The 13-year-old Mountain House player is off to a good start. This weekend, she and three teammates from the Livermore-based West Coast Soccer under-14 girls Wild head to the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, for the U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Olympic Development Program camp.
She had to qualify through state tryouts to get the invitation to the Idaho camp. She and Wild teammates Megan Amick and Melissa Ellis of Livermore and Sydni Lunt of Berkeley are among 18 players to make the California North team in the under-14 age bracket
“It’s difficult enough to get this far, so it’s a big accomplishment,” Madison said. “This is my first year (on the state team), so I’ve gone a long way.”
Now Madison and her teammates will compete against players from 12 states in the western U.S., with California divided into north and south zones. Over the next week, Olympic development coaches will evaluate players and make their picks for the Region IV team, which will move on to national competition.
This week, Madison is concentrating on making the most of the regional ODP experience. But she’s also ready to take the next step.
“I’ll just have fun and be relaxed and be myself,” she said. “There are a lot of good girls out there, but as long as I keep being the same player that I am and keep getting better each day and practicing, I’m pretty sure I have a chance to make it.”
Troy Dayak of Tracy, founder and director of coaching for West Coast Soccer, said his goal is to develop players for Olympic-level competition, so he’s excited any time his players are chosen for Olympic development.
Dayak played on the U.S. national team in the 1992 Olympics, and also played with the San Jose Earthquakes, including their Major League Soccer championship seasons in 2001 and 2003.
“She’s following the direct path that I followed when I was her age,” Dayak said, recalling how he was into international competition by the time he was 14 years old, thanks to ODP.
“I’m trying to carry my experience and the how-to with my players,” he added. “It’s up to them to execute what they’re learning. Some players are ready for that, physically, mentally, tactically and technically.”
Dayak said he thought Madison was ready for the ODP regional camp last year, and he recommended her for the California North tryouts. She finished as an alternate, just short of qualifying.
“Now we’re in the next season, and I’ve asked them to take another look at her, and she’s been added to the team as a full-fledged member,” Dayak said.
Madison started playing competitive soccer with the DeAnza Force in San Jose. After a year with that team, her family moved to Mountain House, and she joined Dayak’s West Coast Soccer.
Her U14 Wild most recently won the U.S. Club Soccer Western Region championship tournament in Turlock from June 23 to 26.
After ODP camp, she and her teammates head to Waukegan, Ill., to compete for the U.S. Club Soccer XI National Cup, hoping to match the accomplishment of West Coast Soccer’s under-15 Kryptonite team, which won the National Cup a year ago.