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Renegades keeper calls this a development year

Micaela Stone laughs when asked if she ever played another position beside keeper during her soccer career. “It was my choice (to play in goal) — I don’t like to run that much.” The 18-year-old from Camrose has turned into one of the top young female goaltenders in the province, playing with the Red Deer Renegades of the Alberta Major Soccer League and with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Micaela Stone laughs when asked if she ever played another position beside keeper during her soccer career.

“It was my choice (to play in goal) — I don’t like to run that much.”

The 18-year-old from Camrose has turned into one of the top young female goaltenders in the province, playing with the Red Deer Renegades of the Alberta Major Soccer League and with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Stone and Chantal Park share goaltending duties with the Renegades. Park also plays out.

“She’s good at that while it would be hazardous for me to be out there,” added Stone with a smile.

Stone grew up playing minor soccer in Camrose, helping to win three Tier III provincial championships.

“My dad was into soccer so he got me involved and he also helped coach me in Camrose,” explained Stone.

But to get better competition, she decided to travel to Red Deer a couple of years ago and play with the U18 Renegades program.

“It was a higher level … a step forward,” she said. “It worked out — I played both indoor and outdoor and we had success.”

Several former members of the U18 team are now with the major league squad.

“It’s nice as I know a lot of the players … it makes it more comfortable.”

Stone saw brief action with the major league squad last season, as did Park.

“But this is my first full season and it’s been good,” she said. “We have a very young team and even have a couple of 15-year-olds, which makes it tough when we’re up against teams in Edmonton and Calgary who have players from the University of Alberta and Calgary, who have national experience.

“But this is a high development year for me. We’ve had some tough games, but that’s fine. As a keeper you want to be busy and there’s always something to work on. Every time out. I can work on crosses, headers . . . other stuff.

“You just have to shake off the results and move on to the next game, the next play.”

At close to five-foot-11, Stone uses her height to advantage.

“My size is intimidating a bit,” she said. “My reactions are also a strength — and I’m vocal. I can be a leader from the back end.”

Renegades head coach Paul Morigeau sees that as a definite strength.

“Both Micaela and Chantal are really good leaders, which is important. You need that from your goalies. Micaela has a great attitude. I know last year she didn’t play much at university, but earlier this year we played Lethbridge and most of their team was university of Lethbridge players. Micaela gave up only one goal on probably 20 shots and that was a third rebound. She had to make an impression. I know we’re lucky to have her and Chantal.”

Stone saw brief action with the Pronghorns last year, starting one game and playing half of another. She allowed five goals for the last-place Pronghorns.

“As a first-year player with three keepers, I didn’t expect to play much,” she said. “This year, with a year of development with the Renegades, I hope to play more.”

Stone briefly considered playing for RDC but “they didn’t have the (academic) program I was looking for.” She’s in kinesiology but wants to be a physiotherapist, and “hopefully” work in soccer.

“I like the city (Lethbridge) and they had the program I wanted, so it worked out,” Stone said. “I did have a couple of other schools contact me, but once again it just didn’t fit.”

Stone will likely continue to play with the Renegades as she works toward her degree in Lethbridge.

“The only stressor is the travel (from Camrose) as it takes five or six hours to travel and train, or play, but we do car pool as much as possible, so that helps. As well, when we play in Edmonton it’s a lot closer for me. The toughest is Calgary or Lethbridge.”

The Renegades, who are 0-9-1 on the season, finish their home schedule against the Edmonton Scottish Angels on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Edgar Park.

drode@reddeeeradvocate.com

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