Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Former CLA Soccer Star, Maile Carigon, Takes Her Game to the Next Level

Maile Carigon Led her soccer team to the WHAC Title

Sometimes in sports what looks to be a bad situation can turn into a golden opportunity if it is handled with a positive mental outlook.

For Maile Carigon being plucked from her school at Christian Liberty Academy in Keaau prior to her senior year and moved to Beijing, China appeared to be a nightmare.

“It was really hard leaving my friends and the beauty of the Big Island for a foreign country with a different culture,” Carigon said.  “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

Carigon was an outstanding athlete with the Canefire and was a Big Island Interscholastic Federation first team soccer selection during her freshman, sophomore and junior years before leaving with her family to China.

“I really hated being in China for the first 5 months I was here,” Carigon said.  “But once I began playing soccer things began to change and my attitude about being in Beijing began to change.  I can actually say that I miss being there now.”

Despite the hardship of leaving her friends behind in Keaau Carigon made the best of the situation during her senior year in Beijing, leading her small school, International Academy of Beijing, to an undefeated season and two championships.

“It was a great experience for me to play both basketball and soccer at the school in Beijing,” she said.  “The school was about the same size as CLA, but the quality of play and the skill level on the soccer field is not as high.”

Carigon scored 28 goals during the season and was offered two tuition full ride scholarships at NAIA schools.

“I was offered a great scholarship from Bethel College in Indiana and my plans were to go there until I got to speak with the coach and meet the players from Cornerstone,” Carigon said.

“It was a tough decision but in the end I selected Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” she said.  “I believed then as I do now that we have a really amazing team, with no drama and I know I made the right decision.”

This past season, as a freshman, Carigon was hampered by bilateral tendinitis in both lower legs along with a sprained knee and sprained ankle, which limited her playing time.

With injuries Carigon’s playing time was limited to 15 minutes per game and she was used in at a defensive position.

Carigon’s move to foward

“Maile had to deal with an injury that limited her playing time as she was struggling to play more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time as her legs would not allow her more than that for most of the year,” Cornerstone soccer coach Randy Strawser said.

With four regular season games to go Coach Strawser decided to start Carigon at the forward position as the Golden Eagles were finding it difficult to score goals.

“I told her that she could always come out of the game after 10 minutes if she scored before coming out,” Strawser said.  “Ha!  Maile scored within the first minute of the conference semi final and in the first 10 minutes of the final.”

Carigon scored in 51 seconds of the first game she played at forward position helping her team win 2-1 in that game.

During the conference championship game Carigon scored the team’s only goal in the sixth minute and the game ended 1-1 and then went into penalty kicks.  Carigon scored on her PK and the Golden Eagles went on to win 4-3 in PK’s.

The move from defensive player to forward during the final four games of the season helped Cornerstone win the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular season and tournament title and gave them a ticket to play in the NAIA National Championships.

Carigon now knows what she needs to do in the off season to help her team succeed over the next three years.

“I am working at getting healthy,” she said.  “I am already starting to get my body ready for the intense season by doing the work during the off season.  This has been an unbelievable freshman season for me and I have no regrets.  The injuries at times led me to think about quitting, but I’m not a quitter.”

“She’s a very gifted player and she plays tough,” Strawser said.  “She can hold the ball well under pressure and she wins almost all tackles that she attempts.”

Strawser was also impressed with what he described as Carigon’s great attitude and her ability to be a good team player.

“I can’t wait to see her play when she is healthy and can play a full 90 minutes,” Strawser said.

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December 7, 2010 Posted by | Soccer | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment