IMG Academy footballer from Sarasota commits to Florida | sarasota

His right sock goes before his left sock, always.

They are shot as high as they can go; she won’t roll them until she steps onto the court for her game. These are his crampons then, the one on the left put on before the one on the right. Then she wraps her wrists and writes things she doesn’t want to forget, even during a football game: her parents’ names or the phrase “all out ball out”, a reminder to never stop doing his best.

This is how Amelia Malkin prepares. Malkin, a Sarasota native, is a junior soccer player at IMG Academy. Malkin played his previous two seasons at Riverview High before switching to improve his chances of playing for a top college. The leap of faith paid off in December when Malkin committed to Florida.

Sarasota native Amelia Malkin, who plays women’s soccer for IMG Academy, committed to Florida in December. Courtesy picture.

These are not just superstitions for Malkin. They put her at ease. Malkin said she knows firsthand how the mental state of players can affect their performance. You have to be completely in the game to play your best, Malkin said, without thinking about something a friend said to you earlier today or any personal challenges you’re facing. Familiar routines, accompanied by rap music, ensure that Malkin is always ready to give her best.

“You have to believe in yourself,” Malkin said. “Otherwise you won’t go anywhere.”

Malkin is now a Gator, but for a time his fate was uncertain. Malkin, who started playing football at the age of 5, had been emailing colleges to gauge their interest since her freshman year, when she played for both Riverview and the Braden Travel Team. River Soccer Club. She would send coaches her highlight video and team schedules and ask them to come watch her play. The initiative did not yield much. It’s hard to get the time of day with schools, Malkin said, if you don’t start going to ID camps or showcases in your college years so coaches can tell you. see live, what Malkin wants her and her family to achieve. earlier.

The silence of the schools caused inevitable doubts.

“The worst part is when you reach out and the answer…it’s empty,” Malkin said. “You see other people getting answers and then you have a bad game or something. Then there’s no response from a school. I think everyone would get depressed when that happens .”

Sarasota native Amelia Malkin, who plays women’s soccer for IMG Academy, committed to Florida in December. Courtesy picture.

Instead of coming to terms with her situation, Malkin spoke with her family and decided to transfer to IMG Academy. Malkin had previously played with the Ascenders at a few camps at their invitation. She knew the coaches and the players. In the end, she says, the decision was up to the college. Not only did IMG have the connections and influence to reach the elite programs, but the Ascenders players all took the sport as seriously as Malkin. It’s not a game for them; it is their future.

“I love these girls,” Malkin said. “Everyone is competitive all the time. Everyone wants to win. Having that as a team (attitude) takes you further than being around people who don’t always want to play.”

At IMG Academy, the coaches come to the players. Malkin said Florida assistant coach Kyle Venter came to an Ascenders practice in the fall to watch two other players. Malkin took the opportunity to introduce himself. Malkin impressed during practice. She and Venter stayed in touch. A few months later, she was a Gator. Malkin said the ability to play in a top-tier conference like the Southern Conference, along with the school’s strong academics and relatively close distance to home, made Florida an easy choice. As happy as she is to be a Gator, Malkin is also grateful that the recruiting process — which she called a “full-time job” — is now complete.

Now Malkin is focused on improving his own game, as well as his teammates’ games. These things are identical to football, a sport where the good game is almost always the selfless game. As Malkin said, a player can show her heading ability by throwing a long pass, but if it’s inaccurate or doesn’t help the ball forward, it’s basically useless. This dynamic helps IMG players stick together even as many of them try to get the attention of colleges like Malkin.

That’s not to say Malkin doesn’t stand out. Rather the opposite. In her own words, it’s Malkin’s speed in everything she does that sets her apart from other players.

“It’s how fast I can turn and get the ball off my foot,” Malkin said. “Or how I’m going to run as fast as possible to dribble down the line and send the ball into the box. I have speed and I can be the ‘target player’ or the centre-forward.”

Unlike other IMG Academy programs, the boys and girls soccer teams play on a club schedule. This is done for competitive reasons, ensuring that their players always face the best possible competition. For many years, Malkin said, Florida United was considered one of the best programs in the state, if not the best. IMG played United this season, a game Malkin saw as a chance to prove himself against the best. She was determined to score on them. Four minutes into the game, Malkin said, she took a pass and dribbled 18 yards into the box before firing past the United keeper. IMG would lose the match, but the goal was a declaration that Malkin belonged in the spotlight.

It’s one of her favorite football memories, which she thinks she’ll remember forever – even if she creates new ones as the Gator in a few years.

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