Getting to Know Defender Tara McKeown

Washington Spirit  |   June 12, 2024

At 24 years old, defender Tara McKeown enters her fourth season with the Washington Spirit. Drafted with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, McKeown was a pivotal piece of the 2021 NWSL Championship-winning roster. In 2023, the natural forward made a move to centerback where she excelled instantly, leading the NWSL in clearances and being voted NWSL Player of the Week in June 2023. So far this season, McKeown is the only Spirit player to play every single available minute of the season.


What’s your favorite music genre?
Country music. I listen to Kenny Chesney, Luke Combs, Megan Maroney, and Kelsea Ballerini. I went to the Kenny Chesney concert this year, and got to see Old Dominion, Zac Brown Band, and Megan Maroney, too. I love them. Country music is just feel-good music. I used to hate it because my parents played it all the time. I grew up with country music, for sure.


Who did you look up to as a kid?
My favorite player growing up and why I wanted to play soccer in college and professionally was Mia Hamm. She was so good. I met her once at UNC when I went on an unofficial visit, and I also read her books, so her family life was pretty cool. She had to play with the boys.


Do you have pets?
I have pets at home, but not here with me. I really want a pet here. Ideally, it would be a dog, but it’s hard with our schedules. A cat might be a little easier, so I am thinking about getting one when we are in the offseason.


What is your most memorable Spirit moment?
Winning the 2021 NWSL Championship. A specific moment from that game has to be drawing the PK that tied the game. #ForwardLife


Do you have match-related superstitions?
Not really. I always have a Pedialyte on gameday. I started doing that in college since it was always so hot and I got dehydrated.


Do you have a dream car?

Probably a Range Rover. My mom car would be a Range Rover, for sure. It would be my soccer mom car.


What was your dream job?

I always wanted to go pro. I wanted to go pro since I started playing club, so maybe at like 8. In high school, I think I realized that I could play in college and then go play pro.


Who is your soccer GOAT?

[Lionel] Messi and Mia Hamm.


What’s your go-to home cooked meal?

I guess one superstition is that whenever we are home, I always make myself pasta and meat sauce, and it’s so good and I love it. I keep asking for it on road trips, too. I get turkey meat and Rao’s sauce and whip it up. I really love arrabbiata sauce – SO GOOD!


What songs gets you on the dance floor?

Mine would be a country song, and I’d go line dance. I know how to line dance a little bit. Any country song I would dance to.


What is one word to describe the team this year?

On the field: dawgs. Off the field: funny.


Who is the funniest player on the team?

Lowkey, Ouleye [Sarr] is so funny. Some people don’t get it since she is French, but I find her humor so funny. In preseason, I got really close to all our French players, so that’s when I started to see how hilarious Ouleye and Annaïg [Butel] are.

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