Northampton’s Peyton Pettiford-Rowan signs with UConn women’s soccer

  • Northampton native and Northfield Mount Hermon student Peyton Pettiford-Rowan signs her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at UConn during a ceremony at Forslund Gymnasium on Nov. 18. GLENN MARSHALL/NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON

  • Peyton Pettiford-Rowan, of Northampton, plays for Northfield Mount Hermon during a scrimmage against the school’s boys junior varsity team at Compton Family Field on Oct. 20. GLENN MARSHALL/NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON

  • Peyton Pettiford-Rowan, of Northampton, plays for Northfield Mount Hermon during a scrimmage against the school’s boys junior varsity team at Compton Family Field on Oct. 20. GLENN MARSHALL/NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2020 1:56:46 PM
Modified: 12/3/2020 1:56:35 PM

Peyton Pettiford-Rowan, of Northampton, doesn’t look like a Division I soccer player off the pitch. The Northfield Mount Hermon senior isn’t blazing fast or especially tall.

But put her between the touchlines, and her place at the next level becomes unquestioned.

“She is a genius,” said Northfield Mount Hermon coach Peter Albright, who led the Richmond women’s soccer program for more than two decades. “She has a way of processing movement among her teammates and her opponents and understanding how to get the ball to the right place that is very advanced.”

Pettiford-Rowan is a classic attacking center midfielder, the No. 10. She breaks defenses, finding pockets of space to score goals and set up her teammates. After signing with UConn during the early signing period, she’ll occupy that same role in Storrs, Connecticut, starting next season.

“That’s one of the things that’s so exciting at UConn,” Pettiford-Rowan said. “The coach has said ‘that’s where we want you to play, we want you to be our number 10.’”

She’ll slot into a possession-oriented, quick-passing team that plays to her strengths.

“It was everything that I wanted,” Pettiford-Rowan said.

Committing to a Division I program marked the culmination of a life spent on the pitch. She spent two years as a Blue Devil before transferring to Northfield Mount Hermon. Pettiford-Rowan passed many of her weekends at club tournaments with New England FC. Homework waited until after the drive home.

“That was really it,” she said. “Being able to commit to a DI school shows all my hard work paid off.”

Pettiford-Rowan also considered Division I programs UMass and Rhode Island as well as some Division III schools in the NESCAC.

“UConn stood out,” she said.

The Huskies haven’t hit the field yet in 2020 after the Big East postponed its season to the spring. They went 6-8-3 in 2019.

Not playing as much soccer in the fall has been strange for Pettiford-Rowan. She and her club team played over the summer and participated in a Thanksgiving tournament over the weekend with other teams from Massachusetts. But Northfield Mount Hermon didn’t have a traditional fall season. The Hoggers practiced and played intersquad games, and they scrimmaged the boys junior varsity team.

“It was a challenge for all of our players. Peyton just met it head on,” Albright said. “She rose to the challenge, loved making kids miss, loved exposing imbalances in their defense.”

She showed she could handle a team with players that were bigger, stronger or faster than her. Once she steps on the field at UConn, that won’t matter. Her and understanding of the game will remain.

“If you have a high soccer IQ and a real understanding of movement and spacing and really good feet, you’ll never be at a disadvantage,” Albright said.




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