Soccer has always played a huge role in Marcos Maldacena’s ‘21 life. Since his first Lawrenceville soccer practice as a Second Former, he has brought his passion for soccer to the team each day. As a Fifth Former, Maldacena’s positive attitude radiates into the team, even while they face COVID-related obstacles.
Ashley Cohen: How did you first get involved with soccer?
Marcos Maldacena: I first started playing recreational soccer when I was about five years old. My grandpa is from Argentina and played soccer when he was younger. He is still a huge soccer fan today, so he introduced me to the sport! As I got older, I switched from recreational soccer and joined a club team. I played for the Princeton Football Club until sixth grade and joined the Princeton Soccer Association in seventh grade. When I got to Lawrenceville, I knew I wanted to continue the sport.
AC: What is your favorite part about soccer?
MM: I like that soccer is both an individual sport, since you have to improve yourself, and a team sport because our team works together toward a common goal. Our personal improvements make the team better as a whole.
AC: What position do you play, and how is it unique?
MM: I play center midfield. I love it because there is a lot of running, and I am always focused on the game, whether I’m defensive or offensive in that moment. Center midfielder requires a lot of thinking, from figuring out the right pass to getting in the best position possible.
AC: Do you play any other sports on campus? Is there any crossover between soccer and your other sports?
MM: I am also a tennis player! I find that I use the stamina I gain from running in soccer to tennis. The sports are mentally similar as well -- they require a lot of focus during games, high energy throughout the highs and lows, and being able to bounce back when you’re not playing as well as you’d like to.
AC: How do you balance your schoolwork with athletics? Do you have any advice for other student-athletes?
MM: From rigorous academic and athletic schedules, I feel that I’ve learned how to stay organized and manage my time, especially during my Fourth and Fifth Form years. For other student-athletes, I’d suggest getting work done during free moments of the day to get ahead and stay on top of schoolwork. That was always important when we had games after school.
AC: Do any games or tournaments stand out to you? If so, why?
MM: One of our most exciting games was an under-the-lights game against the Hun School last year. It was our last game of the season. We knew the Hun School would be a tough opponent, but we persisted and played some of the best soccer we had played all season. We ended up winning by a few goals!
AC: What is your favorite Lawrenceville soccer tradition?
MM: My favorite tradition is our “psychs” on home game days, when we all wear suits to class. It’s a fun way to mentally prepare us during the day for our game after school.
AC: What is the biggest lesson soccer has taught you, on or off of the field?
MM: Soccer has taught me to never give up. It can be easy to get down when you’re losing during a game, but it’s important that you don’t get wrapped up in that headspace. I’ve learned to stay in the game, and goal by goal, improve myself and the team.
AC: How is the team adjusting with COVID-19? As a team leader, how are you trying to make this year feel as normal as possible?
MM: We don’t have any real games this year, which is a bit disappointing, but we have a lot of fun practice games. The team is still taking practice seriously, especially during our intrasquad scrimmages. It’s also great to be helping the underclassmen improve; I’m excited to see how the team grows in the future! Being out on the field with the team again makes it worth it, even with all of our COVID changes.
For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at email@example.com.