Haley Bodden ’16 began her soccer career by playing weekly in a house league at Community Park. Twelve years later, she’s a co-captain of the PHS team and a two-time All-American selection, chosen by the High School All-American Soccer Association.
When Bodden isn’t playing alongside her peers at PHS, she competes with her club, Princeton Soccer Association. “We have tournaments and league games. We’re in the national pool league so it’s really high up there,” Bodden said. “In the spring it’s really intense. We have practice four times a week and games so it’s basically my life.”
Before finding her place on her current club team, Bodden played on the Princeton Futsal Club team. She switched to PSA because it was more competitive, and she saw it as an important step in her development as a soccer player.
“There definitely was a big difference in terms of skill and how competitive the teams were … Once I switched, I knew more about the game,” Bodden said.
After four years on the varsity team, Bodden is now a co–captain, drawing on professional players as inspiration on how to lead. Bodden has idolized profession soccer player Mia Hamm since she began playing. “She inspires me to push and be great,” Bodden said. “I’ve always wanted to be like her.”
“She’s really learned what it means to be a strong female player on the field and also being a great teammate and role model,” said Head Coach Valerie Rodriguez. “I think she sets the tone in practice and in games in terms of the seriousness and the commitment we need to be successful. She’s got a strong voice and she’s had that since her freshman year.”
As part of being a leader, Bodden has had to mature on the field.
“I’ve always been short-tempered on the field, and I definitely [show] emotions on the field,” Bodden said. “I’ve definitely learned to keep my emotions inside and be positive.”
Looking back at soccer in high school, Bodden names last year’s game against Hightstown High School as one of the highlights of her career. The team won in double overtime, when Bodden crossed the ball into the box, setting up a shot for Taylor Lis ’16. “That was a great moment because Hightstown is one of [our rivals], and for us to beat them in double overtime was really exciting,” Bodden said. “We all ran out into the field, and it was crazy.”
After graduation, Bodden looks forward to playing at The College of New Jersey at the Division III level. Bodden said,“I love the coach [and] they’re one of the top DIII schools, so it should be great.”