California Native, New Hampshire Freshman Angel Maldonado Benefits from Academy’s Financial Assistance During 2011-12 Season
There was a moment of uncertainty for former Pateadores midfielder Angel Maldonado and his final season in the Development Academy.
Heading into the 2011-12 season, Maldonado admits that he and his family were not in a strong position financially for him to play for Pateadores. But when he heard about and applied for the Academy Scholarship Program, Maldonado – the son of a single-parent mother – found a way to make everything work to stay on the field and keep competing in the Academy’s high-level environment.
“The expenses were too much and my mentor/coach told me about how I could get some help financially through a scholarship,” Maldonado said. “At the beginning of the year, I applied and talked about how it would benefit me.
“It was a weight off of my shoulders when I was awarded the scholarship,” he said. “It definitely helped and relieved the stress.”
The Development Academy has recently awarded 175 scholarships for the 2012-13 season, and Maldonado has proven to be a fitting example of a player who has benefited and succeeded under the Scholarship Program as he is currently competing in his freshman season with the University of New Hampshire in the America East Conference.
The Academy Scholarship Program targets players within the Academy who are in need of financial assistance and compete for clubs that are not able to fully fund their players. The scholarship opportunity is available for players at all age levels within the Academy, and if a player is honored with a scholarship, he maintains a regular update to the Academy logging his activities.
“With the scholarship program you fill weekly surveys about what you did,” Maldonado said. “It could be about how much time you’re practicing, if you had a game or did any individual work, and to maintain your scholarship you submit this every week.”
The Lennox, Calif., native caught the eyes of New Hampshire’s soccer program under head coach Rob Thompson, a former U-17/18 head coach for Seacoast United.
“In the Winter Showcase I did pretty well and New Hampshire was interested in me,” Maldonado said. “We remained in touch and soon enough I had an official visit within weeks.”
Maldonado is enjoying a strong start to his college campaign, scoring a pair of goals and assisting another tally through New Hampshire’s first 10 games of the season.
“It’s been a big learning experience,” Maldonado said. “You have to adjust your game to the point where you have to think a lot quicker and be on your toes. You’re playing guys four years older than you and the pace is entirely different.”
As for continuing to work his way up the soccer playing ladder beyond college, Maldonado enters his New Hampshire experience with an open mind and a hard-nosed attitude.
“The plan is always to try to get to the next level, and you’ve got to work hard for it,” Maldonado said. “That’s my objective, so anything can happen. I’m optimistic.”