“The Shortcut To Success Is Hard Work”: From The Soccer Pitch To The Plain

Reilly McGinnis


Reilly McGinnis grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with her two sisters. Her parents both worked in the family screen-printing business, as she and her siblings did, as well. Growing up, Reilly was very involved in sports, student government, and Young Life. She was recruited by West Point for the Women’s Soccer Team. Her most vivid memory of R-Day is marching in her first parade, which she has recalled while parading as the First Captain. She chose to major in Mathematics, focusing on Operations Research. She had earned a starting position on the Women’s Soccer Team when an injury sustained during practice resulted in a career-ending choice. She could continue playing and jeopardize commissioning, or she could give up soccer and allow her leg to heal properly. She chose to prioritize serving in the Army over playing soccer. During the summer between her Cow and Firstie (Junior and Senior) years, she was selected as the Commander for Cadet Leader Development Training (CLDT). When CLDT was cancelled due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, she and her team transitioned to running Cadet Leader Development, with the task of safely bringing Cadets back to the Academy from all over the country while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at West Point. After that detail, she was named First Captain and took on the challenge of leading the Corps of Cadets during the pandemic. Upon graduation, she will commission as an Engineer Officer and looks forward to leading Soldiers in Hawaii.


topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Army Athletics West Point History Women in Service COVID-19
interviewer David Siry
date 12 May 2021


name Reilly McGinnis
institution USMA
graduation year 2021
service Engineer
specialty First Captain
service dates 2021