Maddie Vincent signs with Grizzlies

Maddie Vincent is coming back to Montana.

The Butte native who has lived the last 12 years in Iowa recently signed to play soccer for the University of Montana.

“I’m so excited about it,” Vincent said this week.

Vincent, 18, was born in Butte and attended the first half of her kindergarten school year at Hillcrest Elementary. She is the daughter of Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Matt Vincent and the granddaughter of long-time Butte sportswriter Hudson Willse.

This fall, she’ll be a Grizzly.

Vincent, who lived in Missoula while her mother, Chanda Willse, earned a degree from UM, comes back to the Treasure State with an impressive athletic resume.

She played goalkeeper for Valley High in West Des Moines. In 2010, the Tigers won the Class 2A State title.

The 5-foot-7 Vincent is currently playing on the Iowa Rush’s U18 team. The Rush won the Iowa State Cup and will host a regional tournament in Des Moines starting Saturday.

“It’s the first time regionals has ever been in Des Moines,” Vincent said.

Vincent played for the Rush after Grizzly coach mark Plakorus recommended she try out for the team during a camp in Missoula last year.

“Maddie was here for camp last summer, and I liked her athleticism and her desire to learn and get better. And she is just a great competitor,” Plakorus said. “Her club team is run by a friend of mine from my time at Iowa, and his opinion means something to me. I talked to him a couple of times about Maddie, and he said she was coming along very, very well and thought she was someone who can come in and compete and continue growing as a goalkeeper.”

Playing for the Rush, which is a step up from the prep level, meant Vincent didn’t play for her Valley High team during her senior season.

“It was hard not to play with the school team,” she said. “It worked out better in the end.”

Vincent also played basketball and ran cross country at Valley High. She earned eight academic all-conference selections.

In cross country, Vincent saved her best for last. She qualified for the State meet and ran her fastest race ever at the biggest meet of the year.

“My fastest time was at the state meet,” Vincent said. “I don’t remember what it was, but that’s definitely a good race to go out on.”

Vincent’s first love in sports, though, is playing goal keeper.

She scrapped playing on the field and turned her attention full-time to goal keeper in junior high.

“I like the physicalness of it,” she said. “When there’s a corner I get to come out and shove people around. I love diving and throwing my body around.”

Vincent is hoping to have a chance to do that for the Grizzlies as early as this fall. While there’s a chance she could redshirt her freshman year in Missoula, Vincent is focusing on the possibility of contributing at the Division I level right away.

“Our coach said the goal keeper position is the most open position on the team,” she said. “We’ve got to battle it out and see what happens.”

Vincent will double major in journalism and environmental studies at UM. She said she inherited a passion for writing that was passed down from her grandfather and father.

“I love to write,” she said.

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