Camp Verde athlete of the week: Senior goalkeeper Maynard returns to lead Cowboys soccer

Camp Verde senior Preston Maynard catches the ball against Payson on Aug. 29. Maynard has five shut outs this year and was all-state last season. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde senior Preston Maynard catches the ball against Payson on Aug. 29. Maynard has five shut outs this year and was all-state last season. (VVN/James Kelley)

Despite started the season late and dealing with injuries to both feet and illness, Camp Verde senior goalkeeper Preston Maynard is impressing again.

“Preston’s been excellent this year,” said Camp Verde head coach David Miller. “He had a little bit of a late start, he had some scheduling issues and so he wasn’t able to make the preseason portion of it but he’s just been right on fire and picked where he did last year.”

After injuring his left big toe in the offseason he wasn’t going to play but Miller convinced him to return. He injured his right big toe a couple years ago and it lingers.

Despite that, last year Maynard was second team All-State.

Maynard has given up four goals against No. 2 Chino Valley in the Cowboys’ pair of 2-1 losses to the Cougars, but Chino Valley has scored 38 goals in their other five games. Miller thought one of the other goals he gave up was offside.

Although the No. 5 Cowboys’ (7-2) other games have been blowouts in their favor, Maynard has been ready.

“He’s been on fire, he’s really kept us in a lot of close games,” Miller said. “He’s the rock back in our defense. It’s nice to know that even if we get beat, it’s not a guarantee that they’re gonna score.”

Miller Maynard provides leadership to the mostly young Cowboys, like mentoring the younger goalkeepers.

“I definitely think he’s one of the best in the state,” Miller said. “I’ve seen him in one on one play, I’ve seen him on direct kick plays and he has a feel for where the ball’s gonna go, understands the game amazingly, so he knows where to anticipate shots coming from and going to He’s just been amazing.”

VVN: So how do you think the season has been going so far for you guys?

Maynard: Well this year there’s definitely been a decrease in the amount of overall talent, that we lost from last year’s seniors, but one thing that we do have more of this year is team work and so that alone has actually helped us do more than anyone thought we would.

VVN: Being a senior with so many younger players, do you feel even more of an urge to lead than you normally would, even as a goalkeeper?

Maynard: Yeah, I’ve been with coach since my seventh grade summer and I’ve always looked to the upper classmen. I’ve always wanted to help lead the team and now that I’m finally there, it’s kind of a privilege that I’ve been waiting for for a long time.

VVN: How have the result been do you think? Like looking at the Chino Valley games, were those tough to lose that close against a team like that or is it kind of inspiring given that you guys have so many young players?

Maynard: It was inspiring because of the fact that that’s the school that we lost to last year with an entirely different team and to do that again this year with a new team of younger people, it just gives us a lot of hope that we can actually beat them at state.

VVN: How do you think the season’s gone for you personally?

Maynard: Well to begin, I wasn’t originally going to play soccer this year, just will all the stuff I wanted to do, plus I injured myself during the summer but coach ended up persuading me to do so and I did and I wasn’t really prepared for this season. I was kinda riding off my reputation from last year, being the second goalie in state. I’ve done pretty well I guess but I’ve also gotten sick twice already the past two or three weeks, that’s kinda affected me a little bit.

VVN: What’s it like being goalkeeper?

Maynard: Well so far, unless it’s Chino, it’s just a lot of standing. I mean being the goalkeeper is a lot about the defense also in terms of my performance and with Nate Schultz back there in the defense, it’s kinda rare to have shots on me when we’re playing teams like Ash Fork and Payson, stuff like that.

VVN: What kinds of things are thinking about when you’re winning like 6-nil and everything is on their end and you’re just watching?

Maynard: Well when a game’s like that, I definitely come out to the midfield and just kinda hang out there and talk with Nate if Nate’s not doing anything. Because you know, the ball’s usually in the other end but if we’re playing Chino, then I don’t usually come out of the six usually because the balls going back and forth and I always have to be ready.

VVN: Is it hard to focus when there is so much action on the other end?

Maynard: Not so much focus but staying warm. I do a pre warm up before the game and then I’m ready to dive and stuff but after about like 20 minutes of not even touching the ball once and just standing there, I kinda start getting cold and stuff. It affects me if the ball were to come down and I’d have to do something again.

VVN: When did you start reffing?

Maynard: I started reffing when I was 12 and I’ve always just done it. It’s been a family thing. When I was 12 I started with U6 and U8 but now I just got my intermediate certification and I started reffing all the way up to U16.

VVN: Do you think it helps your game?

Maynard: Well having the knowledge of all the fouls and stuff it definitely helps me see things that the referees missed themselves, that they may not have seen but other than that, I can’t really do anything about their calls so I don’t think it really helps me that much.

VVN: Have you always been a goalkeeper? What other positions have you played?

Maynard: Actually, I never even played goalkeeper until my sophomore year of high school. So starting sophomore year, I had never even put on a pair of gloves before that and then my junior year is the year that I really shined.

VVN: What other things are you into besides soccer?

Maynard: Definitely into hunting and all things guns. Definitely into my academics, I love doing well in school and I hope to take that farther into my future. I have a lot of other small hobbies like mountain boarding. I used to do mountain biking but I don’t have one any more and just stuff here and there I guess.

VVN: Finally, have you thought much about what you want to do after high school?

Maynard: Yeah I’m looking at four colleges right now, my two top would be MIT and Embry-Riddle. Both have a soccer team I believe, well I know Embry-Riddle does, I’m not sure about MIT, but if I were to go there, I’d want to play on the soccer team.

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