Maddie Young came into her first season just hoping to get consistent playing time for Ohio.
The Bobcats came into 2019 with an established core of offensive talent that held high expectations. Young, a freshman forward, was unsure about her ability to contribute toward those expectations.
She did get playing time coming off the bench to start off the season and during that time she reached a career milestone.
In the Aug. 30 match against Cleveland State, Young received a beautiful cross from sophomore Abby Townsend, poked the ball past the Vikings’ goalie and scored her first collegiate goal.
Young ran into the open arms of senior Alivia Milesky before she was surrounded by her teammates in celebration.
She continued to be an important offensive piece for Ohio coming off the bench until she got the starting nod on Sept. 13. against Robert Morris.
Young didn’t even think that being a starter was going to be a role for her. After all, the Bobcats still had their core in tact, nothing was going wrong. In fact, things couldn’t have been better for the team with their best start in program history.
So when coach Aaron Rodgers approached her about becoming a starter, Young felt some nerves about being put in such a big role so soon in her career. But he emphasized to her to keep it simple and focus on the game.
“He told me to just go out there and play soccer,” Young said. “He definitely helped me with my confidence.”
Not only has Young earned a starting spot for Ohio, but she has further strengthened offensive role on a team with an abundance of talent. She currently is second on the Bobcats this season in both goals scored and assists. Young’s output as a freshman so far has blown away her initial expectations for her first season.
She continues to grow into her role within the team as the season progresses, but signs of being a freshman still show and growing pains are unavoidable. Something she had to pick up fairly quickly was working on the minor details of her game that weren’t as noticeable during her high school career.
“The faster play and the quick transitions of the game can always catch people off guard,” she said.
For Young, improving on noticing those details comes in practice. The work she's put in with her teammates and Rodgers has been essential in making her transition from high school to the collegiate level as smooth as possible.
A teammate she’s leaned on junior Paige Knorr both on and off the field. Young has known Knorr since childhood. Along with answering Young’s “silly questions” about college life, Knorr has helped Young get used to the speed and physicality of college play.
Young has already had a strong start to her Ohio career and she won’t allow her early success to lead to complacency. She got her starting spot by proving she was ready for the opportunity, and she plans on approaching the rest of her career with that same mentality.
“Next year, I’m going to come out here like I’ve never played on this field and work as hard as I can.”
If she continues to play like she has this season, Young won’t have to worry about getting consistent playing time.