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Bauer among elite

Soccer

Newport Beach resident is a key player as a center back on U.S. Under-17 national soccer team.

March 30, 2012|By Bruce Bourquin, Special to the Daily Pilot

Team USA, which along with Mexico is among the favorites to qualify, must finish as one of the top three teams — two finalists and a wild-card team — to go to the FIFA U-17Women's World Cupfrom Sept. 22 to Oct. 13 in Azerbaijan, a country located between Iraq and Turkey.

The U.S. must first get through a group that includes Canada, Mexico and two Central American teams. The Bahamas, Bermuda and Trinidad and Tobago comprise the other group.

In preparations for CONCACAF, the team will begin a training camp Sunday in Chula Vista, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

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"Our chances are really good," Bauer said. "We haven't been able to qualify for the World Cup — in 2010 they did not qualify. So we want to get there. We're going to keep on attacking, get the ball forward."

Bauer said her head coach at the national level, veteran U.S. soccer coach Albertine Montoya, in his first season leading the U-17s, has been a strong mentor.

Montoya is very confident in his starting defender, as evident by all those minutes played.

"The past three or four months, Maddie has become our leading force at center backfield," Montoya said. "She's an unbelievable competitor. She's really stood out over the last few camps. It had more to do with her leadership. We need a leader who can communicate with our team, and she's done that. We feel real comfortable with her on the field."

Ziad Khoury, head coach of the Slammers FC U-17 club team, has also been a great coach.

"He's one of my all-time favorite coaches," Bauer said. "He plays with us, he's always real positive during games. He's a former under-17 player, so he knows what we're going through. Ziad is like my family. He's always been there. He got me motivated through some tough times. He's a real good person."

Kathleen Bauer said her daughter's abilities playing soccer were immediately evident. Maddie Bauer also grew up playing volleyball and basketball and has used part of those skills to attempt several headers toward the net in international play.

"From the day I put a soccer ball in front of her, she was a maniac," Kathleen Bauer said. "She scored five goals in her first games."

Maddie Bauer, who committed to play at Stanford University as a sophomore last year while playing at Mater Dei, is on an absolutely loaded national team. Her fellow defenders include Gabby Miranda, a UCLA commit, USC commit Mandy Freeman and Penn State commit Brittany Basinger. Maddie Bauer carries a 4.4 grade-point average this spring.

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