CDS Striker Sets Her Sights on Canadian National Team
Story by Zach Lawton
Grade 9 student and centre forward for Markham Soccer Club, Madison Mariani knows what she wants out of soccer and has a plan to get there. The natural goal scorer is not coy about her ambitions. Her tough and disciplined nature has set her on a path to follow another Country Day School alumna to the Women’s National Team.
Soccer started at a very young age for Madison. Growing up the youngest of four is never easy, but imagine having three older brothers nine, eight and seven years your senior. She credits her brothers for helping her develop grit. “We would always play in the basement. Many times I would take a soccer ball right to the face. I feel those experiences made me a much tougher player.”
It didn’t take Madison long to realize she loved soccer more than any other sport. At the age of six, she told her parents she just wanted to focus solely on the beautiful game. Quickly her schedule switched to outdoor and indoor soccer, with a little bit of hockey on the side.
The rep player eventually signed for Vaughan before making a switch to Markham Soccer Club, where she plays currently. Her travels with Markham have taken her to North Carolina and more recently the renowned Disney Soccer Showcase at the ESPN Centre in Orlando where her team finished second.
These club achievements have opened the door for Madison who earned herself a spot on the Ontario provincial team last year. She is in the process of trying out for the team again this year.
Success on a provincial level does not seem to be enough for this striker. Madison also plans to follow in the footsteps of CDS alumna, Adriana Leon ’10, who currently plays for West Ham United and the Canadian Women’s National Team. “Adriana is really good and a big inspiration. She plays the same position as me but she has to play under Christine Sinclair,” Madison says with smile.
These lofty goals are met with a serious training regime. As part of The Country Day School’s High Performance Phys-Ed Program (HPPP), she works exclusively with Ms. Denise Steadman, her HPPP faculty advisor, to achieve her athletic and academic needs. “Ms. Steadman has put me on a really good path. She helps ensure that I have enough time to focus on my homework and my training.” This is important since Madison trains seven days a week.
Her CDS Soccer Coach, Ms. Geneva Winterink, is also a big influence in Madison’s young career. “She’s a really good coach, and she knows how to get the best out of me. I really enjoy working here at school with her.”
According to Coach Winterink, “While we knew about Madison’s incredible athletic ability, it was her leadership on the field that really contributed to the Junior Girls’ D1 team’s success and making the CISAA finals for the first time in five years.”
Madison is excited to continue playing at CDS in addition to her club and provincial duties. She is dedicated to her sport and doing what it takes to make it to the top. The next goals in her plan include being called up to a Canadian youth national team and playing for soccer powerhouse UCLA in the States.