From Idaho to the national championship: Two former youth stars met in the NCAA finals

·3 min read

Emily Madril and Olivia Smith first made a name for themselves on the Treasure Valley’s soccer fields. But the former local stars found themselves on a much larger stage Monday — the NCAA Division I national championship.

Both started and played the full 110 minutes before Madril and her Florida State women’s soccer team topped Smith and BYU 4-3 on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw in Santa Clara, California.

Madril and Smith both played their youth club soccer at what is now the Boise Timbers Thorns. Madril helped lead Centennial High to the 5A state runner-up finish her freshman year in 2013 before moving to Florida. Smith graduated from Eagle High in 2019.

Madril quickly broke out after moving to Florida, earning the state’s Miss Soccer award as the best player in the state. She started 20 games as a college freshman before back-to-back ACL injuries forced her to miss the 2018 and 2019 seasons, including Florida State’s 2018 national championship.

The center-back was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year this fall, starting every game and anchoring a Seminoles back line that allowed only 13 goals in 25 games. That defensive dominance included a single goal allowed in six NCAA Tournament matches.

Madril is also a semifinalist this year for the MAC Hermann Trophy, the top award in Division I soccer.

Smith led the 5A SIC in scoring with 18 goals and 12 assists as a senior in 2018. The midfielder/defender redshirted her freshman year at BYU before starting 12 of 13 games last season during a COVID-shortened campaign.

She remained a freshman this fall, where she started every game for the country’s highest-scoring team. Smith finished the season with a goal and seven assists

Both Madril and Smith featured heavily in Monday’s game. Madril made a sliding tackle at the edge of the 6-yard box in the 15th minute to rob BYU of one of its best scoring chances. Then in the 80th minute, Smith provided the Cougars another potential chance with a cross, but teammate Jamie Shepherd sent it over the crossbar.

AN IDAHOAN IN THE MLS CHAMPIONSHIP

Idaho will also have a native son in the MLS Cup Final when the Portland Timbers host New York City FC at 1 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

Blake Bodily made his first MLS start in April and has appeared in nine games this season with the Timbers. That includes a last-minute substitution in Portland’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference finals Sunday.

Portland previously loaned the 23-year-old midfielder to USL club San Diego Loyal but recalled him in October. He’s since made four appearances off the bench.

Bodily also played for what is the Boise Timbers Thorns youth soccer club. He spent his first two years at Eagle High before joining the Timbers youth academy.

He is just the second Idaho native to play in an MLS game. Logan Emory, a Centennial grad, played 26 games for Toronto FC from 2012-13.

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