For four years, Emily Midura has been an ever-improving, always-solid midfielder for the Nottingham High girls’ soccer team. But when a player like Gia Girman became her teammate, Midura was not going to get too many headlines.
That’s what happens when you’re playing with someone who has scored 75 goals in less than three full seasons.
And yet, the girl with all those goals knows better than anyone how important Midura is to the Northstars’ cause.
“She is a key player to our team,” said Girman before suffering a season-ending injury against Princeton Oct. 19. “I do get noticed for scoring but, honestly, without her I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. She really brings the spirit every game. She comes out and plays hard every game and is a huge part of our team.”
At the time Girman got hurt, she had amassed an eye-popping 25 goals in 16 games. That will grab a lot of attention, but a quick look at Midura’s stats show some equally impressive numbers. Over the same time, the senior had 10 goals and 11 assists, including a run of eight goals and five assists during a three-game winning streak. As of Oct. 21, she was sixth in the Colonial Valley Conference in scoring with 31 points.
“The goal scorer is always going to get the publicity, that’s just kind of how it is,” Northstars coach Christie Fink said. “But Emily does what she needs to do, and I think she’s helping the team in every possible way she can.
“She’s probably only about 5-2. She has great vision, she’s a great center-mid. She sees things before they’re even happening, and that’s what you need to do in that position. She wins 50-50 balls that she has no business winning at her height, but she just times everything and knows everything because she knows the game. That’s something that’s rare.”
Midura has been honing her game by playing since “whatever age you’re allowed to start.” She began in recreation ball and moved on to play travel ball with the Wildcats, Hot Shots, PDA and now, the New Jersey Rush. She has pretty much been a midfielder all her life, which follows the family legacy as big brother Matt played center-mid for Nottingham and is now playing for the University of Gettysburg.
Not surprisingly, the Miduras lawn served as a battleground.
“We played in the backyard together, we were always competition for each other,” Midura said. “They were tough (match-ups). He was a really, really good player so I always looked up to him. It definitely helped me playing against him.”
Fink and Midura arrived at Nottingham together in the fall of 2016, with the first-year coach putting Emily on varsity as a freshman.
“I liked her touch,” Fink said. “She could dribble from side to side, front to back. She’s just a good soccer player. She plays with confidence and she’s helped us from the beginning.”
Midura responded with a respectable three goals and three assists as a 9th-grader.
“I was obviously hoping to make varsity, but I didn’t expect to have such an impact because I was a freshman, and I just wanted to do whatever I could for the team,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was going to be like going in so I just did the best that I could, and I was really happy with how I did.”
She received help from sophomore Ivonne Vasquez, who evolved into one of the team’s top performers before graduating last year.
“It was definitely scary for me because I never played in a varsity game before,” Midura said. “Playing with Ivonne, she’s a really skilled player and she kind of gave me confidence to play with her. Her and the rest of the team helped me, but especially Ivonne.”
The following year, Girman entered the program. Her presence sparked Midura, who scored four goals as a sophomore, and Midura aided her.
“It helped me work harder because I saw how hard she worked, and the effort she put in,” Midura said. “I looked up to her even though she was a year younger than me. She really helped me get more confident in myself.”
High praise indeed, but Girman returned the compliment.
“When I’m frustrated on the field or when I’m down, she always told me to keep my head,” Girman said. “She will tell me the fight is on the field, getting upset is not worth it and to just keep going.”
Last year, the Gia-Emily-Ivonne trio exploded for a combined 53 goals and 30 assists as the Northstars had their best season in years with a 13-5 record. Midura contributed 10 goals and four assists to the cause.
“Emily is able to get the ball to Gia with a nice touch, and they definitely play well off each other,” said Fink, whose team was 7-8-1 after an MCT loss to Princeton. “When it was Gia, Ivonne and Emily they were connecting big time in there.”
This year, Lauren Ahern has taken over for Vasquez, and Fink said, “Ivonne and Emily were a good pair but Lauren and her are playing great together so that’s nice to see.”
Midura plays both ends of the field but considers herself more of an attacking midfielder, saying “I like to play a lot of through balls and I like to score when I can.”
She has done just that, and been part of a girls’ soccer renaissance at Nottingham.
“I know before I joined the team we didn’t have that many wins, but just the group that came in my year, we were all good players and we worked together well,” Midura said. “We wanted to make it something special. I think we took it to the next level.”
Fink has enjoyed overseeing it all.
“It’s funny,” she said. “I started four years ago, Emily was like my little baby, and now she’s a senior, and it’s been really fun to watch he grow as a player, confidence-wise. I would say she’s gotten a little calmer and a little more confident in knowing she can take it to the goal and score. That’s a great attribute for a center-mid to have. She’s putting balls in the back of the net and connecting. It’s been great to watch her grow and mature as a player and person.”
Midura keeps busy beyond the pitch, as she also plays basketball and is involved with Hamilton NEWS, the Red Cross Club and the Key Club. She is looking to play soccer in college and has scheduled visits for when the season ends.
“I definitely want to play,” she said. “And I was thinking of (majoring in) maybe teaching or something environmental. I took a class and really liked learning about the environment.”
And if it’s a soccer environment, all the better.