CHS soccer star commits to D1 powerhouse MarylandBy Danny Joseph
The Canton girls’ soccer team’s 2011 season ended in the most heartbreaking fashion imaginable. The Bulldogs, despite dominating play on both sides of the pitch for nearly the entire 90 minutes, fell 1-0 to Auburn in the Division 2 state championship game. It was a tough pill to swallow for a team of girls who had given their blood, sweat, and tears in the pursuit of a championship.
Luckily for head coach Paul Turner, who called the loss his “most heartbreaking in 17 years of coaching,” the Bulldogs’ most formidable weapon, junior striker Lauren Berman, is back for one more run at a championship. In her third season suiting up for the varsity side, Berman submitted perhaps her most dazzling effort yet. She led the Hockomock league in scoring for the third straight season with 33 goals and earned her third consecutive MVP award in the process.
“Lauren is an exceptional talent,” said Turner. “She has a competitive edge rarely seen in high school athletes. She elevates the play of her teammates with her hard work and determination.”
Berman has made her mark on Massachusetts soccer with a combination of technical proficiency and athleticism not often seen in high school.
“Lauren has outstanding dribbling ability and technique, and is equally adept at finishing with either foot,” said Turner. “She is racking up goals despite being the most marked player in the league, if not the state.”
Despite the accolades and recognition in the Massachusetts soccer community, Berman is far from satisfied.
“Hopefully we can get back to the championship game next year,” said Berman. “We want to show everyone that we were the better team.”
The drive to get better has been with Berman since she picked up soccer as a little girl. Berman grew up playing in-town soccer on the fields of Canton, followed by travel teams in middle school, and finally the CHS varsity team as a freshman.
Berman has sharpened her game playing with the Scorpion Soccer Club in the offseason. The club is an elite traveling team that has continually pitted Berman against some of the stiffest competition in the region. Berman considers her love affair for the game to be life-long.
“My brother and sister played soccer when I was little, so I wanted to follow their lead — I’ve been playing soccer since I could walk,” she said with a laugh.
Luckily for Berman, she has already found a rather prestigious home for the next stage of her playing career. Although she received interest from a number of Division 1 schools, she committed to the University of Maryland after her second visit to the College Park Campus this past summer.
“I really loved the coaches and the campus,” said Berman. “And I wanted the opportunity to face the competition in the ACC. Of all the schools I looked at, nothing compared to Maryland.”
The Terrapins, a perennial national power who play in the most competitive conference in the country for women’s soccer, are the perfect destination for the driven Berman. Although she will face a myriad of challenges and adjustments at the next level, her coach believes she will be more than up to the task.
“Maryland is a great program for her,” said Turner. “She will go from the top of the pile in high school to somewhere in the middle in college, but I am confident that she will be able to prove she belongs.”
Berman, who excels in the classroom as well, already has goals for college and beyond. “Obviously one of my goals would be to win the NCAA championship,” said Berman. “And if I could play pro soccer afterwards, I would love to do that.”
While the future is bright for Berman, for now she will focus on getting back to the state championship game, and winning one for her hometown.
“Canton is just a great place to play soccer and a great community,” said Berman. “I’ll always look back fondly on my time in Canton.”
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