KEEPING IT 100

Bird calls milestone a team accomplishment


Madelyn Bird (right) hugs teammate Delanee Olivarri with teammates Kaitlyn Garcia (12) and Kenley Everett (7) joining the celebration after scoring a goal during the 2020 Battle of the Brush Country. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Madelyn Bird (right) hugs teammate Delanee Olivarri with teammates Kaitlyn Garcia (12) and Kenley Everett (7) joining the celebration after scoring a goal during the 2020 Battle of the Brush Country. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Monday, Feb. 3, was just another gameday for senior forward Madelyn Bird and the Pleasanton Women Eagles soccer team at Corpus Christi London.

The senior had no idea she was approaching the career milestone of 100 goals because she’s been focused on the team’s goal for the season.

She picked up her 99th in a 2-1 loss to Wimberley on Jan. toward 31 and her 100th goal in the 3-1 win on Monday, and she found out after the game. She’s the first for the Women

Eagles to reach the mark in program history.

“I tally my goals up at the end of the year.

Obviously, I hadn’t done senior year’s yet,” Bird said. “I hadn’t [added] up freshman to junior year. So, I had no idea that I was near 100. I didn’t think about it.”

Her father, head coach Brant Bird, had tallied up her goals from her previous three seasons entering 2020 and told the secret to a small circle of confidants.

“I’ve known since the beginning of the season,” coach Bird said. “I knew she was getting close. I was hoping she would do it against Wimberley just because we’re rivals with them. I told my wife, I told coach [Wesley] Joseph and Kate [McNeill]. Nobody else knew. I didn’t want to put any undue pressure on her and wanted to keep it a secret.”

Madelyn Bird celebrates a goal by running to her teammates. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Madelyn Bird celebrates a goal by running to her teammates. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The goal was the third and final one for Pleasanton in the non-district win on Monday. Bird beat the defenders with pace on a ricocheted ball from midfield before slotting it inside the far post.

Most of her 100 goals seem like a blur for the humble senior.

However, her first goal in her high school career is the one that stands out most for the former defender. In the 2017 Battle of the Brush Country, Pleasanton trailed by a goal to Canyon Lake.

Bird was moved to forward by her dad “just to see what would happen,” according to Madelyn.

She scored to equalize the match and she stayed up top at forward.

“So, I remember that goal very vividly because it was — I was a freshman, it was like our third game,” Madelyn said. “I remember that one because it started everything else.”

Bird doesn’t like the focus to be on her, though. Her name may be on the score sheet for the goal. But the senior says the moment is one that wouldn’t be possible without her teammates, who she celebrated the milestone with.

“I couldn’t have made any of those goals without my teammates,” Bird said. “My teammates make my goals look so easy. And I think the way they place balls through defenders gives me the 1-v-1 with keepers. The least I can do is score for them, because they worked all the way up through the defense, through the midfield to give me the perfect ball.

It was really important that everybody got in on that picture and that everybody felt like they were a part of that, too, because they were.”

From a parent standpoint, coach Bird was proud to see her reach that accomplishment, but more proud to see his daughter take that time to include each of her teammates on the moment.

“It makes me proud of course, not only for her, but for the girls that surround her, knowing that she can’t do it herself,” coach Bird said. “Yes, she’s the one who gets her name on the scoresheet, but it’s such a team game. I think she recognizes that and everyone on this team recognizes that. So, that’s probably what I’m proud of the most.”

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