Sometimes people make changes in their lives and sometimes changes are thrust upon them.
It was a case of the latter for Cameron Stanton when her parents, Ashton and Erin, told her the family was moving from the coastal town of North Hampton, N.H., to Orient.
“I was terrified,” she said. “I didn’t know anybody. Actually, I knew a select few number of people, but I really didn’t know what to expect.”
That move was two years ago. Stanton has since found a home and friends playing for the Mattituck/Southold/Greenport girls soccer team.
Now, Stanton said, she wouldn’t change anything.
It’s easy to see why. The junior put in four goals in MSG’s first two games. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a great surprise, given her genetics. Her mother, the former Erin Latham, was a star forward for Southold/Greenport.
“That’s pedigree right there,” said MSG coach Chris Golden, who also coached Erin Latham.
Stanton liked life in New Hampshire and all it had to offer: the beach, fishing, mountains, hiking, skiing. She played for Sea Coast United Soccer Club.
Although her family had spent summers in Orient at the historic Latham family farm (where they currently live), there were so many unknowns for Stanton during a turbulent time. She joined MSG as a freshman midway through the 2021 pandemic-compressed spring season.
“I moved here and I got pulled up to varsity the first day,” she recalled. “I knew nobody. It was my first day at school.”
Stanton said she got in a couple of games as a freshman before starting every game last fall as a sophomore midfielder.
Another significant change occurred recently when assistant coach Joe Tardif noticed Stanton’s striking ability. A decision was made to make use of that skill by moving her to forward. The results so far speak for themselves.
“I love it up top,” Stanton said. She added: “So, this is actually my first year like actually coming out and being able to score some goals. In previous years, I didn’t play as a forward and I really struggled with finding the back of the net. This year has been a big change in that and I’ve been able to score, which is super exciting.”
Stanton chuckled when asked if goal scoring comes easy to her.
“I don’t know if it can come easy,” she said. “I think it definitely gets easier as it goes. You know when to shoot. You know when to like hold it. You know when to wait.”
Stanton immediately showed her quality, bagging a hat trick in a 5-4 season-opening win at Riverhead Aug. 29. Last Wednesday she scored the game’s first goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to Babylon at Mattituck High School. Babylon failed to clear the ball after a header by MSG’s Casey Dickerson. Teammate Allison Heidtmann got a touch on the ball before Stanton fired it in.
“That goal was chaotic,” Stanton said. “I wouldn’t say lucky. It definitely wasn’t lucky, but it ended up with like, I don’t know, 10 people in the box and I was the one that got the shot off.”
Freshman forward Olivia Zehil said Stanton is “a great, great, well-rounded player and she’ll like always look for like the through ball to you, which is great as a player.”
In addition to Stanton, MSG’s other returning starters are Brynn Gardner, Brienna McFarland, Mei Reilly and Casey Szczotka. But Stanton is the only Greenport High School player on the team, giving her the distinction of representing an entire school district by herself.
Golden sees similarities between Stanton and her mother’s playing style “in how she cuts the ball, like feistiness on the field, like the energy, like so much of Erin just in the way she just plays the game.”
Stanton’s introduction to the North Fork may seem like ancient history to her now.
“I was so scared and it wasn’t easy at first,” she said. “It definitely wasn’t, but I actually think that the soccer team was the number one thing that helped me along. My best friends are from the soccer team and that’s how I met them.”
Has Stanton wondered what her life would be like had she remained in New Hampshire?
“That’s a difficult question,” she replied. “Um, I definitely wouldn’t change this for anything. I a hundred percent would choose this path, and this is a path that was obviously meant for me. Being in New Hampshire was different and this is different, too, but it’s a great difference and I love it here and I love the people that I’m surrounded with.”