Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke
Twenty or thirty years ago, it was not that uncommon to find an athlete who had it “all”. Skill, speed, athleticism and drive are just a few qualities that someone needs to own the title. From Michael Jordan and his famous work ethic, to the humble Walter Payton, players who possess these qualities are rare in today’s day and age. Luckily for fans of the Duquesne women’s soccer team, they have to look no further than Rooney Field to find a player that gives it her “all” every game day. That person is Maddie Layman. And she’s only a freshman.
Layman, a midfielder from the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, has already made a huge impact on the pitch this year for the Dukes. She has already accumulated two goals on 15 shots this year for the Duke and has assisted twice on two others. Coach Al Alvine is happy for her doing so well but isn’t surprised.
“She is a skillful player,” Alvine said. “She has a good level of athleticism and above that, she is a very smart player.”
Layman has been starting since the first game of the season alongside six other freshmen this year and has helped the Dukes get to the 5-4-1 record they have now.
On Sept. 30, Layman was named Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Week after scoring both of her two goals this season against New Jersey Institute of Technology. She joined fellow recipients junior goaltender Devon Tabata and sophomore forward Amy Vinopal as A-10 Rookies of the Week.
The midfielder is happy with her success so far but her team is what is making her time here at Duquesne so much better.
“The team makes the experience the best it can be,” Layman said. “Whenever I visited here, I just fell in love with the campus and I fell in love with the girls. They were just really welcoming and I love them all.”
Layman has had an impressive career before coming to Duquesne. In 2010, she led her club team, Beadling, to a bronze medal in the USYSA National Championship. She was also a three-year varsity starter at North Allegheny High School where she and her team qualified for the WPIAL playoffs from 2009-2011.
“I have been recruiting Maddie since she was a sophomore,” Alvine said. “She was always someone who seemed to make things happen. She is a player that has the ability to keep the ball and help out possession but she can also score goals. Those types of players are very rare. She’s got a good sense of humor, she’s very supportive and is just a nice kid. Everybody respects her but everybody likes her personality as well.”
Teammate Cydney Staton agrees.
“She’s very focused,” Staton said. “She always has positive things to say to the team to keep us going. She’s really aggressive. When she gets on the field, she gets in a zone and no one can get her out of it.”
Layman, who is currently an undecided liberal arts major, plans on making the next four years the best of her life.
“I just want to keep getting better,” Layman said. “I want to keep working on my soccer and academics as well but I also just want to keep enjoying the experience.”
On a team where more and more freshmen are getting to start, competition is getting stronger on both sides of the ball. Layman knows she must constantly keep getting better at her game to face whatever is in store for her just like all the great athletes who have come and gone.
To have it “all” a person must go above and beyond what is expected of them and it looks like Duquesne is the perfect spot for her to succeed. A little more than halfway through the season, and just starting conference play, but according to the midfielder, she is right where she wants to be in her career at Duquesne.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Layman said.