Lauletta’s League Lowdown: Injuries and Iceland
When she departed for Iceland, Makoski set herself a definitive goal of returning to play in WPS in 2012. Inking a deal with the league champion Flash fulfills that goal.
— Dan Lauletta
Things were looking up for Manya Makoski in January 2010. She was in Philadelphia modeling the new away jerseys for the Los Angeles Sol. Earlier in the day the club had enjoyed a productive draft and was set to head into the season favored to defend its regular season championship. Makoski never would have guessed that her next competitive match that counted would be played in Iceland.
“Everything seemed right,” she recalled recently. “I was excited to go back to the team again. We had most of the girls back and we had our staff back. We were all very excited about that. It was a few weeks after that we found out what was going on.”
Makoski was lucky enough to get selected by the Atlanta Beat in the dispersal draft, but then a training camp injury left her knee and her season in ruins.
“It was the fourth day of pre-season with the Beat in a scrimmage against Kennesaw State. You never think that will happen to you but once it happened it was like ‘Yup, I did it.’ There is nothing anyone can say to you that will make it better. It’s one of those things where it happens and you handle it the best you can and you put 100% into your rehab.”
Makoski could have elected to rehab the injury without surgery and possibly return for the end of 2010. In the end she elected to go with surgery, putting long-term health over the possibility of getting in a few games at season’s end.
“I didn’t want to rush coming back. It wasn’t really worth coming back for one or two games at the end of the season. In talking to the doctors and the coaching staff and my trainer, it was the right decision to just have the surgery and follow everything the way it was supposed to be. You see a lot of players that are so anxious to come back because they want to play. I wanted to be smart about my career and think about the future. I have many more years ahead of me and I didn’t want to mess that up.”
Yet instead of landing a job back in WPS in 2011, Makoski caught on with Thor/KA in Iceland.
“I wanted to use that season as a confidence builder and to get my game back to 100 percent,” said Makoski, who promptly netted a hat trick in her first league match.
When she departed for Iceland, Makoski set herself a definitive goal of returning to play in WPS in 2012. Inking a deal with the league champion Flash fulfills that goal. In doing so she took advantage of what was a shaky market during the temporary stalemate between the league and US Soccer.
“I had the opportunity to sign and I just went with it,” she said, adding that chats with several players and coach Aaran Lines helped seal the deal. “It’s exactly where I wanted to go. It was a perfect fit for me.”
Makoski played forward in Iceland but has her eye on returning to the more familiar role of outside back once the season gets going in upstate New York. And there could be an opening in the starting 11 with Rebecca Moros having departed for the Beat.
“It’s going to be a challenging environment for me,” Makoski said.
As for her time in Iceland, Makoski has fond memories of what is known by those who have been there as one of the world’s most visually appealing lands.
“Iceland is probably the most gorgeous country I have visited. Everything is very natural, very pure, beautiful. The mountains, water, and farms all over the place. Living in a foreign country is always going to be difficult but overall it was a good experience. I loved being there.”
And about that surgically repaired knee?
“It’s 100%. It feels great.”