Maddy Hines is the type of player who will do whatever needs to be done for her team to win, according to Woodmore girls soccer coach Jason Allen.
“She’s willing to do what’s necessary to make the team better,” Allen said of his sophomore center midfielder, whose intangibles have contributed to Woodmore’s success this season even more than her four goals and seven assists.
The 5-foot-4 Hines, who said she is “a very competitive person,” said her mother, Julie, gives her a pep talk before every game.
“She always tells me, ‘Play with fire,’ ” Hines said. “Sometimes she will text it to me to make sure she says it. She’ll even yell ‘Fire!’ during our games. Our whole team has grown to know what that means. It does motivate me. She’ll say, ‘Play with fire’ or ‘Play like the little girl who used to run all over the field.’ It just brings out my competitive nature.”
Last week, the Wildcats earned the first girls conference soccer title in school history, clinching the Northern Buckeye Conference championship with a win over Lake.
“That was a very big deal,” Hines said. “We’ve come together a lot as a team and there’s a lot of positive atmosphere. Everyone works with everyone. I’ve never played on a team where everyone works so well together. Winning the NBC was icing on the cake to a great year. We really worked for it.”
On Monday the Wildcats (9-0 NBC) blanked Van Buren 6-0 to improve to 13-1 on the season, tying the school single-season mark for victories set in 2010. They broke that tie on Wednesday with an 8-0 rout of Ottawa Hills. Woodmore’s regular season ended Thursday at home against Genoa.
Hines said she fell in love with soccer at a very early age, because of the team-first aspect. She said she recognized that every player on the field had to work together to reach a common goal.
Allen said what makes Hines such a dominant midfielder is her ability to “read the field.”
“The center midfield is the most important key to controlling the game,” Allen said. “She has great field vision and can anticipate what the other team is going to do. She sets the pace of our offense. Depending on how quick she wins the ball is how fast our counter attack is going to be.”
Hines doesn’t do it alone. She and fellow center midfielder Leah Henry (6 goals, 5 assists) have become a lethal combination for opposing teams.
“They became really good friends this year and they hang out a lot,” Allen said. “Probably 4-5 games into the season they were feeding off each other and had an idea what the other was going to be doing.”
Hines said, “Me and Leah have gotten a lot closer this year. We have a secret handshake we do before a game. We just say, ‘Do good. Let’s pick it up.’ We pump each other up. I love playing in the middle with Leah because I know if I mess up, she’s there to save me and I try to do the same for her.”
Despite being a sophomore, Hines was named a team captain this season using the team’s vote and a system devised by Allen, who said Hines was one of the squad’s top four vote-getters.
“Her leadership on the field and off the field, plus with her soccer skill, makes her a captain,” Allen said. “She has the attention of the team. The team will talk to her and listen to her if they have problems.”
Hines said she felt “very excited” when she learned she was named a captain.
“For the past 11 years I’ve always worked so hard, and it was like a trophy to me,” she said. “It was like, finally all my hard work paid off. It was like a reward. I was very surprised. I think I’ve handled it well. Everyone has room for improvement and ways they can be a better leader. I think I’ve done well on the field and off the field.”
One thing Hines has going for her is her ability to adapt to different styles of play. No one would call her slow, and she isn’t the type of person to curl up in a ball when things get rough.
“I have had people say I’m fast,” she said. “I do play pretty physical, but it’s not necessarily because I want to. That’s the way people play toward me. If somebody comes at me throwing elbows, I’m not going to throw elbows but I’ll use my weight and my hips to get into them. I’m not going to back down. You have to stand your ground and be a force to be reckoned with on the field.”
Woodmore soccer player Maddy Hines. (Press photo by Dean Utendorf/WoodmorePhotos.com)