Former WJ, Miss. State soccer standout playing professionally in Finland
There has been no shortage of great athletes from the Jones County area who have participated in sports all over the country for years and years.
West Jones graduate Carly Mauldin, though, has taken the opportunity to represent Jones County on the international stage, having recently joined a professional women’s soccer team in Finland.
Mauldin graduated high school in 2014, where she helped lead the Lady Mustangs’ soccer team to two Class 5A state championships and one region championship. From there, she went to Mississippi State and started in all 18 matches for the Bulldogs as a freshman midfielder and was voted “Newcomer of the Year” by her teammates. Mauldin went on to start in every match of her collegiate career — 72 in all, which is tied for seventh in MSU history for games started and fifth in school history for the 6,545 minutes she spent on the field in live action.
During her career in Starkville, Mauldin always had aspirations for playing professionally, and her coaches were on board from the start.
“I’ve always had the dream to be a professional soccer player,” said Mauldin, “but I didn’t really believe it could happen until I started playing for State. I honestly never thought about playing overseas until my senior year at State. After talking with my coaches, overseas sounded like a better match for me. So I was 100 percent ready to play anywhere.”
Following her senior season, in which she was selected as second team All-SEC, Mauldin and her coaches began fielding offers.
“I had the videography (department) at State make me a highlight film,” Mauldin said. “My coach found the Finland connection. I started communicating with the Finland coach and it sounded like a great match. When she asked me to join the team, I was filled with excitement.”
Along with the opportunity to play overseas also came several challenges, as the Soso native had to adjust to being in a different culture and environment. Those challenges, however, ultimately made the reward of playing overseas even sweeter.
“I was so nervous about the move,” Mauldin admitted. “I didn’t know anyone in Finland, I didn’t speak the language, and I didn’t know how the team would accept me. But since moving here, it’s been everything I could dream of. The team is awesome. The girls have been so welcoming and helpful. I love the style soccer we play. The coach is great! Finland itself is beautiful.”
Mauldin made the move to Finland in May to join her new team for a season that extends from April through October. The former Lady Mustang’s dream of playing professionally was born as a young age, and now it’s become a reality as she plays out her first season in Finland, competing against world class talent from around the globe.
So far, she has played in four games and started three of those for the team Nurmijärven Jalkapalloseura. She plays defensive midfielder.