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Alumni Spotlight: Madeline Racine

We recently sat down with Madeline Racine to catch up on her impactful professional career and relive some great EFC memories. Ok, you don’t sit with Maddie -- she is still buzzing with the same boundless energy and optimistic perspective that defined her as a player! Maddie shared many thoughts and stories that will surely resonate with our young Eastside players. Please enjoy this week’s interview and thank you Maddie!

EFC: Tell us about what you are currently doing?

MR: I am currently a Registered Nurse working in an outpatient bone marrow transplant clinic for adults. I work with some the best Nurses and learn from some the world’s smartest Healthcare Providers. This profession has provided me with a unique perspective on life and taught me a great deal of humility. In my spare time, I like to get outside. Whether it’s spent walking with my husband, exploring our PNW mountain ranges, or skiing, it’s all soul filling.

EFC: When did you join Eastside and what team were you on?

MR: I was 10 years old when I tried out for Eastside, my first attempt to play at the premiere level. I remember wanting to wear an orange jersey with orange socks, at the time that was my favorite color. I felt like I was in over my head going from recreational to premiere soccer. But can’t stop a girl who loves soccer and nothing to lose. After tryouts, I ended up playing for Tom Bialek’s Girls 95 Red team for the full 8 years.

EFC: What were some team and personal accomplishments during your time at EFC?

There are so many memories to sift through, but one stands out. In our U11 year we had a solid season for such a new team and found ourselves in the WA State Cup Finals against one of our top rivals, Crossfire. Every time we played them it was a grueling and intense. Add those elements to a State Cup Final, you’ve got yourself a classic game of footy. Alas, there has to be a winner and our team lost, right in the last few minutes of the game. When you are young those moments are impactful, and to this day I remember the feelings when that final whistle was blown. It was a hard result to swallow, but it lit a fire in us to come back the next time on top. After a couple years of hard training and determination, we faced Crossfire again in U13 State Cup Finals. It was one of the most intense games I’ve played. It was scrappy and everyone was competing at their best. We played as a team through and through, and in the end, were dubbed Champions. Never a more beautiful sound or feeling when that final whistle blew. I wasn’t until later that I realized those moments of failure, success, and time spent practicing/preparing are pivotal for growth as player and as an individual. That’s why it’s so frequently proclaimed, ‘the beautiful game of soccer’. You walk away with some of life’s best lessons and core memories.

EFC: Share a favorite memory from your time at EFC?

MR: Looking back, it was an absolute treat traveling state to state with some of my greatest friends to play soccer. Huge thanks to all the families who put forth the time, energy, and finances to make such trips possible. Spending time at hotels and tournament fields with your teammates is freaking awesome as a kid. I have so many photos archived of selfies and group photos in our slides and uniforms at a restaurant or hotel pool. It reminds me of how great it was to be a part of a team and experience trips like that together.

EFC: Tell us about your experience playing collegiate soccer.

MR: I was fortunate to continue on and represent the Redhawks at Seattle University alongside one of my EFC teammates, Isabelle Butterfield (so fun J). Division 1 soccer is whole other level of competition. I appreciated the foundation EFC provided as a competitive athlete. Looking back, I enjoyed the intensity of our training schedule and games. Being your absolute fittest and playing at a high level of competitive soccer is a great feeling. Again, experiencing those intense and exciting moments with my teammates taught me how important it is to embrace support and teamwork. Soccer is not a one-man game… it only works if your team performs as a cohesive unit. I acknowledge college soccer is tough and not an easy path, but it provided yet another chapter of lessons and people I am eternally grateful for.

EFC: How did EFC help prepare you for college and life beyond?

MR: I remember before U14 tryouts Tom Bialek gave me a call and told me I was on the “bubble” for making the Red team that year. He told me I needed to work on my technical game and suggested that I go kick a ball at the wall to improve my passing. He said if I really wanted to continue to be on the team I needed to work on my game. At first, I was upset by his critique but with help from my parents, I began to understand constructive criticism and work ethic. From that day, I made it a goal to go to our local school wall every day. That was possibly one the best lessons I learned at Eastside. It taught me to embrace criticism and allowed me to reflect on my performance and reevaluate how I would perform going forward. It taught me how to create goals for myself and the value of discipline and consistency with practice. If I wanted to stay on the team so badly, I needed to be determined and diligent in my practice. Lastly, it was a great way to be humbled. I was not the best player and there would always be something to work on. Unbelievable that all these values came from one instance. Easy to say, this helped me succeed in college and I continue to try and implement these values into my daily life.

EFC: Did you learn anything impactful about balance and rest over the course of your athletic career? How has this affected your life and success?

MR: I think it’s very easy to forget about rest and recovery, especially in an intense competitive environment. I’m not sure I really mastered this during either EFC days or college. I had a great strength and conditioning coach at Seattle University, Allison Tenney, who incorporated recovery into our schedule/trainings. During competitive sports, it’s crucial to incorporate days of light activity or rest to maintain optimal performance. This was really my first glimpse into why it is important to let the body heal. It’s not until now that my body has endured years of play that I welcome recovery after working out or even stressful days at work. Mental recovery should be held with the utmost importance too. I believe this ever more now that I am working as a Nurse. To do my job effectively as a RN, I have to incorporate time to calm my mind and refill my cup. If I am to care for others, I’ve learned I must prioritize my mental health. All in all, I try to listen to my body and mind on the day and adjust my plan accordingly.

EFC: What advice would you give to our current Eastside players?

MR: Enjoy every moment! What a time to be playing soccer. When you’re older, you’ll remember the good times and people that came along the way. And last, embrace the best and hardest moments you’ll have during your career. It all stays with you as you continue on in life.

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