Maecie Ireland has been playing soccer since the fifth grade. Her playing days started with the Turlock Tornadoes where she played for four years and developed an appreciation for the sport. When junior high was over Ireland joined the Turlock Bulldogs as well as the Modesto Ajax, committing herself to a rigorous schedule for the love of the game. Now, with her high school days nearing their end, Ireland has decided to extend her dedication to the sport, signing with California State Stanislaus.
Ireland’s decision to play for the Warriors is just one of many tough decisions she’s had to make over the course of her soccer career. As a sophomore Ireland made one of the toughest and riskiest decisions, switching positions from goalie to forward. The transition required a lot of extra practice and preparation, forcing Ireland to dig deep and sharpen her focus.
“I had to focus more on my speed, my ball control, and communication. It’s been a big transition,” Ireland said. “I decided I didn’t want to play it in college, so I switched to forward. I’m really happy that I did it.”
Ireland’s next big decision was to opt out of her senior year as a Bulldog soccer player in order to dedicate more time to her Ajax traveling team. As a Bulldog Ireland played three years of varsity, helping Turlock go undefeated, win two Central California Conference titles and advance to the section quarterfinals her freshman and sophomore years. With the Ajax, ranked fourth in Northern California, Ireland said she was able to develop her skills further and prepare herself for the collegiate level.
“Soccer helped me become a leader,” Ireland said. “I missed not being out there with the team, but getting ready for college is more important than just playing in high school.”
Despite not playing for Turlock her senior year, Ireland still attracted schools such as Chico State and Azuza Pacific. After months of struggling with the decision Ireland finally chose Stanislaus for its first class soccer program.
“I liked the school specifically for the coaching,” Ireland said. “I like the environment and the way he (Stanislaus head coach Gabriel Bolton) runs the program.”
Ireland will join the Warriors in the fall. She is looking forward to joining a new team, developing a sense of camaraderie and becoming part of something bigger than she’s been associated with thus far. In addition to her athletic endeavors, Ireland plans on studying studio art and marketing.
“I just plan on getting good grades and doing well,” she said.
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.