defensive duties. 

During her first season as a Mountain Hawk, Bonner capitalized on a goal and an assist against Patriot League opponent Bucknell. Assistant coach Lauren Calabrese said Bonner’s celebrations made it apparent she was not only excited to have scored the goal for herself, but to have helped secure a victory for the Mountain Hawks.

“Her persona as a player mirrors her character,” Calabrese said.

Despite having only one season of Division I experience under her belt, Bonner harnesses an understanding of the complexity of the sport. She said it’s possible to be the best team, yet still lose a game, one of the reasons Bonner believes soccer is “so hard, yet so simple.”

Bonner said she recognizes the commonalities between soccer and life. She said she hopes to use what she learns from Lehigh’s coaching staff, her teammates, losses and wins to enhance her character and prepare her to achieve the goals she sets out for herself later in life. 

She also hopes to continue bonding with her teammates and getting to know them outside of the realm of soccer, as she progresses through her career as a Mountain Hawk.

After recording one goal and an assist through the 18 games of the season, Bonner said she is looking forward to improving upon her offensive skills for next season.

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