CLINTON –– To grasp Madalyn Freitas, it helps to return.
Earlier than her transcendent junior and senior seasons at Clinton. Earlier than an astonishing freshman marketing campaign at Tecumseh.
Method, approach again to her first reminiscences of enjoying soccer after selecting it up at 4 years outdated.
“From a younger age, I simply scored,” Freitas stated. “That is simply what I actually, actually preferred about the entire recreation. I’ve at all times been a ahead principally my entire life, simply making an attempt to attain.”
That drive-and the innate expertise to pursue it-paved the way in which for Freitas to be named the 2022 Lenawee County Ladies Soccer Participant of the Yr, as chosen by The Day by day Telegram’s workers. It is her third-straight Participant of the Yr honor after successful it annually there was a season in her prep profession.
Freitas earned All-County and All-LCAA honors whereas main the Redwolves to a 17-2 marketing campaign ending within the district remaining with a 6-3 loss to Milan. After netting 70 objectives to interrupt her personal single-season county scoring report for the third time, she’s fifth-all time in MHSAA historical past with 195 whole.
It is a becoming conclusion to a profession marked by shattered information, a faculty switch and a popularity that can ceaselessly precede her as she strikes on to play at Spring Arbor College.
It is also a profession properly value revisiting, from its bold begin at Tecumseh, rollicking end at Clinton and all the pieces in between.
‘What can we do to cease her?’
Nowadays, Thomas Goodman coaches women soccer and eSports at Finlandia College in Hancock. But it surely wasn’t way back he was main Tecumseh women soccer up the ladder in a brutal SEC White.
Nor was it alongside in the past when he noticed Freitas play for the primary time.
“We had her at our follow at Tecumseh,” he stated of a summer time session heading into Freitas’ freshman yr. “My assistant coach (present Tecumseh head coach Matt Twiss) was in objective. The primary ball got here close to the field and Maddy headed a screamer.”
It slipped previous Twiss to the highest nook of the web for a objective. Goodman’s thoughts began racing.
“I am like ‘oh, she’s good.’ She’s dominating proper from scratch and I knew she was gonna break information.”
Freitas did greater than show her coach proper, exploding onto the scene with 62 objectives to guide the county, her group in assists and earn her first participant of the yr award with honorable point out All-State honors in addition.
All whereas driving opposing defenses mad.
“She actually dribbled previous (an) total group 3 times in a row and scored three objectives,” Goodman stated of considered one of Freitas’ early video games. “I bear in mind their defender screaming on the coach ‘what can we do to cease her?’ I used to be simply laughing-because I would not know both.”
Breakout stars weren’t a international idea to Goodman. In any case, Tecumseh’s Samantha Moodt gained participant of the yr solely the yr earlier than Freitas.
However as Goodman attested, there was one thing inherently totally different about Freitas. The possibility-taking, energy on the ball, and uncommon aggressiveness within the field screamed of a borderline indescribable expertise.
“She has that ‘it’ issue,” he stated whereas evaluating her to Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Famer Abby Wambach. “I can not actually clarify it. You see her play, it is like ‘properly, she’s obtained it.’”
Freitas admitted to a clouded reminiscence relating to her freshman season. One of many issues she does bear in mind, although? The pure shock of all of it.
“I believed I would be fortunate if I had like 20 objectives within the season,” she stated. “I had no concept that I might have scored that many. I used to be actually actually shocked.”
Tecumseh’s season got here to an in depth and Freitas appeared forward to 2020, the place a loaded Tecumseh squad had a strong alternative to determine themselves towards typical SEC White powerhouses like Chelsea, Dexter and Pinckney.
However the likelihood by no means got here. COVID-19 canceled the 2020 season, leaving one of many nice what-could-have-beens in Tecumseh’s historical past to linger within the background ceaselessly.
“We might have gained districts and gone actually far in states,” Goodman stated. “However COVID got here, everybody moved out, I moved to Finlandia and like that, the entire group modified.”
And like that, a brand new door opened for Freitas.
‘I felt at residence’
Freitas admitted Clinton was the one touchdown spot she ever thought-about following her determination to switch from Tecumseh. In any case, COVID-19 granted her the possibility to play instantly with out sitting out a yr and Clinton was the place the vast majority of her childhood pals moved to after ending center college.
None of this was recognized to Clinton head coach Marla Erickson.
“Excessive goalscorer like that, that title earlier than it involves you,” she stated. “It was a shock that she came visiting to me. I did not anticipate it.”
Like Goodman earlier than her, it did not take lengthy for Erickson to select up on the expertise at hand.
“She will do quite a lot of unbelievable issues,” she stated. “Simply the way in which she shoots, the way in which she reads the goalie, the way in which she pulls proper or pulls left. She will not be one-dimensional. Her scoring talents come from throughout.
“She’s obtained that drive for goal-that will not go anyplace,” she stated. “However she has the flexibility to play any place, and she is going to do it properly.”
Nonetheless, there have been changes to be made. Clinton was removed from a slouching group earlier than Freitas arrived and so, a brand new rhythm needed to be established on the pitch.
“The factor that we labored on together with her was simply making connections with different folks on the group and being trusting of who you’ve got obtained,” Erickson stated. “The women figuring out what she will be able to do and trusting her.”
If Freitas admitted to shock following her freshman season, the anxiousness introduced by becoming in on the pitch and on a distinct stage of the sport outlined the early going of her junior season.
“It was nerve wracking,” Freitas stated. “However I knew quite a lot of the ladies coming in. And quite a lot of the ladies had been fairly welcoming-the ones I did not know.”
Freitas ultimately racked up her second-straight participant of the tear award as a junior with 63 objectives to beat her outdated report by a objective and lead the Redwolves to a 12-3 report. Extra importantly, she lastly discovered the pure match that had eluded her on the pitch.
“I felt at residence” she stated. “The surroundings and the ladies on the group had been actually welcoming.”
“I am not holding observe”
Heading into this season, Freitas was in lockstep with Erickson and her teammates about what they needed to perform as a group.
“We felt like this was the one yr we had a very, actually strong likelihood to win (a district championship),” Freitas stated.
She admitted she was finished chasing objectives merely for the sake of bolstering her profession numbers. Weathering the strain the duty introduced merely did not imply as a lot to her as having fun with her senior yr.
“She stated, ‘I wish to play soccer and I wish to have enjoyable this yr,'” Erickson stated. “’I am not holding observe (of objectives scored).’”
As an alternative, Freitas took a eager concentrate on main the group as a captain after working to settle in solely the yr earlier than.
“I felt like I had a drive to work exhausting for different folks, not simply myself,” Freitas stated. “I used to be actually enthusiastic about that.”
With the strain off and her teammates behind her, Freitas scored 70 objectives in her senior season to interrupt her personal single-season report for the ultimate time, one final triumph in a profession stuffed with them.
All whereas serving to the very finish in a management function she coveted.
“(Earlier than) our remaining recreation we performed at Milan, we had a gathering to speak about some issues,” Erickson stated. “After which after we obtained there, (Freitas) was like ‘I’ve a speech ready.’ She took the group and I simply stepped again and let her do her factor.”
Whether or not Freitas will return to holding observe at Spring Arbor is undetermined. However as she strikes on to the subsequent stage of her enjoying profession, the philosophy that is guided her by way of her prep profession will stay.
“I would take a win over the objectives I had,” she stated. “I believe that is what everybody desires on a group. That is a very powerful half for me. Not essentially the variety of objectives I get.”
This text initially appeared on The Day by day Telegram: Freitas Wins Lenawee County Ladies Soccer Poty