When it comes to Hannah Morby, right defender for the Desert Hills Soccer Team, no truer words have ever been said. According to Hannah’s mother, Amy Morby, that’s exactly how Hannah is. “She will have anyone’s back, literally. On the field, off the field, even if it’s not her fight, she is a very loyal player.” Hannah’s childhood friend and fellow defender, Rylee Robinson, agrees, “You can always count on her to have your back on and off the field, because she’s that kind of person.”
Loyalty is one of two attributes that Hannah exemplifies on and off the soccer field. Always staying positive is the other. In fact, she hates negativity. “In sports, you can’t be negative because it never builds people up. Negativity only tears people down.” This attitude really helps her fellow players on the field when things are getting rough. Rylee Robinson explains, “Hannah is such a positive player. Every time we get frustrated or angry at ourselves or with each other, you always can hear Hannah from the back line keeping us positive and yelling ‘Let’s go Thunder!’” It also makes Hannah a joy to coach. Desert Hills Soccer Coach Benji Nelson explains, “Hannah is the kind of young woman that every coach loves to have on their team. She is always looking to make sure everyone is included and that there is a positive outcome no matter the results.
Hannah has played soccer since she was around 6. She mainly played as a forward until her sophomore year when Coach Benji moved her to the right defender position because of her speed. When the other team gets a break away, Coach Benji counts on Hannah to “run that player down” in order to stop her. When asked if she minds the switch, she reveals, “I do like scoring, but without a good defense, a team doesn’t win. Defense plays a huge factor even though they don’t always get the credit.” Her mom, ever a Steelers fan, explains it another way, “It’s kind of like linemen, they don’t get the glory, but their job is just as important.”
“Running a girl down” is Hannah’s favorite thing about being on defense. She’s very aggressive and loves to get the ball from her opponents. She also sees herself, and her fellow defenders, as the last option before the goalie takes over. She’s got to get the ball away or the opposing team could potentially score. “Getting scored on is the worst feeling in the world!” Hannah exclaims.
“Playing with my sister, Drew, is my favorite part about soccer because it’s like I have a best friend throughout the whole season,” proclaims Hannah, who is so proud of her sister’s accomplishments and never gets jealous. Amy adds, “It’s a mother’s dream to have both your girls love something and love being with each other.” Hannah is Drew’s biggest fan. When asked if Drew is better than her, Hannah proudly exclaims, “Heck yes, she is awesome!” Hannah’s attitude clearly shows her great loyalty and spirit.
With DH Soccer in the fall and club soccer in the spring, soccer is pretty much a year round sport for Hannah, but she also participates on the Desert Hills Track Team running the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m relay. Hannah’s speed helped clinch a 2015 State Championship Title as well as a gold medal for her 4x100m relay team; however, it also lead to her first major setback as an athlete.
Hannah had never been injured until tearing her hamstring during the 2016 track season, which left her out of the region and state championship track meets. It was hard for her to watch her fellow teammates running, but she knew that she needed to stay off of her injured leg so that she would be 100% for her senior year of soccer. She’s been doing rehab all summer long to strengthen her hamstring. “We are not a take it easy family. We rub dirt on it and get back in there and play, so it was really hard for Hannah to stay off of it,” explains her mom.
Hannah wasn’t able to play in the first game of the season mainly because Coach Benji didn’t want to take chances for a pre-season game. He wants her back strong for region games. He was impressed, however, with Hannah’s attitude. “The thing that has stood out to me most this year is that although Hannah has not been able to resume her position on the field yet, you would never guess that she wasn’t able to play and was nursing an injury. She has been the biggest cheerleader and support to every girl.”
Although Hannah loves soccer, she doesn’t want to play college sports. Instead, she’d like to focus on her other “loves.” One of those loves is singing. Hannah tried out for “The Voice” when she was sixteen. After watching her video, the producers asked her to fly to Los Angeles to audition in person. “It was a crazy experience because we had to keep everything secret,” Hannah confides. Hannah sang three songs for the executive producer, was interviewed, and even signed a contract in case she was chosen to go on the show; however, a few weeks later she got an email saying that they loved her audition and want her to return, but they hadn’t picked her for that season. She was going to audition this summer, but if she’d have been picked, it would have meant missing her senior year of soccer playing with her sister, so she’s going to try out again next summer. We wish her luck!
“The Voice” isn’t her only plan for the future. She would like to be a physical therapist that works with athletes. She plans to attend SUU, which is close enough to home that she can visit any time but still feel as though she’s out on her own. She explains, “The energy at SUU is awesome, and it’s small enough that I can be super involved as an ambassador and a leader.” The proximity will also allow her to watch Drew play soccer. After a year of school, she plans on taking a break to serve an LDS mission.
Hannah’s motto this year: “Make it count!” During her sophomore year, the Desert HIlls team made it to the state championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium. That loss was really hard for Hannah and her teammates, but it also really motivates her to get there again this year. The whole team has the drive to get back to the Rio Tinto stadium and win. They know what it feels like to lose there. Now, they want to know what it feels like to win. She wants it for her team, which includes 12 seniors, and for her younger sister, Drew, who is a sophomore. Hannah has a picture of her and the team inside the tunnel at Rio Tinto. She keeps it in her room as a reminder to stay focused and motivated. “It was so cool to play on that field, and I want to make it to Rio Tinto to play on that field with Drew so that she can know what it feels like.”
That being said, winning isn’t everything to Hannah. She feels like the unity of the team is even more important. Hannah wants to make sure that the team is like a big family this year. She wants everyone to feel needed and included. She wants the team to “have each others backs.” Coach Benji feels like “Hannah has helped the Thunder soccer team become united like family with her nurturing attitude, worrying about others, and forgetting herself. That is a true leader and team mate.” As Hannah would say:
“We aren’t just a team; we are sisters; we are a family…a Thunder Family!” • HSSI