Who We Are: Madison Goerlinger
When freshmen first arrive on college campuses each fall, many do so looking to gain knowledge in their desired career path and to grow as a person. There are many ways to accomplish both of those objectives, but for Madison Goerlinger, she has used soccer to help her in both areas.
She arrived at Arizona in the fall of 2019 from Orange, California and played over 1300 minutes as a midfielder in her first season at UA. She even scored two goals that season as the Wildcats advanced all the way to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In year two, she was once again among the team leaders in minutes played and scored a goal against UCLA in a season that was pushed to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was after that second season when Goerlinger and the Wildcats had to navigate their way through a coaching change.
"Obviously a coaching change can have a lot of unknowns," said Goerlinger. "But I think being an upperclassmen when it happened allowed me to show my character and a lot of leadership. I realized it was on us as players to create the environment for the younger players to know what it takes to compete in the Pac-12 and juggle everything else that comes with being a student-athlete."
When the dust settled, head coach Becca Moros was hired and Goerliner had to adjust to a new style of play just like everyone else. But she also dealt with playing a new position, moving to the back line as a defender.
"I am lucky enough to play a lot of positions," Goerlinger said. "I have been able to adapt to those positions throughout the years. I just love being on the field and I take pride in having the versatility to play wherever the team needs me."
Following a junior year where she led the Wildcats in assists, Goerlinger entered the 2022 season with two goals for the fall – lead Arizona back to the NCAA Tournament and complete her undergraduate degree a semester early.
On the field, she continues to lead by example, earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week the first week of the 2022 season after Arizona opened with a 2-0 record.
She says that she was able to get in the position to graduate this fall because she stayed motivated in the summer and over the holiday break, taking classes to stay ahead. Unsure of what she wants to do with her degree in Family Studies in Human Development after college, Goerlinger is still undecided the option to return to the pitch for another season.
That's a decision that will come later.
For now, she is focused on helping the Wildcats continue their upward trend and battle each time out against the top teams in the Pac-12 Conference. Goerlinger knows there will be highs and lows during a season, she has seen them many times during her time in Tucson.
"Throughout my experience so far," Goerlinger recalled, "there have been a lot of ups and some downs. But you know that going into it when you play a competitive sport, and I wouldn't change it for the world."
So what has allowed her to grow during her career?
"From Athletic Director Dave Heeke all the way down through the athletic department, the sense of community that everyone has is so special," says Goerlinger. "Everyone takes pride in Arizona and is supportive of one another. You always get everyone's best, which allows you to improve as a player on the pitch and in the classroom."