Monday, March 28, 2011

Athlete Spotlight: 7 year old lioness, Malia

I've been excited to share today's spotlight about little Malia and her soccer studliness! When her mom, Mandy, posted on the blog contest about one of her Sport Princess's achievements, I asked her to send me more information so I could learn more. I'm so happy she did!

"Her name is Malia, she is 7 yrs old and in the 2nd grade. She started playing recreational soccer when she was 4 yrs old and knew right away she wanted to be a goalkeeper.  She joined a select team, "traveling team", when she was 6 yrs old. Her team won numerous tourrnaments and there was an entire season where they were undefeated.  

She plays year round, and even played in a "soccer in the sand" tournament at Lake Michigan's Grand Haven beach.  One of her most memorable tournaments was on the campus of University of Michigan. Her team took 1st place and posed for pictures with the head coach of U of M's men's soccer team. We have also traveled with Malia's team to the campus of Michigan State University. She escorted the female college team onto the field at the start of the big Michigan vs Michigan State soccer game. At half time, her team got to play an exhibition game for the crowd! 

Malia has been compared to a caged lioness when she is in goalkeeper mode. She never takes her eye off the ball, paces back and forth like she could attack at any moment! :)

She has been kicked in the stomach many times and gets right back up. Except that one time when she carried off the field! She has also been kicked in the mouth while diving on a ball. She took a minute to compose herself, got up and shook herself off and when the referee asked if she was ok she replied, "I'm ok, let's play".  Afterwards she told me in disgust, "His foot was in my mouth!".
Malia is highly competitive, and puts her all into everything that she does. She is a straight A student and has tested above her grade level in reading and math. She is a very compassionate girl, and a great friend. She has a love of animals and decided on her own that she does not want to eat any meat. I'm sure this is challenging for her living with a family of meat eaters! One day in the grocery store she was horrified to read the word "lamb" on a package of meat. She picked it up and hugged it and said "I'm sorry someone had to kill you". This morning, on the way to school, she saw a dead skunk on the side of the road and said "that skunk had hopes and dreams!"

Little Sport Princess, Malia
I think what makes Malia's accomplishments so amazing to me is the fact that she was born tongue tied, pigeon toed and with poor vision in one eye. She spoke very little at the age of 3, and underwent surgery to clip the skin holding her tongue down. She got her first pair of glasses this school year and looks adorable in them! She is still very much pigeon toed and it is amazing how quick her footwork is when she is dribbling the ball around other players on her way to score a goal. She has over come these obstacles and is excelling in spite of them!"

And here is Malia's contribution: "Malia would also like you to know her favorite soccer player is Lionel Messi. She HAD to have his replica Barcelona jersey last weekend as soon as she saw it! She will also be attending 3 Lions Soccer Academy Summer Camp this coming July." :)

WOW. What a darling, motivated, inspirational Sport Princess. MANDY - you write well - I love how you worded all of this, and being able to picture the pacing caged lioness. Also, that's an appropriate nickname since she loves Lionel Messi and is attending the 3 Lions Academy Summer Camp. I love this girl already, thank you for sharing her information!

*For any other submissions for the weekly spotlight, please email to


  1. :) This popped up in my fb 'On This Day' feed today. Fast forward 6 years and Malia is still a goal keeper. Her team recently took 1st place at the U.S Youth Futsal Nationals Championship! Last summer they traveled to Orlando to compete at the World Cup, at ESPN. This summer she travels to Kansas to compete, individually, for a spot on the National Team. :)

    1. Bethany HegerhorstMarch 28, 2017 at 1:15 PM

      I am so happy for the update and just added this to our FB page as well! I would love an updated picture!!