Gaining Lessons Last Fall with GW Women’s Soccer, PDS Grad Coyne Ready for Big Sophomore Season
KICKING OFF: Madi Coyne clears a ball in action last fall during her freshmen season on the George Washington University women’s soccer team. The former Princeton Day School star played in nine games last fall at center half for the Colonials, making three starts. She is currently going through preseason practices with GW slated to open regular season action by playing at William and Mary on August 22. (Photo provided by George Washington University)
By Bill Alden
Madi Coyne never doubted that she would end up as a college soccer player.
“I knew because of my skill level, I could play in college; it was never not an option,” said Coyne, a star defender for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team who helped the Panthers win four straight state Prep B crowns from 2014-17.
“I never thought maybe I should do this is in college, it was I am going to do this in college.”
After considering a number of Division I programs, Coyne’s choice came down to George Washington and Georgetown and she ended up opting for GW.
“I have always liked D.C. in general, we used to go down there a lot when we travel to more southern tournaments,” said Coyne, who played club soccer for the Patriot FC based in Washington Crossing, Pa.
“GW was one of the first schools that ever looked at me in 8th grade, they were one of the first that contacted my coach, there was a history there. The coaches at GW were really into me as a player and a person. It really seemed as though they cared a lot. That was really nice and flattering.”
But when Coyne arrived at GW for preseason last August, her transition to college soccer was complicated by having to bond with a new coaching staff.
“It was almost like you were thrown into a pool when you are two years old and you have to figure it out as you go,” said Coyne.
“A few weeks after we signed our letters of intent in February, we got a new coaching staff. That was a bit of a switch. It is a little different because they didn’t know me. It was tough to have to start to get to know them as soon as I got there but they are all are great people and I connect very well with them.”
On the field, Coyne quickly realized that she had to be tougher mentally and physically. “My club team didn’t push me to have to make decisions fast, I could kind of just do whatever I wanted and I could get away with it,” said Coyne.
“I didn’t have to play my top level all of the time to get by, so that was definitely an adjustment. It was also the physical demands. We had to lift three times a week, we had to practice twice a day. It was very exhausting and I found myself taking naps and I don’t usually take naps. It was crazy. I would get back to my room and I would sleep until to the next practice.”
Playing at her customary center back spot, the 6’0 Coyne appeared in nine games last fall for the Colonials, making three starts and developing a familiarity with her foes.
“Now you are playing with kids that are four years older than you and are all D-1 soccer players,” said Coyne.
“It was tough to get know the other teams. We are playing a decent amount of the same teams this year and I will know a bit more about what everybody is about.”
Coyne’s first start came in a 4-1 win over Richmond in early October.
“It was cool,” said Coyne, noting with a laugh that the PA announcer introduced her by the wrong name, confusing her with another player on the roster.
“Overall, it was good. It was a big win for us so it was a great game to play in. It was our breast cancer game, we had our pink jerseys. I had a lot of fun that day.”
In reflecting on her progress last fall, Coyne said that one of the main challenges was keeping up with the talented strikers she faced at the college level.
“I think the biggest thing for me was speed of play, now everyone that is pressuring you on offense is going 100 mph, so you have to make decisions faster, you can’t hold onto the ball long,” said Coyne.
“I could just do my thing as I wanted to when I was at club and in high school. It didn’t matter who I was playing, I could just figure it out. Now you have to pay attention, this striker is really strong, that striker is really fast.”
As she prepared for preseason practices, which started earlier this month, Coyne put in a lot of time on conditioning and skill work.
“I ran everyday, I did training sessions with my trainer, he runs a skill session for college soccer players,” said Coyne.
“I train with girls and boys from Virginia Tech, Duke, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Columbia. They are really high level sessions; it is basically to keep me sharp and in shape. I tried to go to those twice or three times a week whenever I can make them. I lifted every other day.”
Looking ahead to her sophomore campaign, which starts when GW plays at William and Mary on August 22 in its regular season opener, Coyne is hoping to make a bigger impact this fall for the Colonials.
“Like anybody, I would like to start and play the majority of the games, that would be great,” said Coyne.
“If I go in and do what I have got to do, hopefully that will work out for me.”
With GW coming off a 2018 season that it saw it go 10-8-1 overall and 6-4 Atlantic 10, Coyne is confident that the squad can do a lot better this fall.
“Last year, we had a whole new coaching staff so everybody was getting used to them so we lost some games we should have won,” said Coyne.
“This year we will have a really strong offensive line which is lovely, I love playing with good forwards. Last year our starting defensive line was a freshman, junior and two seniors. They worked very well together.”
While Coyne acknowledges that being a D-I soccer player involves a lot of work, she believes the experience is worthwhile on many levels.
“The college experience is a grind, but it is worth it,” said Coyne, who is planning to go to law school after GW.
“It helps pay the bills, you have some pride in your school, you work hard, you bond, and you have a bunch of new friends. I am really close to all of the girls in my class. People say when you go through the recruiting process that it is a second job, and it is legitimately a second job. It is a full-time job. There is so much stuff that you have to put in; it is a mental fight, it is a physical fight, it is emotional. It is hard for people to get used to but once you are in it, you are having a good time.”