Woodward awaits future as Black Knight


Image courtesy of Wesley Works.

Maximus McGrath, Sports Editor

This previously ran in our December 2022 print issue.

Maddi Woodward has played for many high-level soccer programs both locally and internationally on top of her success with the Emmaus girl’s soccer program, but this has all accumulated into a promising future both on and off the field.

Finding her way into lacing up her first pair of soccer cleats took some time as Woodward started her athletic interests in a different direction.

“I did dance at first and I absolutely hated it,” Woodward said. “So, I think that’s when I knew I wanted to play sports; soccer was the first sport I ever played and I just stuck with it ever since.”

Woodward first kicked a soccer ball at just five years old as she joined the Lower Macungie Youth Association (LMYA) soccer team for her age group. Being a dynamic player from a young age led her to rise through higher levels of the game playing for Western Lehigh and FC Steel. Woodward now plays for Match Fit Academy in Madison, New Jersey, and competes in one of the most competitive leagues in the nation, the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).

Woodward found her cemented position on the field as an attacking center midfielder which displays her skills both on and off the ball as she works through opposing defenses to score.

Junior teammate Mya Cooper has played alongside Woodward for the past two seasons. Cooper, who started as a defender for the Hornets, saw just how much Woodward’s presence on the field has evolved over the years.

“As a player, she learned how to facilitate the whole field,” Cooper said. “Being in the midfield, she had to know where everything was and she really helped out.”

Senior Paige Inman played a key role alongside Woodward in the successful season for the Emmaus girl’s soccer program, but Inman could not have done it without her teammate.

“She is always hustling and putting her all out on the field no matter what and she never gives up,” Inman said. “Off the field, she lifts other teammates up when they’re down and she is always cheering and has a positive attitude that brings a lot to the team.”

Emmaus girl’s soccer coach Sarah Oswald saw the potential that Woodward had even before she put on an Emmaus jersey. Fine-tuning the minute details that separate Woodward from the opposition took outside help and influence that she acknowledges she could not have gone without.

“Coach Oswald has been my biggest supporter ever since I came to Emmaus,” Woodward said. “I’ve had so many coaches along the way and I wouldn’t be here without them… The people in my life that have come and gone, or are still here, over the past four years have really helped me and have always supported me no matter what.”

Cooper admires many parts of Woodward’s work rate and skill on the field but acknowledges the role she played off the field was just as impactful.

“[Woodward] is always so happy when she plays,” Cooper said. “She puts all of her time and energy into it and she just makes everybody else around her happy…  I’m going to miss her bringing everybody together. In years prior, we had a lot of cliques, but we all were just a big family this year.”

Woodward battled through bumps and bruises all season long, but when rest was needed, she continued to find enjoyment while being surrounded by her teammates off the field.

  “When we were both hurt, we were on the bench together at Freedom and we got to run the Instagram account,” Cooper said. “We got to put filters on everybody even though they didn’t know it.”

Inman has been able to share the field with Woodward throughout most of her high school career, but sharing their senior year with her longtime friend made it much more special.

“Since freshman year, I’ve gotten to see how she has grown as a player and a person,” Inman said. “She became a leader on and off the field and it has made a big difference. You can rely on her for anything.”

Woodward’s senior season has been something she looked forward to, but she did not realize how fast the time would fly on Memorial Field scoring goals and collecting numerous accolades along the way.

“[Senior year] has meant everything,” Woodward said. “It was bittersweet.” 

Woodward decided to take her talents to Army West Point for the next four years. While playing, Woodward plans to major in defense and strategic studies with hopes of a future pursuing a career in the military.