GREENVILLE – Greenville Lady Wave senior Maddie Shephard, the daughter of Stef and Steve Shepard signed Saturday to play college soccer for the Manchester University Lady Spartans, playing in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“It means everything,” Shepard said of signing to play college soccer. “I’ve been playing this sport since I was eight years old and I’ve always had a good support system, so it’s nice that I will be able to take it to the next level.”
“It makes me proud that we are nurturing that type of atmosphere, that they are going on and playing this sport in college,” said GHS second year Lady Wave soccer coach Jason Arnold. “As a coach you couldn’t be happier when they take that to next level.”
Shepard’s father Steve was a major influence in Maddie’s ‘support system’ having coached his daughter since she first stepped on a soccer field, including head varsity coach of the Green Wave ladies soccer team both her freshman and sophomore seasons. Maddie’s mother Stef was always supportive of her daughter’s soccer career as well.
“My dad coached me. He was my first coach and I owe everything to him. He taught me soccer and he showed me the love for the game. I’ll never be able to pay them back. They’re great,” Shepard said of her parents.
Shepard would like to help get the Lady Spartans Women’s soccer program get back to winning as the team stands at 0-13 on the 2017 season.
“Where ever they need me,” Shepard said of how she sees herself fitting in with the Lady Spartans. “In all my past years I’ve been able to play any position, so where ever I can fit in I’ll try my best to help.”
“My goal is to come in and play as a freshman,” added Shepard, “and be able to play and contribute to the team.”
Maddie’s father took time to reflect on the many days and years teaching and coaching his daughter the sport of soccer.
“There were a lot of tough moments between her and I,” noted Shepard. “I was hard on her. She always put the work in, she hung with it a lot of times when I thought maybe I had gone too far, but she still has such a passion for the sport. She was practicing in the side yard today burning off nervous energy for the game tonight. She has worked so hard and she deserves everything she gets.”
Coach Arnold had high marks for his team Captain, for her leadership both on and off the field.
“There is no one more transparent where she’s at, what she stands for, and you know what she’s all about,” stated Arnold. “It’s wonderful that she is as true a person as there is. It’s great to see her succeed.”
PHOTO CAPTION: (Front L-R) Steve Shepard (father), Maddie Shepard, Stef Shepard (mother), Morgan Shepard (brother), (Back L-R) Assistant Coach Matt Baker, Coach Jason Arnold, Assistant Coach Samantha Grim. (Gaylen Blosser photo)