Three years ago, when Ru Sweeney was a coach for the Acton-Boxborough (Mass.) High School boys team, he watched Maya Mathis play for the girls’ side.
Mathis was a freshman on the backline, but Sweeney wondered how she’d fare in more of a playmaking role. Funny enough, when Sweeney became the girls’ coach in 2020, he learned Mathis had the same idea.
"(I was) just thinking to myself where would you play her -- she’s one of the better players even as a freshman," Sweeney said. "When I took over, I started her in the midfield, and we had a conversation before the year. She’s like, 'Is there any way I can not play center back?'"