Allie Mairn travels far and wide for soccer


Freshman Allie Mairn spends eight to ten hours in the car during a typical school week. Nothing about this schedule is typical for someone her grade, but she does it for the sport of her past, present, and future: soccer.

“It used to be rough because [when] you get out of the car, you have ‘car legs’ when you played,” Allie said. “But, now, it’s easy.”

After enduring her arduous schedule for three years, it isn’t hard to believe Allie’s comfort with the rigor. She leaves for Detroit every day after school to practice with her prestigious team, the Michigan Hawks. The duration of practices can range from one and a half to two and a half hours, depending on if the team has conditioning. It is often close to midnight by the time Allie returns home.

Growing up, Allie never believed anything she has accomplished would have been achievable if it wasn’t for her brother. 

“He did the team in Detroit a year before I did,” said Allie, who plays center midfield.“I never thought of [joining] that team in Detroit. I just knew that they were so much better than us; I never thought I would be able to play for them. Then my brother went over there, and I’m like, ‘It is possible. If my brother can do it, I can do it.’

It inspired seventh-grade Allie to contact the coach and ask to practice with the Michigan Hawks. But, being so young and driving so far, her parents feared she would catch the dreaded burn-out.

“I think soccer is the one thing I just love more than everything,” Allie said. “I really don’t know what I would do with my life if I didn’t go play soccer every day. I love it so much, and if I liked it a little bit less than I do now, I would not do [the Detroit team].”

Unfortunately, her first couple practices went poorly. The difference in skill level was evident. Yet, Allie stuck with it, improved, and is now reaping some of the many benefits.

“I went mostly because the level is so much higher there,” said Allie, who has been playing soccer since she was three. “So, I feel like if I stayed here, I wouldn’t have the college opportunities I would have now because I’m in Detroit.”

Certainly, soccer has assisted in paving the way for Allie’s future. Allie has been scouted by a multitude of colleges, including some Big Ten colleges and some from the East Coast. Specifically, there have been scouts from Wisconsin, Ohio State, West Virginia, Michigan, and Michigan State.

Furthermore, two colleges have already made offers, and more will likely follow considering this is only Allie’s freshman year. Until she accepts an offer, there is little Allie can say about the colleges behind the offers. Allie plans to potentially accept one of the offers, just not quite yet.

“It’s just a big decision, and I don’t want to rush it,” Allie said. “But, probably, I will accept one of them. It’s crazy; it’s just like insane to think that I could already know where I want to be in four years.”

Right now, Allie isn’t sure what she wants to do in college. Though, she has entertained the idea of going professional simply because of her love of the game.

“It’s just crazy game,” Allie said. “A lot of people don’t think that [soccer is] very hard on your body, but really, it is. You get hit hard. People don’t think it’s a contact sport. People get hurt left and right.”

Allie herself was injured in recent years. Two summers ago what began as a diagnosed sprain landed her in a boot for three months. Originally, Allie believed that she would be healed in time to play for her club team in the national championships, but that wasn’t the case.

Needless to say, it was devastating and heart-crushing to miss out on such a great opportunity. Instead of a one-week recovery, it was a five-month recovery. Allie had torn all three ligaments in her ankle. Even after removing the boot, she had to spend five months in physical therapy.

“If you have an injury like that or if you’re out for a long time, it either makes your career end– it makes you just want to give up– or it makes you want it so much more,” Allie said. “For me, it made me want everything so much more.”

This drive helped take Allie to a level of competition higher than national. With her mantra of never giving up and never being satisfied, Allie made it to the international level. She is currently in Barcelona representing the United States on the 2003 birth year girls soccer team.

Every year, scouts for the team invite a number of girls from all over the United States to come to their nationals camp during the summer. Of the attendees, a select few make the team.

“[The nationals camp is] a lot,” Allie said. “It’s a lot of pressure, as well. Every time you messed up, it’s like, ‘Okay, well I’m done.’ It’s just finally knowing that all of the hard work that you put in, every day, pays off when you’re at the highest level you can be at.”

Nationals camp tested Allie and the other girls against themselves and pushed them to the limit. For one fitness test, they were told to run for as long as they could. But all the hard work certainly paid off; Allie still recalls the moment when she received the good news about the team.

“I remember I was at home,” Allie said. “I was just chilling at home, and then I got an email saying ‘Congratulations.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way.’ I was home alone at the time, and I called my mom, crying. I’m like, ‘Mom, I got in. It happened.’ ”

Although Allie and the team are in Barcelona for ten days, they won’t be playing games against other countries, such as Australia, Spain, and Brazil, until the last couple of days. Most of their days will be filled with practice and sightseeing. They will even get to go to an FC Barcelona game.

The reason Allie has been so successful in soccer is her passion for the game.

“You learn so much, not just about the game,” Allie said. “ [You learn] about life, how to treat people, how to persevere, and how to lead. It’s kind of like going to school. You learn, and you never stop learning it.”