By Ray Hamill — Just when she thought her college soccer career was over, Maddie Costa has found a new home and a new challenge.
The 2019 St Bernard’s graduate has joined the Menlo College program after three years playing goalkeeper for Lake Tahoe Community College, and she practiced with her new team for the first time this week.
“It’s going well,” she said from the Bay Area. “It’s a lot harder than the JC level, but I’m enjoying it.”
Costa, who was a standout goalie for the Crusaders, didn’t think she’d still be playing collegiately as a junior but is glad to have the opportunity.
And it all happened pretty quickly.
“I was going to end my soccer career,” she admitted. “I was planning on coming back to Humboldt and working and trying to kind of figure out what was next for me.”
At the conclusion of the 2021 season, however, one of Costa’s coaches at Lake Tahoe suggested she should travel to Los Angeles for a sophomore showcase event, and that’s where she caught the eye of the Menlo coaches.
After the one-day camp, she kept in touch with the coaches, before visiting in early January, quickly accepting their offer and moving down last week.
“It all happened pretty quickly,” she said.
The psychology major has also settled in quickly to her new surroundings in Atherton, which is next to Palo Alto.
“Of course I’m very grateful for the opportunity just to continue my education,” she said. “I can already tell from week one they take it seriously.
“The area is a lot different from Humboldt. It’s a big city and has a different perspective.”
Right now, Costa is the only goalie on the Menlo roster and is expected to see plenty to time between the posts during spring ball.
However, she does expect the team to bring in another goalie before the fall and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m a competitor,” she said. “I like to have a fellow goalkeeper to push me that way.”
Costa played three seasons at Lake Tahoe and enjoyed plenty of success, including winning a Golden Valley Conference championship with a perfect 8-0 record last fall.
Remarkably, Costa and the Coyotes did not allow a single goal in conference play, outscoring their opponents 61-0 over the eight games.
But that’s not the biggest thing the St. Bernard’s graduate will take from her time at the community college.
“I think the biggest takeaway from Tahoe was the relationships I had with the coaches and my teammates,” she said. “Tahoe was a great experience. I definitely grew tremendously there.”
That experience included being evacuated along with her teammates during the Caldor fire this past October.
“It was scary,” she admitted. “We didn’t know if our houses were going to catch fire, but that was probably the biggest bonding experience we had.”
Fortunately, the fire did not reach the campus.
Costa joins a Menlo program that competes at the NAIA level and one that has consistently posted winning records under head coach Zlatan Sahmanovic, who played at Humboldt State from 2005 to 2009.
Last season the Menlo women finished 9-4-3.
“It’s definitely a change, but my teammates and coaches have been very welcoming,” she said.
Costa also played basketball, volleyball and softball at St. Bernard’s.