From the chanting of the fans to the energy of the players, gamedays at Ludwig Field
are familiar to University of Maryland midfielder Cody Albrecht.
As a Calverton, Md., native, and son of a Maryland alumnus, Albrecht grew up admiring Terps soccer.
“He was Mr. Maryland,” said Albrecht’s father, Paul, remembering his son’s
childhood bedroom painted red and white with Maryland state flag accents.
The boy’s excitement for the university and passion for the sport only continued to grow.
As a young player, Albrecht attended each Maryland men’s soccer game with pride, marveling at the team’s talent and technique. Years later, he is no longer a spectator, but a captain of the 2016 Terrapin team, contributing his own chronicle to the Maryland soccer legacy.
“It was a dream come true to call myself a Terp,” said Albrecht. This accomplishment, however, was not without contest. After attending a university out of state and overcoming multiple injuries, the experienced midfielder is finishing his collegiate soccer career back at home, with the Maryland squad.
A graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School, Albrecht earned four regional Player of the Year honors and was selected as the Gatorade Maryland Boys Player of the Year. As a senior, he set a Maryland state record in assists, and led his team to complete an undefeated season, winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championship. Multiple collegiate programs showed interest in adding Albrecht to their roster, which challenged him to consider all of the opportunities the institutions had to offer.
“I was looking for a perfect fit when it came to both academics and athletics,” said Albrecht. “I looked for a school that valued me.”
Ultimately, Albrecht chose St. John’s University in New York to advance his soccer skills, as well as his studies. The first-year student-athlete would soon understand, however, that he would learn some of life’s most valuable lessons outside of the classroom.
On the second day of preseason as a true freshman with the Red Storm, Albrecht tore the ACL in his left knee. Though he would spend his season on the sidelines, he vowed to be healthy for the following year.
Rehabilitated and ready to begin his collegiate soccer career, Albrecht entered preseason for his second year at SJU as a starter, this time tearing the ACL in his right knee. The repeat misfortune, however, did not deter the persistent player.
“The first words out of his mouth were ‘I’m coming back,’” said Laurie Albrecht, Cody’s mother, on her son’s decision to continue to play after his second injury. Albrecht refused to let a physical technicality interfere with his goals.
Just weeks into recovering from the initial surgery, however, doctors told Albrecht that a lack of remedial progress in his knee required a second operation. When this additional procedure failed to fix Albrecht’s condition, he looked to loved ones to help him overcome this health hurdle.
“There were always times where you thought that playing may not come back,” said Albrecht. “My family and my friends were always here to help me, telling me that there were brighter days ahead.”
Albrecht’s mother recalls this time as one of the lowest points in her son’s athletic career. In addition to a support system preaching positive thoughts, she delivered words of experience, having torn both left and right ACL’s herself as a basketball player for George Washington University. Albrecht’s reality required extensive effort and unyielding drive, but he was not in it alone.
“We worked as a family, together,” said Albrecht’s father, explaining a physical and emotional group involvement in the soccer player’s recovery.
Soon after the second surgery on his right knee, Albrecht proved to his physicians that he could perform the parameters to try to return to the game. With his family behind him and a promising path ahead, he went forward with training, striving to become an impact player, even better than before.
Albrecht made his first appearance for the Red Storm in the team’s 2013 season opener and appeared in all 20 games that season. Though he finished his undergraduate studies at SJU, earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Albrecht was only halfway through his collegiate athletic career.
“The two years of eligibility opened the door for me to come back home,” said Albrecht. He carefully contemplated graduate school options, but the conclusion to choose Maryland was natural.
“There’s a certain pride that comes with playing for your home school in your home state,” said the native Marylander.
Echoing his son’s earlier sentiments, Paul Albrecht noted the significance of the soccer player’s current career position with the Terps.
“It’s a dream come true for all of us,” he said. He added that this situation is even more surreal, observing that the injuries that his son sustained are the very reason why he can now play for the University of Maryland.
The perceived negatives of Albrecht’s athletic journey actually catalyzed the fulfillment of a lifelong goal.
Since his return to Maryland, the midfielder has helped the Terps defeat ranked opponents and has posted assists in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
From post-injury to post-graduate, the captain competes in his final collegiate season with the Terps while pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. While considering career prospects both on and off the field, Albrecht, learning from his experiences with expectations, now looks at the future with an open mind.
“To be honest, I’m just really excited to get this year going,” said Albrecht. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Excited for the possibilities ahead of him, Albrecht knows that appreciating life in the moment is as equally as important. Whenever he takes the field with the Terps, he never takes it for granted.
Through a player’s lens of surmounting injury, multi-team experience, and the knowledge of an approaching new beginning, Mr. Maryland shares his thoughts and thanks on his closing season at home: “You really just get to cherish the game, to play with your best friends, and do what you love.”
Made In Maryland is a special presentation of umterps.com.
Alyssa Haduck is a junior majoring in communications and romance languages at the University of Maryland and is a contributing writer to umterps.com.
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