No one can question Amanda Buck’s commitment. The Long Island Rough Riders defender pushed back starting a new job this summer so it wouldn’t conflict with the team’s schedule. She also made sure she didn’t miss an away game in Pennsylvania the day after a wedding more than four hours away.
Buck played in all 11 games this season, logging a team-high 810 minutes during the regular season (10 games). A constant figure at left and right back, Buck even filled in at center back when her team needed her.
For these contributions and more, Amanda Buck is the Long Island Rough Riders 2019 Women’s Player of the Year.
“When it’s soccer season, it’s all about soccer season and soccer comes first,” Buck said. “Soccer has been my happiness since I was 4 years old. All my cousins played Division I soccer, too, so it runs in my family. Soccer is a big part of my life; my family never wants me to stop playing.”
Buck joined the Rough Riders midway through the 2018 season once she completed her physician’s assistant certification. She missed one game that campaign while on vacation celebrating her achievement after five years of schooling and studying, but has been a continuous presence since.
After working in the intensive care unit (ICU) for three months at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Islip, N.Y., Buck decided the ICU wasn’t for her and wanted to transition to the emergency room. Rather than making the change mid-season, Buck waited until July 15 after the East Conference semifinals.
She again showed how soccer came first during the season, trekking the 4+ hours from a wedding in Northport, N.Y., to a match in Lancaster, Pa., the following day rather than saying she couldn’t make it due to a conflict.
“I’d rather be at a soccer game than hungover or drinking,” she said. “I’d take soccer over any party. I went to the wedding, didn’t drink and showed up for my team the day after. We were short numbers that day and I couldn’t let my team down like that.”
Buck played 48 games (38 starts) during her collegiate playing days at Wagner College, helping the Seahawks qualify for the Northeast Conference tournament her freshman year (2013) for the first time since 1997.
Typically a right back, the right-footed Buck was asked to fill in on the left side of defense on occasion this summer for the Rough Riders, who went 5-6-0. She also moved to the middle of the back line when needed and even found the back of the net in the 6-0 win against the Worcester Smiles on June 5.
“Amanda played every game and barely missed a practice session,” head coach Karim Diallo said. “She defended very well and gave us some offense when we needed it as well. She’s the kind of player coaches dream of having on their team because of her work ethic. She’s a great teammate as well.”
Even though the Rough Riders qualified for the postseason — thanks to a 3-1 win against Syracuse DA in the regular-season finale on July 6 — Buck is committed to more improvement not only individually, but as a team in 2020.
“The girls on this team are awesome,” she said. “This isn’t college soccer where everyone gets scholarships to be there. These girls truly love the game and want to be there. That’s why this team is so special and that’s what makes it more fun because we’re playing the game we love day in and day out.
“We always have the talent, everyone just needs to be there.”
One thing’s for sure: Amanda Buck will be.
BY: Michael LoRé