From seeing palm trees and traffic every day in Corona, California, to viewing wheat fields and sunsets in Pullman, senior defender Maddy Haro had to make major adjustments when she committed to WSU soccer her sophomore year of high school.
Haro started playing in a league when she was only 5 years old. As she grew up, she continued her passion for the sport as she started playing club soccer at age 7 and furthered her career as she went into high school.
Haro attended Santiago High School where she led her team to success and continued to strengthen her ability on the field. By her senior year of high school, her soccer team won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Regional Championship for the first time in school history and continued on to win the state tournament.
“It was so rare to win CIF and state in the same year,” Haro said, “So I had a really successful and really fun senior year in high school.”
In high school, Haro played as a forward and scored 20 goals while adding 18 assists to her high school career statistics. With experience from club teams, she started getting recruited early in her high school career and committed to WSU after only her second year of high school.
At WSU, Haro stays busy as she is double majoring in multimedia journalism and strategic communication with emphasis in public relations, as well as putting in the time to be a key player on the soccer team.
As a freshman and sophomore, Haro played various positions including an attacking midfielder and forward to see where she fit best on the field. Sophomore year is when Haro started to move into the backfield as she started playing holding mid and attacking mid, until finally in the spring she played left back, WSU Head Coach Todd Shulenberger said.
“Last year we found her home as an attacking back,” Shulenberger said. “Her strengths were obviously her ability in possession, her ability for set piece opportunities, for free kicks. I mean … she is a goal-scorer. She’s scored numerous goals for us as a defender.”
Since last season, Haro has played a crucial role as a defender on the team. Not only does she serve as a top defender but she also plays a key part in the set piece moments, such as dead balls or corner kicks.
Regarding her role on the team, Haro said her strength is creating opportunities for her teammates.
“I think my part is really just setting them up and assisting and trying to put them in the best situations to score,” Haro said. “I love being on set pieces so every time there is a dead ball or a corner kick, I think that’s kind of my strong suit.”
Shulenberger said despite not being a team captain, Haro still holds a leadership position. Both on the field and in the classroom, Haro is a leader by example and motivates her teammates.
In her final year on the Palouse, Haro has a lot of goals she would like to see the team achieve. After last year’s success reaching the third round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament, the team is eager to get back.
“I want to be a national champion and win the Pac-12,” Haro said. “I want to see growth and development and I want to see all of those working pieces move together. I think that has just been so important this season and I think that’s why we have had a lot of success.”