She tried gymnastics, ballet and swimming. None of those sports rocked her boat.
It wasn’t until Maggie Asbell was introduced to soccer by her father that she found what she was looking for. The girl has gone from modest and meek on the field to dominating and prolific.
Now 17 years old and a senior at LaGrange High School, Asbell remembers discovering her new favorite sport of champions. Soccer is “it” for Asbell with the tug on the jersey, the sprinting downfield, the trash talking and maybe even a yellow card here and there.
It’s all in fun.
Asbell found out fairly early in her soccer development that she just might have a knack for this game. She had no particular expectations until one glorious day on the youth soccer pitch.
Sometimes it happens like that.
“I scored 12 goals in a championship game (as an eight year old), and that gave me hope,” said Asbell.
She went from a player with “no shot” to someone with a sudden penchant for ball control and booming goals. Just last season for LaGrange High, Asbell scored a goal from 40 yards away against Chapel Hill.
The girl now has a lethal leg for scoring. Asbell also has an assortment of other soccer skills. The girl is a football player in soccer cleats, and she’s a good teammate.
“I love running, and I like tackling and knocking people down,” said Asbell, the full time forward and the occasional midfielder.
She has an eye for the back of the net, too. Asbell scored 36 goals last season for the LaGrange High girls, the Region 5AAAA champions.
“Maggie is able to find the lanes, and she has endurance,” said Lady Granger assistant soccer coach Andy Fritchley.
Asbell also has made a verbal commitment to play women’s soccer for Georgia College in Milledgeville. Asbell’s sister, Hannah, will play for the Bobcats this fall as a freshman. And Maggie Asbell will follow her one year later to Milledgeville and the Peach Belt Conference.
“I want to play D-II ball. I want more of a student life, and I want to play soccer,” said Asbell, who is also being recruited by Western Carolina.
For now, however, Asbell is devoting her time to LaGrange High soccer and playing travel ball for the AFC Lightning from Fayetteville. Asbell has also played elite soccer for the Concorde Fire from Atlanta.
She has logged time on five travel teams. Asbell has put some stickers on her suitcase with games in Chicago, Seattle, Orlando and Okeechobee, Fla. Asbell has also played travel ball games in Tennessee and Alabama.
She is better for it, too.
“The coaches cut you no slack, and you have to be in shape. This is another ball game. It’s intense. You have to work,” said Asbell, the goal-scoring forward.
The girl does have a monster work ethic and some soccer tools.
“Making a run is the big thing. I have speed and footwork,” said Asbell.
As for her barrage of shots, she said, “I pray they’re going in.”
Most of them do.
“I like dribbling downfield. I keep my head up,” said Asbell.
She plays soccer 12 months a year, and she isn’t complaining.