Chelsea’s Martin commits to LSU

Published 12:20 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Maddison Martin, left, has committed to play soccer at LSU. Martin is just a sophomore this year. (Contributed)

Maddison Martin, left, has committed to play soccer at LSU. Martin is just a sophomore this year. (Contributed)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Maddison Martin, affectionately nicknamed “Goose” by parents and close friends, has committed to play college soccer at Louisiana State University. Martin may seem like an early college commit, as she has just entered her sophomore year of high school, but to hear her explain it, her commitment is par for the course in girls’ soccer.

“It (the recruiting process) starts really, really early,” Martin said. “Colleges start looking at you as soon as you’re a freshman, basically.”

Martin plays soccer year-round. She is an attacking center mid on Chelsea’s high school team, she plays defensive center mid for her club team, the Birmingham United Soccer Association, and plays center back for her Olympic Development Program, team or ODP team.

Martin got her first taste of college recruiting through club soccer. She plays club soccer with BUSA, which is a member of the Elite Clubs National League. The ECNL is a non-profit organization made up of soccer clubs all across the nation with the goal of “improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players for the U.S. soccer youth national teams through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions,” according to the ECNL website. It was at a club tournament where she first encountered college coaches.

“I remember my first ECNL game my freshman year there were college coaches watching the game,” Martin said. “I was kind of like, ‘Why are you here, I’m 14,’ it was really weird. But I didn’t get approached by anybody until the end of my freshman year.”

However, her tie to LSU actually came through ODP and not club soccer. The first coach who approached her was LSU’s coach, Brian Lee. Lee is the head coach of the ODP Region III team, which Martin played on and went to Costa Rica with. When Martin attended an LSU camp in Baton Rouge in January of her freshman year, Lee recognized her from ODP and the two began to have more conversations. Martin returned to LSU for a camp this summer, which is when Lee gave her a scholarship offer, although Martin wasn’t even aware it was happening in the moment.

“I went to another camp this summer. I never thought he would offer me (a scholarship), I just thought we were good friends,” Martin said. “We kind of talked about scholarships and whatnot, and I didn’t think he was offering me, so I kind of missed it at first. Then he was like, ‘So how would you feel about coming to LSU?’ and went over a bunch of numbers, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is for me.’”

Martin called Lee on Sept. 8 to tell him she was committing to play college soccer in Baton Rouge, and is excited about what her future holds.

“I already have a good relationship with the coach and met a bunch of the players on my last visit,” she said. “They’ll be seniors when I get there, so it will be nice to get down there and know people.”