Athlete of Week: NMB’s Hudson goes the distance

nmbgsoc-7The North Myrtle Beach High girls soccer program was in need of a nice kick start, and the Lady Chiefs got it from an unlikely source more than 8,000 miles away – Hadley Hudson from New Zealand.

The junior midfielder made the long move last year and she has been helping the program reach new heights ever since. She scored five goals in two games last week to earn the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week Award.

“I was born here and we moved to New Zealand when I was 3 so I didn’t remember anything about it,” Hudson explained of her 12-year tour to the other side of the planet. “We moved back my in sophomore year so it was a bit of a transition.”

Both in the classroom and on the pitch. After playing soccer at an advanced level in New Zealand, where Hudson played year-round for school, club and federation programs, Hudson had to make the adjustment to a team that had struggled in a tough region. Hudson has not only helped raise the team’s level of play; she has also been a big part of bringing it together.

“The biggest adjustment was soccer. I was used to playing all year and every weekend,” Hudson said, pointing out the more seasonal American sports calendar. “School was a hard transition because I had to retake a lot of classes that didn’t count here. … (Socially) I made friends quickly. I think people just wanted to get to know the girl from the other side of the world.”

Hudson made a tight circle of friends on the soccer team and has played a role in bringing squad closer together to reach their goals of a Region 7-4A title. She led the team with 41 goals last season, but has put more focus on spreading the ball around to her teammates this season.

“We’re definitely stronger as a team this season. We’re working together more as a team than as indivudals,” Hudson said. “Last year I was more of an attacking midfielder and scoring goals where as this year I’m trying to be more of an assist maker. We have to have good teamwork to compete in our region with St. James and Myrtle Beach. I think if we continue to work hard we can get there.”

Now that Hudson has found a new home at North Myrtle Beach, she hopes to take the Lady Chiefs to the next level with a region title before she graduates. If anyone knows what it takes to go the distance, it’s the well-traveled Hudson.

Photo by Louis E. Keiner

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