Photo/James Pugh

Madison Diers is quite pleased with her senior year so far. Off, and on the field, the senior soccer standout has had an experience better than she could have imagined. 

“It’s been really good so far,” said Diers as she talked about her senior year to this point. “I’ve never been in homecoming before, and I got in it [this year]. I was elected to the Hall of Fame, and I was offered a scholarship to East Central Community College. 

“This also has been one of the best years in soccer. I know we didn’t go as far as we wanted to, but as a team, we bonded. It’s been a really good experience. I could not have had a better senior year so far.”

Well, that great year will get a little better. Diers is Sports601’s Powerade Girls Soccer Player of the Year for the Jones County area. 

“Madison was one of our key players,” said South Jones coach Acie Hamilton. “If you got the ball to the outside where she played, nine times out of 10 she would get the ball where it needed to go in the box for us to score. She was our number one contributor in goals this year.”

Diers finished her senior season with 11 goals, seven goals off the team’s leader freshman Brianna Gray, but her largest stat was in assists. The senior finished with a team-high 16 assists.

“Madison’s side of the field was always heavily played,” added Hamilton. “It gave her the opportunity to assist others in the box [with a better angle for the shot].”

“People tell me sometimes that I need to be more selfish with the ball,” said Diers. “But I give up the ball if I see someone with a better angle or better shot. Sumer [Boyette] and Brianna [Gray] are younger than I am, and sometimes I know that as an older player it’s harder to give the ball up, but when you see that someone has a better shot, I pass it to them and let them take the shot.

 


 

“I play on the outside, and playing on the outside makes my angle not as good as someone in the middle. So when I play the ball across it gets someone with a better angle the chance to shoot. As long as we get the win, it doesn’t matter.”

And South Jones won a lot. The Lady Braves finished the 2018-2019 season, 14-6-3, including a 5-1 finish in Region 5-5A. It was good enough to win South Jones its first Region 5-5A title in nearly two years. Madison was a big part of the team’s success.

“It felt good to win district,” said Diers. “It’s just fun to say we won the district title in my senior year because I didn’t get to say that for as a junior. Being able to play my senior year and win it was special.”

Completing in the playoffs was somewhat short-lived, though. South Jones fell 1-0 to Long Beach in the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs. Diers said the possibility of that happening hit her before the game started. 

“We really expected to keep going,” said Diers. “We didn’t expect it to end that night. But on the way to the game, my mom called me and told me she didn’t want this to be my last game. That is when it hit me. If we lose, I’m done.”

The game ended and Diers was done…but only with one part of her soccer career. Diers signed with East Central Community College before the season.

“A bunch of different schools offered me,” Diers pointed out. “But the thing that stood out to me at East Central was the coach and the way he coached. 

“I went and played in Costa Rico two summers ago, and Ryan Joiner (head coach now at ECCC) went with us. I loved the way he coached, and the way taught us team bonding and team effort.”

Hamilton said Diers was a player anyone would want on their team.

“She loves the game,” said Hamilton, “and she knows the game. She knows what she needs to do honestly.”