Modest scorer sets career mark
Fonthill native Michelle Maecker is now the career leader in goals for the Niagara College women’s soccer team. Photos by Ryan McCullough.
Modesty is a key trait of the newest all-time leading scorer of the Niagara College women’s soccer program.
“I am honoured to be the leader, but for me it’s not really about me,” Michelle Maecker said. “It’s about my team and how they allowed me to become the leader. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The 18-year-old scored three times, including both goals in a 2-1 win over Lambton, in a pair of Niagara wins last week to give her 11 for her career that is into its second season.
“Michelle is a pure goal scorer with a rocket of a shot,” Niagara head coach Rob Lalama said. “She is a tireless worker who has a knack of scoring anywhere near the net.”
The Fonthill native didn’t take long to realize that she wanted to score goals in soccer rather than prevent them from happening.
“When I was younger I was actually a defender and I didn’t like it at all,” the E.L. Crossley graduate said. “I asked my coach to become a striker and I have developed since I was about 10 years old.”
Maecker agrees she wasn’t the only 10-year-old girl on that long ago team that didn’t want to play defence, but she obviously made the right choice.
The second-year recreation therapy student feels she has made significant strides in her game since joining the Niagara College squad.
“When I played in Pelham, it wasn’t very competitive and I wasn’t expecting to make the college team because I kind of played for fun,” she said. “Since my first year of college, I enjoyed the competitiveness because I am very competitive myself.
“My coach as encouraged me to be a stronger player by pushing me in practice and in games.”
Maecker, who played travel soccer for Pelham for most of her career before switching to Niagara United last season, had no thoughts of playing post-secondary soccer until Niagara College began scouting her while she was playing for Pelham.
“I was actually kind of surprised that I made the team,” she said.
Maecker is hoping to continue to improve as a soccer player during her time at Niagara.
“For me, it is the cardio,” she said. “Since the end of last season, I have been working out but from the beginning of preseason this year, our coach has pushed us beyond expectations with cardio.
“I’ve noticed a huge difference so far and I want to keep that progress and hopefully be able to advance on that next year.”
Career-wise, she has a goal in mind which revolves around soccer.
“Since I am in the recreational therapy program, I want to work with little children who are learning the game.”
Niagara’s women sit in second place in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association West Division with a 5-2 record and Maecker likes her team’s chances moving forward.
“Our team has definitely improved from last year,” she said. “We have added a bunch of really good rookies and as a team we are coming together better.
“We are communicating better and we know we are a good team now.
Coverage of the Niagara Knights is made possible with the support of the Niagara College Department of Athletics & Recreation. For more information, please visit www.goknights.ca.