Smiths Station senior midfielder Midanah Penda will get a chance today in Montgomery to match her skills against some of the top soccer players in the state in the Alabama All-Star Sports Week girls soccer all-star game.
The game, which will be played at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex, is a part of the 16th annual Alabama All-Star Sports Week put on by the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
The week started Monday with a baseball doubleheader Monday, a softball doubleheader and boys and girls soccer matches today, a girls and boys basketball twinbill Wednesday before being capped off with a volleyball match and football game Thursday.
All of the all-star teams are made up of the top rising seniors in Alabama and teams are divided into the North and South All-Stars.
"It's exciting for her to be selected," said Smiths Station coach Michael Blom. "We don't always get somebody selected and it's a big pool of teams to draw from."
Pendah, who was a second team All-Bi-City selection this spring, was selected for the game by a committee after being nominated by one of the coaches in the state.
She helped lead the Lady Panthers to the Alabama High School Association Class 6A state playoffs this spring, where they fell to eventual state semifinalist Prattville in the first round.
"She's an asset to our program in a lot of respects," Blom said. "Some are intangible in terms of her personality. She's always upbeat and always has something going on with a quick comment to get everybody laughing. She's very bright with an excellent GPA and very athletic in terms of her natural ability. Midanah works hard on the field and helps disrupt the other team's play. I know she gets tired, but it never shows. She has great stamina and she continued to grow as a player as the season went along. That's why it was so rewarding to see her get selected for the all-star game."
Penda helped Smiths Station post six shutouts this season from her outside midfield position, and she added four goals on the offensive end of the pitch as well.
"This match really is a showcase of players who are some of the finest student-athletes in the state," Blom said. "I expect there will be a lot of college coaches on hand to get a look at some of the players as they try to get ready for their next recruiting class."
So, does Blom see Penda as a potential collegiate-level soccer player? Blom said yes, in the right academic and athletic situation.
"I do see her playing in college," said Blom. "I see her as a role-player in college and there's a number of smaller schools that I could see her with. A lot depends on her college choice. Her academic schedule next year will prepare her for college, but fashion design is her big thing and she wants to go somewhere that's offered. However, we've found some schools that offer that curriculum and could offer her a chance to play."