Jean DePlacido column: Goalkeeper Stam commits to Duke

Goalkeeper Holly Stam (far right, leaping to make a save) recently committed to play college soccer at Duke. Courtesy photo.

Once college soccer coaches saw goalie Holly Stam perform against top level competition, many wanted her on their team. The Waring School rising sophomore made a verbal commitment to Duke last week.

“The two top things I was looking for in a college is a really strong academic school and a good athletic program,” said Stam, who lives in Ipswich. “Duke has both, and once I visited the beautiful campus a couple of weeks ago I knew that was where I wanted to play. They gave me an offer, and I accepted right away.

“I was on my birthday when the coach told me they wanted me to commit, and it was my best present. It feels so good to have that decision made. This is the first time Duke has ever committed to people at the end of their freshman year, and I am the third (freshman) to commit.”

Stam’s friend Mary Kate Maguire, a striker on her soccer team New England Futbol Club, will also be going to Duke.

“I’m so happy I already know another girl, who will be on my college team,” said Stam. “There is a very small elite group of players so I also know three other recruits from national events.”

Stam was named to the all-star team at the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program’s Thanksgiving Inter-regional tourney in Boca Raton, Florida last year. She was a member of Region 1 U-14 squad, and was selected Best Goalie for her age group at that tournament.

Last summer she went to the U-14 national training camp in Portland Oregon and based on her performance there was selected to go to Costa Rica last February. Stam played for Aztec since she was 11-years old, but last year moved to NEFC out of Taunton, one of the top clubs in the country.

“Duke first saw me at the Showcase in Boca Raton,” said Stam. “Then their coaches were at a player development tournament I was in two months ago at Princeton, New Jersey.”

Even though Stam has made a commitment to play for head coach Robbie Church and the Blue Devils, she will have a very busy summer. Tomorrow she is headed to a camp at the University of Rhode Island to select players for a trip to Boca Raton or Costa Rica. She hopes to make both teams like she did last year.

From there she will fly out to Indiana for the National Premier League championships and play for NEFC from July 9-16. The National Club finals are also in Indiana right after that, running from the 16th-20th. There will be no time to rest up because Stam has been invited to participate in the Puma Women’s Elite Showcase. She won’t even have time to come home, but will fly directly to Orlando, Florida.

“I’ll have a week off at the end of the month, and then I’m going to Holland with my family on vacation,,” said Stam. “My Dad’s family is there, and it will be good to see them again. “There are lots of good things happening for me all at once. I wanted to play lacrosse for Waring this spring, but didn’t have enough time because I am training so often for soccer.”

She’s also looking forward to getting back on the pitch for the Mavericks this fall.

“It’s different in the fall when club soccer is less intense. The high school (soccer) season takes over until November so I’ll be able to focus on playing for my high school.”

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The All-American Fundamental Football Showcase with Super Bowl champs Jonas Gray from the New England Patriots will take place on July 19 at Manning Field in Lynn. It is a non-padded fundamental skills tutorial for youngsters ages 6-18 seeking to develop their skill set.

They will be coached up by Gray and Ryan Allen from the Patriots along with Jamaal Charles from the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles’ Brian Braman , Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Andrew DePaola and others.

Players will be evaluated in football fundamentals, 40 yard dash, 20 yard shuttle, three cone drill, standing broad jump, and positional drills. There will also be motivational speeches and autographs.

Pre-registration (at a discounted rate) is recommended. Learn more online at All-Americanshowcase.com.

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Jean DePlacido is a sports correspondent for The Salem News. You can contact her at JMDeplacido@aol.com.

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