Madison Beaudry sizes up her foe on the soccer field — an opposing forward making a hard charge towards a loose ball.
Beaudry meets the forward head on and engages in a hotly contested battle. After a spirited scrum, Beaudry emerges with the ball and passes it up field and out of harm’s way.
She's not afraid to pay the price to keep opponents from scoring. This has been her bread-and-butter playing style her whole life. It sets a strong example to follow. This has not gone unnoticed and has now pushed Beaudry into the spotlight.
Entering her fourth year with the Laurentian University women's team, she has become a leader in the game of soccer. Graduation hit the team hard, particularly the defence and midfield ranks. Beaudry's teammates voted her as an assistant captain. Head coach Rob Gallo is moving her into a new position, from defence to midfield, to lead a group of rookie and sophomore players.
It's Beaudry’s time to lead.
“I believe I am ready to step into this bigger leadership role,” the 21-year-old said. “I've been lucky enough to have been surrounded by such great leaders these past three years at Laurentian and they have really been great role models for me.
Admittedly shy and timid early on, the three years Beaudry has played in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) system has been put to good use, both physically and mentally.
“I (am) a tougher individual in terms of receiving feedback and criticism from others,” she said. “My personality has evolved from someone who was quiet and soft spoken, to someone who isn't afraid to speak up and stand up.”
Not only is she unafraid to speak her mind, the university game has changed her game, too. And with that change in playing style has come a change in how she reads a game when the action heats up.
“(It's) brought out my more aggressive style of play and has certainly made me into a tougher player, which is what I've always wanted to be,” Beaudry said. “It has made me a more critical thinker when I'm on the ball and the competition is one that has challenged me and has allowed me to grow as a soccer player.”
That her teammates picked her as an assistant captain is a testament to how that tough playing style is viewed by her fellow Voyageurs. Beaudry’s approach to the game — and to her teammates — is admired, along with her genuine character.
“Maddy has earned a great amount of respect from players,” sophomore midfielder Carlee Parisotto said. “I think she earned it from being so dedicated and being at every training session, as well as effectively kicking things up a notch when everyone isn't at their best a certain day.
That opinion of Beaudry's game is not limited to players either. Gallo knows Beaudry can shine in a role designed to lead green players.
“Madison is a tenacious and smart player,” he said. “She loves a challenge, and it will be a challenge as she takes on a new position and leads some young players. She can inspire others with just her work ethic alone.”
Compliments from players and coaches are nice, but Beaudry isn’t going to change who she is because of her more high-profile role on the team. She will continue to play how she always has — and she'll let that be her example.
“I never thought about being an assistant captain too much in the past, but being voted into this position has shown me how much I want to be a leader on this team,” Beaudry said. “To know that my teammates are backing me up makes it that much better.”
The Laurentian women’s soccer team opens training camp soon and starts the 2014 season on Aug. 30 against the University of Toronto.