It’s safe to say Macie Renner had an auspicious start in soccer.
“I was actually three years old, on a co-ed team,” the Robbinsville High senior said. “I remember one practice, we were doing this thing we had to pass through the coach’s legs, and I kicked the ball right off her butt. That’s one of my biggest memories. I was just laughing. She was just smiling, but she was probably mad at me a little bit.”
Fortunately, everyone’s butts have been spared since then, but Renner is still someone to be worried about on the field, especially by the opposition. A four-year varsity performer, Renner takes versatility to a new level.
In fact, is there anything she can’t do?
“Not that I have figured out,” coach Kaitlyn Curran said. “She’s kind of like a band-aid. You put her somewhere, and she will figure out how to fix it.”
When asked what she thought of being termed a medicine cabinet item, Renner chuckled.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I guess that’s very nice of her. I think it’s kind of accurate. Whatever I have to do, I’ll do it.”
Let us count the ways she does it.
“She’s just that very reliable, go-to kid,” Curran said. “She’s aggressive out of the air; her height (5-foot-9-1/2) helps her. She’s also fluid when playing balls on the ground. As a sophomore, she was at midfield, last year she was at center back. This year I’m not quite sure where she’s going to land but I know where ever she does end up she’ll be the best at it. She hasn’t played up front yet, but it’s always a possibility.”
After further contemplation, Curran came up with more Renner abilities.
“She did such a great job last year in the back because she is a great leader and can see the field and give directions as she is seeing it,” the coach continued. “She’s also good at 50-50 balls and distributing balls makes her a good midfielder. She also has a hard shot. Last year she scored a goal on a restart 37 yards out. I know she can finish; so up top is always a possibility. If not, I know she can put the ball on frame 20 yards out from the goal. She is definitely somebody I’m very lucky to have.”
‘In addition to having Macie as an athlete, having her on the roster as a human being is really nice.’
Her abilities aren’t limited to the pitch. Renner actually played lacrosse up through her junior year, but stepped away to focus her attention fully on soccer.
Outside the athletic arena, Renner has a 3.6 grade point average and is on the yearbook committee. She is undecided on college for now, and says she will continue to play soccer only if it’s the right fit. Her No. 1 choice is the University of Delaware, and she is thinking of a career in journalism or something else in the writing field.
“She’s such a good kid,” Curran said. “She’s great in the classroom, she’s just that all-around, very well rounded student. She comes from a great family.”
After her butt-bashing debut in Robbinsville recreation soccer, Renner went on to play soccer for the Robbinsville Rush, the GAK and the Mercer FC before ending up with the Player Development Academy in Westhampton. While she has been moved around on the field with the Ravens, her main position was in the back for club soccer.
“I love defense, that’s my favorite spot on the field,” Curran said. “I feel like the back four, we all have the same brain, if that makes sense. We all have to move up together and shift our shape and stuff like that. And I just like to protect the goal.”
Upon saying that, she quickly added, “(Curran’s) been playing me at center-mid in practices, and I don’t really care where I am, as long as I’m on the field with my teammates.”
As Curran mentioned, Renner is dangerous offensively in the air or on the ground.
“You have to be aggressive on headers,” Renner said. “You can’t be scared of it, if you are, you’re going to get hurt and you’re not going to do well around the ball. I’m not the best jumper but I think my height helps me out, and my aggressiveness.”
Renner would be an outstanding weapon in the box for her team’s corner kicks. The only problem is, she is the one delivering them.
“Her corners are phenomenal,” Curran said. “If we could have gotten on the end of her corners and finished them, she probably would have had 45 or 50 assists. Her corners are right on point. If you ask her to drop one in somewhere, she can drop it on the dime.”
Her powerful leg also makes her valuable on re-starts.
“When I was younger, I would take most of the free kicks,” she said. “I think I’ve always had a big foot. On corner kicks, you have to place it between 18 and the six, so that’s what I try to do.”
During her first two seasons, Renner’s big foot wasn’t accompanied by a big mouth. That’s something Curran has seen evolve as well.
“Her freshman and sophomore year, she was more quiet on the field,” the coach said. “Last year, I told her, ‘I’m gonna need you to step up and gonna need you to be vocal.’ She did that, she found her voice, and she continued that this year, too.”
Robbinsville is coming off an 8-8-1 season in which it reached the second round of the Central Jersey Group II tournament. Renner feels things can improve this year with Curran having a year’s experience under her belt.
“I think she’s a very good coach and very passionate about the game we play,” Renner said. “She’s obviously on the sidelines, but I feel she’s always on the field with us. She’s really good.”
Sounds like a mutual admiration society between player and coach.
“In addition to having Macie as an athlete, having her on the roster as a human being is really nice,“ Curran said.
So is having her as an inanimate object at times.
“She does,” Curran said, “make a good band-aid when you need something fixed.”