August 27, 2008
By David Driver
For the Stafford County Sun
Used with permission
STAFFORD — Stafford’s Max King was about 11 years old when she first met Diane Drake, a veteran soccer coach.
Drake was conducting a camp at Goucher College in Maryland. And later King attended camps run by Drake at Georgetown University and George Mason University.
“I want to be a soccer coach. That is my ultimate goal,” King said. “I have always looked up to her in that way. I have always looked to her as a role model.”
King, a graduate of North Stafford High School, has again followed Drake. King is a freshman on the women’s soccer team at George Mason, which began its season under Drake on Aug. 23 with a 5-0 loss at the University of Maryland against the Terps.
“She is a warrior. She plays like she is eight inches taller than she is,” said Drake, who added King should see plenty of playing time off the bench this season. King played as a reserve against Maryland.
King, a midfielder, graduated early from North Stafford and took 15 credit hours in the spring semester at Mason and worked out with the Patriots.
“This (fall) I feel a lot more comfortable,” said King, who plans to major in exercise science and will take 13 credits this fall. “I graduated early and came in the spr ing to play. Diane talked to me about doing it, so I get used to the classes and balancing that with soccer.”
King is not the only Stafford product who will be a freshman on a women’s soccer team this fall at a Division I school in Virginia. Colonial Forge grad Jordan Zarone is a freshman defender at James Madison, which like Mason is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
“They have been eye-opening,” Zarone said of the first few weeks of practice at JMU. “It is a totally different level, obviously. It is demanding. (Playing time) is going to have to be earned.”
Zarone was also recruited by West Point, Bucknell and Lehigh. Her brother, Jake, will be a junior at Colonial Forge this year and he runs cross country and track.
JMU is slated to host Mason on Sept. 26 in Harrisonburg. King will turn 19 a few days later. “I am kind of excited. It is nice to play against players who are familiar,” said Zarone, who plans to major in biology. She came off the bench and saw action for JMU in a pre-season win against VMI.
King and Zarone, who played against each other in high school, could have been college teammates. King was recruited by JMU, along with CAA schools William & Mary and Old Dominion. She also attracted attention from Harvard, Brown, St. Bonaventure, Alabama and East Tennessee.
Drake said King is the first player she has coached in college that graduated from high school early. “It just seemed natural. She was ready. She is far more relaxed” this fall, said Drake, in her fifth year at Mason after five years as a Georgetown coach.
King, who overcame a serious head injury in high school, is no stranger to different locales. Her father, Doug, is in the Marines. She was born in California and lived in New York and Japan before moving back to Virginia for her freshman year at North Stafford.
King was all-district three times in soccer and was a team captain for the Wolverines. She earned a letter in field hockey, was selected to the all-academic team and gained a spot on the honor roll. She played club soccer for the Richmond Strikers and was a member of the Virginia Olympic Development program.
Mason plays Aug. 29 at UNC-Greensboro and Aug. 31 at Virginia Tech. The Dukes host Washington State on Aug. 29 and Syracuse on Aug. 31.