Gateway goalie Neundorfer survives rigorous tryout for showcase
Friday, August 2, 2019 | 6:32 PM
Maddy Neundorfer traveled to Germany in April as part of a U.S. Olympic Development Program team.
The trip, she said, was an on-field and off-field success. The team went 3-0 in game action and gave up no goals in the trio of contests.
“It was great to not only experience a new culture but to also play well against some really good teams,” Neundorfer said. “It was great to see different playing styles, and it taught me a lot about the game.”
The 17-year-old Monroeville resident and rising senior on the Gateway girls soccer team is one of the top-rated goalkeepers in the country, and she has begun a process that she hopes will lead her to another international opportunity next spring.
As she looks forward to the start of her senior season with her Gateway teammates, Neundorfer is looking forward to another trip to Boca Raton, Fla., for a national ODP showcase the weekend before Thanksgiving.
The Duquesne verbal commit is one of 18 players in the combined 2002/2003 age group to be selected from the United States Youth Soccer Region 1 identification camp last month at Rider in New Jersey.
“The process (at the ID camp) is very rigorous,” Neundorfer said. “You learn a lot about yourself. There were about 30 goalies there, so every day you are competing against some great players. I had to be at my best. I had to worry about what I could do and not about what everyone else was doing.”
Region 1 features state associations from Maine to Virginia. Select players were invited to the identification camp, and from there, the top 30 to 40 were selected to an ID pool.
From that ID pool, the 18-player Region 1 roster for Boca Raton is formed.
Four goalies were selected to the ID pool, and Neundorfer is one of two on the Boca Raton roster.
“I’ve been working hard all year, and it felt great to be selected and get back to the place I was last year,” she said.
Neundorfer and the rest of the Region 1 team will have matches in Boca Raton against the three other regions in the ODP program.
Hundreds of college coaches and scouts will be on hand.
At Boca Raton, the regional staffs and the ODP Scouting Network will evaluate players and select a group of 30 to receive an invitation to the USYS National ODP Training Camp on Jan. 23-28 in Tampa, Fla.
From there, a team of 18 will be formed to represent the U.S. in international competition.
Neundorfer traveled to Costa Rica with a 16U team in March 2018 and took on squads that included players ages 20 and older and professionals who had played on the Costa Rican women’s national team.
A couple of weeks before the USYS regional ID camp, Neundorfer capped her Century V United 17U (2002) club season with play at the U.S. Youth Soccer Eastern Regional.
Representing PA West, Century V found it tough sledding as it went 0-2-1 in pool play. But Neundorfer said she had fun taking the field with her teammates for one final tournament.
Neundorfer’s goalkeeper coach with Century V United, Sasa Miskovic, said he is impressed with her continued growth in the sport.
“She is never truly satisfied with where she is, and she’s always working harder to get better,” Miskovic said. “She has become more mature in the game, from her communication to commanding her space in front of the net. She’s also improved her overall technique, from handling the ball, her range and coming off the line. She’s always ready to take that next step.”
Official preseason practices for high school fall sports in the WPIAL begin Monday. Neundorfer said she is looking forward to helping Gateway return to the WPIAL playoffs in Section 1 of 3A.
The Gators finished last season 7-10-2 and battled No. 2 Oakland Catholic before falling 2-0 to the Eagles in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
Oakland Catholic went on to claim the WPIAL title and advance to the PIAA semifinals.
Neundorfer allowed one or zero goals 12 times, including five shutouts, and picked up All-WPIAL honors.
“I am really excited for the season,” Neundorfer said. “We’ve been improving every year, and this year, we are as close as we’ve ever been. It will be a great feeling to get out there and start competing.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .