Peninsula High School standout soccer player Madison Grande has made her college decision: She’ll be continuing her academic and soccer career at Division II Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. on a full-ride scholarship.
“The first time I walked onto campus, it felt like a place where I belong,” Grande said.
Concordia competes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference along with Central Washington, Seattle Pacific, Saint Martin’s and others. It is currently the No. 10 ranked team in Division II women’s soccer. The Cavaliers won the NAIA national championship in 2013 and transitioned to NCAA Division II in 2015.
The Cavaliers are coached by Grant Landy, who is in his 22nd season at the school. He has recorded a combined 367-74-32 record during his tenure.
Going to a program with a strong winning tradition was a crucial factor in Grande’s decision.
“Being able to be a part of that will be awesome,” she said.
Grande, an attacking midfielder for the Seahawks, was also talking with Seattle Pacific, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Western Oregon. The draw of being able to come in play as a freshman was another factor in the decision.
“That was super important,” Grande said. “I didn’t want to sit around in practice at some Division I school. I wanted to be able to come in and play and contribute.”
That isn’t to say she’ll be handed a starting spot.
“I definitely have to work for it and prove that I deserve to be playing,” Grande said. “I have to come in a fight for it.”
Concordia will have to replace much of its senior class next year, which should give Grande an opportunity to compete for immediate playing time. Grande, who plays for Washington Premiere ECNL, said she believes she’ll be a good fit for Concordia’s style of play.
“They pass it around, they’re quick, attacking,” Grande said. “It fits my style. They play through the middle a lot. They have the ball a lot, create a lot of space.”
Landy and the coaching staff told Grande they liked her ability on the ball.
“They liked that I was very possessive-minded,” she said. “And my speed. They liked that I run track, also. I’m calm on the ball, don’t panic, have good through balls and vision.”
Grande said she liked the intimate feel of the private-school campus and the way the entire university supports the soccer program.
“It’s a big sport there, everyone comes out and watches,” she said.
And she’ll have the chance to compete against one of current high school teammates at the next level, also. Goalkeeper Ali Campigotto committed to Saint Martin’s recently. The Saints also compete in the GNAC.
“She’s my best friend so it’ll be super cool to play against her,” Grande said.