Many athletes begin playing sports as something they enjoy, something that gives them a break from reality. Maddie Duren, known by her teammates as “Chop,” is the 2021 All-Big Sky 1st Team Defensive MVP and captain of the women’s soccer team at the University of Northern Colorado. Like many of her teammates, she has been playing soccer since she was only 4. She attended Thunder Ridge High School in Highlands Ranch where she was second team All-State and a 4-year letter winner for soccer.
She finds comfort and belonging when she can escape to the field with her teammates and have fun in her free time.
“Its the best part of my day, coming out here playing and winning with them,” Duren said.
She wanted to play at UNC to follow in her family’s footsteps. Her mom played soccer at Brigham Young University and her sister played at UNC 3 years ago. Her aunt, Aleisha Cramer, played for the U.S Women’s National Team.
It was important for Duren to stay somewhat close to home so her family could watch her college career. She describes her soccer career at UNC in 3 words: fun, successful and hardworking. Her coach, Tim Barrera, also played a big part in getting her to join and stay with the team all this time.
“Tim was super, super welcoming and very easy to talk to; he sold the deal for me,” Duren said.
During her time at UNC, Duren has racked up a total of 10 goals and 5,687 minutes of play time as both a midfielder and defender. Her teammates and her competition drive her to keep working hard because they all have the same goal in mind.
“The end goal is to win the Big Sky Championship,” Duren said.
UNC hasn’t had a good start in the playoffs this year with the current record at 0-2. Unfortunately, Duren is out with an injury so she doesn’t know when or if she will be able to take the field with her team again. With 6 more games to go, she is hopeful her team will be able to fix their record for admittance into the Big Sky Championship.
“We’re taking it one game at a time. We’re out here today preparing for Friday’s match against Washington,” Duren said.
Duren has been playing at UNC for 5 years and is looking forward to passing on one of the 3 beloved captain spots to one of her teammates. Accompanied by Lauren Fuller, a transfer student from Colorado State University playing her first year with UNC, Duren discussed the idea of passing on her position.
“Next year, I’m coming for your spot, Chop,” Fuller said with a laugh.
“I’ll pass down the band when I’m ready,” Duren said.
Eventually, all good things come to an end. Whether we’re ready for change or not, it will come inevitably. Duren has undoubtedly left her mark on the program and her teammates. She looks forward to what the future brings for her and her soccer career.
“Depending on if I can make it back, I might try to enter the draft for the NWSL,” Duren said. “If not, I’ll probably just coach my kids in a couple years.”