PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Port St. Joe senior Rebecca Maddox signed to play soccer in college, despite having five knee surgeries over the course of her four years in high school.

“I don’t take no for an answer, that’s not really my personality,” Maddox said. “So I was just kind of like when there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Maddox began playing soccer at the age of three and never wanted to stop. However, right before her freshman year of high school, her life on the field was turned upside-down.

“So I was at the ECNL National Championship in Seattle,” Maddox said. “And it was rainy and it was muddy, and I slipped and I tore my meniscus and partially tore my MCL.”

Over the course of the next four years, Maddox endured five surgeries, the most extreme being a cadaver transplant of her meniscus and a lower extremity of her femur.

“It was mentally more challenging than physically,” Maddox said. “None of my surgeries were overly painful until the last one, but it was very mentally challenging because obviously, I didn’t want to be sitting in a physical therapy office with a bunch of older people doing leg raises and hip bridges and stuff.”

Despite the difficult road ahead, Maddox went to work on her physical therapy which eventually gave her a new outlook on the sport she loved.

“Sports only last so long,” Maddox said. “Max I get to play until I’m maybe 27, if like everything goes perfectly, and so through this, I think I’ve been able to explore so many different avenues of life.”

But her love for soccer never left. Maddox battled back to get on the field and in her senior year of high school, she scored a team-leading 30 goals in just 18 matches played.

She would up signing a scholarship to play soccer for Goucher College, a Division III program in Baltimore, Maryland, and she chose to have the signing at her physical therapy office to commemorate her journey to get there.

“Signing day I cried,” Maddox said. “It was definitely a very full-circle moment there are really no words to put at it. There’s not a whole lot you can say from 14 years of hard work, from a little girl in bows, to go do what I love collegiately.”