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October 16, 2013

Former Marian soccer player takes her game to the NCAA

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

Martha Stevens

There were moments during her freshman season when Eastern Michigan University’s Martha Stevens may not have been sure she wanted to continue to play soccer at the Division I level.

Stevens, who played for Bloomfield Hills Marian, was having a challenging freshman campaign with the Eagles, and the game she has played since she was young may not have seemed like such a fun one to play anymore.

But despite not getting off to the kind of start she wanted to, Stevens, who is now a junior, decided to stick it out. In the process, she may have learned a life lesson.

“A huge (lesson) I learned my freshman year is never giving up and trying your hardest,” she said. “My freshman year, I had it really hard, and I kept working at it and pushing myself. It really paid off last year and this year — played so much better and been so much happier. I never gave up and pushed myself even harder. My parents were like, ‘Push yourself through it, and you’ll realize it’s worth it.’”

Aside from just staying with soccer, Stevens, whose hometown is Bloomfield Hills, has come to enjoy the opportunity she has been given to play soccer at the NCAA Division I level.

“I’ve loved it,” she said. “I can’t imagine my life without playing it. The fact I get to play it throughout my college career is really awesome for me. It’s more than I thought it would be. It’s really helped me with a lot more besides soccer — time management and a lot of other things that go along with it.”

Eastern Michigan coach Scott Hall had an early opportunity to see what Stevens could bring to the soccer field.

“I was coaching a club team when I first met Martha Stevens,” Hall said. “I think she was probably 15-ish. I could tell she had really good soccer ability. She’s very creative; she’s very comfortable on the ball. She’s a great attacking-type player. (A) kid whose waited her time (and), in the last two years, really started to get some goals.”

Stevens credits her time at Marian for helping to prepare her to play soccer at the college level. She was a part of two state championship teams with the Mustangs and cited those experiences, along with the friendships she developed with teammates, as her favorite memories of her playing days at Marian.

Stevens would also like to leave Eastern with some championship memories.

“Win a MAC (Mid-American Conference) championship is one of my huge goals,” she said. “And get good grades; keep my GPA above 3.5, which I have been doing.”

Making it as far as the Division I level would likely be a difficult task to accomplish without a lot of support along the way, and Stevens indicated that she has gotten that from her parents, as well as Marian coach Barry Brodsky and Andy Wagstaff, who coached her at the club level.

While Stevens is majoring in biology, with a minor in chemistry, her career path after college may take her in another direction.

“My goal right now is to get into vet school — that is what my dream is,” she said. “Try and open my own veterinary clinic.”