Central Dauphin’s Maya Williams overcame limitations in high school to earn a field hockey scholarship from Hofstra University

After Maya Williams fractured her hip in seventh grade, she had to decide what she wanted to do next.

Swimming was her first athletic love. But her injury had affected her hips to the point that her mobility wasn’t improving in the water. It became unavoidable.  

“My hips weren’t rotating,” Williams said. “I was in a lot of pain. In the beginning, I wanted to swim in college.”

Five years later, Williams’ outlook changed. She was able to overcome her limitations and enjoy playing field hockey. That love from a starting freshman to a senior captain at Central Dauphin is now taking her to Hofstra University on a scholarship.

“I fell in love with field hockey,” she said. “I started my freshman year. We went very far, and it was such a fun experience. I wasn’t really looking at field hockey schools until mid-way through sophomore year.”

Williams, whose hustle often forces her competitors to up their game, visited the university this summer. She first met the head coach and then returned for an official visit in September. That’s when she met the team.

“I love the team,” Williams said. “I love the coach. This is where I want to be. I left on a Friday night and hung out with them during the day before the game. I went to practice with them. Went to breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them for the two days I was there.”

Hofstra is on Long Island in New York, which Williams said she’s excited about.

“My aunt lives 10 minutes away,” she said. “I’ve been there a lot. I like that New York City is right there and the beach is right there. I’m really excited to be in a different setting around different people. There are always things that are scary about the city, but there are also concerts, festivals, and that kind of thing. I like to chill and hang out and do some spontaneous fun things.”

Williams admitted she’s going to miss her family, especially her younger sister Kayden. Kayden had a standout soccer year for the Rams.

“She likes soccer and field hockey a lot,” Williams said. “We had a big family conversation about her possibly playing field hockey with me. She was thinking about playing field hockey this year. I was super excited to play with her. But I know how good she is in soccer, and I want the best for her.”

Central Dauphin, in Harrisburg, ended its 2022 season against Lower Dauphin in the District 3 quarterfinals. Rams head coach Jen Burns told FAN after the team’s loss that they will miss her next year. Williams provided quality leadership to her teammates, Burns said.  

The way that Williams connected with Hofstra was unusual.


Williams had a growing list of programs contacting her. But she didn’t jump into any commitments her junior year. This summer, she went to the NEXUS tournament, which is USA Field Hockey’s Olympic Pathway Program. While at the Virginia Beach complex, she sustained an injury and couldn’t finish the tournament.

She was, however, able to meet a lot of coaches. Up until that point, she had spent months trying to figure out where she wanted to go. And, then Hofstra’s coach popped up on Instagram. The head coach saw Williams at a field hockey showcase and then began to follow her.

“I didn’t think about Hofstra,” Williams said. “We connected and I went to visit. It was such a random thing. I wasn’t even looking.”

Now that Williams has decided, she’s also trying to figure out her major.

“I’m back and forth,” she said. “I was thinking occupational or physical therapy. But then I think sports broadcasting. They are two completely different things, so I’m going in undecided. I just know I want to do something in sports. After hurting my hip, I had to be in physical therapy four days a week. My PT helped me so much, I want to be that person who helps someone else.”

Field hockey runs in the Williams family. Her mom, Jackie, who played at West Chester, was a volunteer coach for the Rams this season. Before Williams was born, she also had coached several of the Rams junior varsity squads.

“She has helped me so much,” Williams said. “And has literally made me the person I am today. I think she’s super excited. She’s already talking about coming to the games. She is just as excited as I am.”

Williams said she’s the kind of person who takes everything in stride. The recruiting process can be long and tedious, but there are bigger things to think about, she said.

“Honestly, one thing about this entire game of winning and losing, and then the recruiting process, and high school itself, it was not easy my sophomore and junior years,” she said. “But I like living in the moment. If something isn’t going to matter in five years, then don’t waste five minutes thinking about it. Don’t fixate on the moment. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. That’s really something I try to live by.”

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