Thursday, April 24, 2008

Maddie Smith gets her 15 minutes

Smith ready to face the challenge

From today's Marianas Variety-
SAIPAN International School Lady Geckos center female cager, Madison Smith is not only ready but also excited to face the challenge of managing her time and stamina for the two sports she loves.

Smith a key player of Lady Geckos who contributed most to their wins in the Coalition of Private Schools Sports Association Basketball Tournament is among the six picks in the CNMI Women’s National Football Team draft that will compete with the visiting team from Guam in the second Annual Marianas Cup at the Gilbert C. Ada field at 3 p.m., this Saturday.

The 15-year-old cager said she and Zoe Jewell, her team mate in the basketball team accepted the offer when joining the football national team was brought up to them weeks ago.

In an interview following the basketball game where they defeated the Lady Eagles on Tuesday, Smith said she knows she is going to have tough schedule these following days since the NMI women’s football team is eager to take on Guam’s best.

She and five other picks have started practicing with the veterans and she has already figured out the first time she tried, “I can do it.”

Managing her time for studies, for the basketball games which she usually carried along with Melissa Halaby, and now the preparation for football game, Smith could only laugh and say, “It’s crazy,” but she thinks she has enough energy to accomplish all those things.

The other new bloods that will join the national team are Marianas High School’s Elisa Fejeran, Mariana Gramlich, and Rima Halaby, Saipan International School’s Zoe Jewell and Grace Christian Academy’s Ashley Hofschneider.

Just like the basketball, Smith really enjoys playing football as well.

“The older players (in football) are always willing to help and teach us. It makes it easier to learn the game,” she said, adding that she plans to attend the try-out game for the national team again next year.

Fourteen-year-old Jewell is the only student who was also on the women’s team last year.

Women’s Committee Director Francine Sablan said the girls got involved in playing soccer only through participation in the recreational women’s league until the veteran members saw their potential and invited them to attend a try-out for the national team.

Patricia Coleman, a veteran player who feels having these young girls on the team has helped add a new dimension to the team said, “As skilled as [the young girls] are now, if they continue with the team, in just a few years, they will be able to take the team to a higher level.”

Sablan who looks to the young girls for motivation during practice said that during practice, he observed that the energy and youthful enthusiasm of the girls were contagious.

“During a long, hard practice, I see the high school girls working just as hard as I am, but I see them smiling and enjoying themselves. They remind that I’m playing this sport because it’s fun,” she said.

The girls she added showed maturity when it gets down to business on the pitch.

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