Gateway goalkeeper Maddy Neundorfer earns spot at U.S. development program camp
Sunday, January 12, 2020 | 9:33 AM
Maddy Neundorfer didn’t know who Hope Solo or Briana Scurry was when she began to play soccer.
Long before she emulated women’s U.S. national team legends, Maddy was her older brother Bryan’s biggest fan. They were known to play soccer in the backyard, on the road and at a soccer field near their home if it wasn’t being used.
“Ever since I could walk, whatever he did I did, and he was a goalie,” Maddy Neundorfer said. “He always gave me advice, and he always stressed positivity, especially with teammates.”
The Duquesne commit will take that approach Jan. 23-28 in Tampa, Fla. at the Olympic Development Program’s National Training Camp, which will host 23 players from across the country.
With a roster spot on the line — five of the girls will be cut to form an 18-player team — Neundorfer said she will be more excited than nervous.
“Soccer is fun, whether it’s a game or an ODP camp, and this is an amazing opportunity to represent my family, my club (Century United) and Gateway,” Neundorfer said. “Every young girl that plays soccer, they want to be on the national team and play with the best in the country, and this is a stepping stone to that.”
If Neundorfer makes the team, she will represent the U.S. in international competition.
Terry Eguaoje, the technical director of ODP in Western Pennsylvania, said she is one of the best goalies he has seen in the last 20 years.
“She came into my radar three years ago, and she’s athletic, coachable and her technical and tactical skills are unique from anyone else,” Eguaoje said. “She stands out in the regional and national level as someone who we could be talking about in the next year or two as someone playing for the national team.”
Neundorfer showed promise in her freshmen year at Gateway, but spent time away from net and lettered in the field.
She took the role in stride and saw it as an opportunity to strengthen her play.
“My brother always said what sets you apart is not only technical skills, but also your footwork and being able to play with your feet,” Neundorfer said. “He always said to be a good goalkeeper you have to be the best field player. I’ve always took that (advice) with me.”
Neundorfer started the next three seasons in net and was named to the all-state team after amassing a .862 save percentage and seven shutouts in her senior season. She led the Gators to their second consecutive playoff berth.
Exceptional saves, Gateway coach Kelly Bender said, were a routine occurrence.
“Maddy is a humble and special player who was always strong for us as a player and leader,” Bender said. “She had the right attitude and had respect from her teammates, and what sticks out to me is how she kept us in every game. She always had incredible saves.”
Neundorfer hopes a few more magical moments in Tampa will be her ticket to make it onto the ODP team.
“They’re going to want to know if you, in the 90th minute, can make the save with solid hands or if you’re going to allow a rebound,” Neundorfer said. “It’s really an honor to be there since there are only three players at my position. It’s an honor to be noticed.”
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