Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Maddi finds his match at Wisconsin

Defensive tackle Ethan Hemer has helped anchor a Wisconsin defensive line surrendering just 114 rushing yards per game, but the bruising Le’Veon Bell presents a fresh challenge.[/media-credit]

How things can change in the course of four years.

For Wisconsin men’s soccer forward Jerry Maddi, coming out of high school just four years ago, he never would have guessed he would end up playing for the Badgers.

Throughout high school, Maddi played in one of the toughest soccer regions in the country and excelled in it too.


While playing his high school soccer at Naperville Central High School, just west of Chicago, with fellow UW soccer player Chris Prince, the team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for a short period during his senior year. After completing his 36th and final game in his varsity career for NCHS, Maddi had compiled a massive 29 goals and 22 assists – numbers that were only good enough for him finish in the top three players in the school’s history.

“We had a really good senior class; Chris had a couple of good players in his class as well, and below him they had a player at Northwestern,” Maddi said. “So we had a lot of good talent and not just at our high school but in the area. … I think a lot of what got me where I am today is playing at that high level in high school.”

In high school, Maddi committed to Michigan State, but when that didn’t work out, he instead decided to attend Eastern Illinois University.

At Eastern Illinois, Maddi would go on to play in all 17 games his freshman season, starting 16 of them, scoring two goals and earning three assists. His sophomore year, Maddi went on to start all 17 games.

Still, although he credited Eastern Illinois with helping further develop him as a player, Maddi said he still always looked back at schools like Michigan State and knew it was where he wanted to be. 

“When I committed to Michigan State, I kind of set myself at the expectation where I wanted to play at a high level in the Big Ten,” Maddi said.

So in 2010, when former high school teammate and then UW freshman Prince started telling head coach John Trask about Maddi, Trask’s interest was piqued, and one year later Maddi would transfer to play at Wisconsin for his junior season.

“When it was made clear to us he was wanting to move into a better environment, or a bigger environment, we knew we had a chance to get him,” Trask said. “He has been great.”

Over the years, transfers have played a big role on many of Trask’s teams. During the 2011 season, two transfers – Tomislav Zadro from Illinois Central College and Josh Thiermann from Notre Dame – led the team in scoring with 10 of the team’s 25 goals.

While Maddi didn’t have quite the same statistics to show as the other two transfers coming into his senior year at UW – he recorded his first goal in a cardinal and white uniform Sept. 29 of this season – Trask said Maddi’s willingness to do whatever it takes for the team has made him an invaluable member of this Badger team.

“He is always positive. He is always ready to train; he is always ready to play,” Trask said. “He is a team guy. It’s never about him; it’s always about what’s good for the team.

“If we asked him to play goalkeeper, he would put on the gloves and go back there and be our goalkeeper. He’s a guy that you want in your program.”

Recently though, Trask’s confidence in his senior forward has been rewarded with results.

Both of Maddi’s goals this season have come in vital wins for a UW team that has struggled to find its identity. With Prince playing in the midfield for much of the season, the Badgers have lacked a forward capable of putting the ball in the back of the net. Despite his own personal success in recent weeks, Maddi’s demeanor is not that of the typical cocky forward. Instead, when asked about his recent run of form, he immediately directed the attention of his own accomplishments back on the team goals.

“It’s more important that when I’m scoring, we’re getting wins,” Maddi said. “If I were to have zero points and zero goals and we would get more wins I would trade [for] that.”

Still, the most important role Maddi has played for the team this year has been that of mentor. Maddi is one of only two seniors on the 2012 team – along with defender Kyle McCrudden – making him an important resource for some of the younger players as they learn what it means to be collegiate student-athletes.

For Maddi, it is a role he relishes, especially as he hopes to one day get involved in coaching of some kind after he graduates in May 2014.

“I think that something working with the university [could be in my future],” Maddi said. “Maybe as a strength coach or coaching [in general] is something that, as of now, I am looking forward to doing after [school].”

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