Captain Comeback

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(Photo Credit: AlexisFoto,

Payten Beebee was ready for her Senior year season.  She had worked hard all summer to get into the best shape of her life.  This was the second year with their new head coach, a coach that had led them to the district playoffs the year before.  Her teammates had all been playing together since their early club soccer days. She was a captain of the team and this was going to be the year it all fell into place.  Then, just like that it was all in jeopardy……. Injury.


Like many kids, Payten tried most sports when she was younger.  Soccer turned out to be the one she liked the most. She had a lot of friends that were also playing and that social aspect was one of the most important things that made it fun to her.  She says she wasn’t naturally good at it and it wasn’t until she learned how important a work ethic was to the game, that she fell in love with it. She has stuck with it ever since.

“Hey, I actually have to run if I want to get to the ball.”

From Kindergarten to third grade she played with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).  From there she spent three seasons with the St. Johns Soccer Club and the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL).  She played one year for Lansing Rush before going on to the Premier Soccer Group, which eventually merged into the Nationals Soccer Team.  

The injury that put the hard work she had put in during the off season in jeopardy, that put her senior season in jeopardy, was a tough one to initially diagnose. The hit was felt mostly in the hip at first.  The next day it became apparent that it was the knee that took most of the damage.  

Paytens mother consoles her as they wait for the diagnosis.

The first thoughts were Meniscus tear, in fact the family had the pre-op paperwork signed and for a week they were preparing for that.  At one point they also thought it could be an ACL tear which is usually a six month recovery time period. So, when a scope revealed that it was a Plica Knee Joint injury, the outlook suddenly changed.  The tissue inside her knee had folded up and became unravelled and thickened, causing constant pain and limited mobility. However, once the doctors at Sparrow SMG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine were able to cut the damaged tissue out, they knew the recovery time could be shortened.  It would be up to Payten, and how hard she wanted to work for it to get back.

Paytens recovery required time, hard work and people who motivated and believed in her.  After her surgery on October 26th, she had two weeks to heal. From there it was four weeks of physical therapy at K-13 Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, working on getting her mobility back.  After that, she was able to start working on getting her strength back.  For the next two months, Tuesdays and Thursdays were spent with the team in the weight room at school.  Mondays and Wednesdays were spent at Snap Fitness with Robb Miller, trainer at Get Big Fitness.


When we asked her what the motivation was to comeback, it was obvious that personal and team goals both fueled the fire.

“Last year wasn’t a bad season for me, but it definitely wasn’t great either.  After High School was over for the year, I took the summer and got into a lot better shape.  I worked really hard over the summer and when I got injured, all the hard work went away.”

“I need to get it back.”

“I’ve got something to prove this year.”

“As a captain of this team, I can’t be falling behind everyone else.  I need to be one of the hardest workers. I need to show everybody that hard work is important.”  As long as you’re working hard, pretty much anything is possible. You need to have that mindset not just for yourself, but the whole team also.”

St. Johns fans have a lot to look forward to when the Spring Soccer season starts next week.  Haslett, Mason and Dewitt are the teams that are always our toughest competition, but Payten believes Coach Sibilski will be the difference they need to set them apart this season.  

“We’ve had really good players for a long time, our coach has made the difference for us.  He has a completely different style of coaching. He knows alot about the game and the plays he has for us have helped us get to a higher level.  Last year we made it to the District Semi-Finals. Two years ago it was the District Finals. Expectations have changed.”

The team has ten or more seniors returning for their final season with St. Johns.  They play summer and winter leagues together in the off-season. They have been together for a long time. They are ready.

We’ve been playing together since we were young.  We have a strong connection. The younger girls on the team, we’re all like a big family at this point.  We work really well together so I’m excited to see how far we can go this year.”  

If the team’s motivation is anything like your motivation to come back, you’r going to go a long way.  We’re certainly going to be in the stands….. enjoying the show.

SJHS Girls Varsity Soccer Schedule

Payten Beebee ‘20
3.96 GPA
Plans to attend Central Michigan University or Saginaw Valley State University
Plans to study Occupational Therapy
Planning to play Club or Intramural Soccer

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