Growing up with older sisters that played, longtime Spokane Sounders player Grace Martinson – to no surprise – started playing as soon as she could walk. Now after 10 years with the club she is continuing to follow in the footsteps of her sisters by playing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Though her sisters Ashtin and Riley played there, Grace “chose ERAU because of their flight program that they have there, which will set me up very well for my future career.”

In preparing for her future, the dominant and versatile player actually took a step back this past year and joined the DPL squad as she also worked towards a pilot’s license.

As usual, she was a key component for the back line just as she was at Deer Park, where she also continued the family legacy of success on the pitch as well, the pinnacle of which was a state championship in her junior season.

“My favorite soccer moment was getting to win a state title with some of my favorite people at Deer Park in 2021.”

A pair of those players are also fellow club alumni Ella Carnahan, who is joining her at ERAU, and Livvy Moore, who is at Oregon.

“I’ve played with Ella Carnahan for the past four years in high school and when we were little and now I get to play with her for another four years in college. I played high school soccer with Livvy Moore for three years and club soccer for 6-7 years and there truly is nothin like playing soccer with Livvy Moore.”

Grace, a GA Talent ID selection with the club, enjoyed quite the career with her school, earning All-League honors in the NEA in 2019, 2020 and 2022 along with NEA Defensive MVP and All-State honors her senior season.

And that success was not without sacrifice or determination according to her father Jim Martinson.

“Gracelynn played her entire sophomore season with a broken foot and didn’t know it. After the season she got an x-ray, and it was confirmed. Another month passed before the pain was finally too much for her. An MRI confirmed torn ligaments that peeled a chunk of bone at its insertion. She ended up having her ankle reconstructed the summer before her junior year. Shes tough! BTW, she broke her arm shortly after her junior year started and yep, she didn’t know it for several weeks.”

Playing through injury – known or unknown – is just a part of Grace pushing herself through lessons from club soccer.

“Hard work starts when your mind starts saying ‘you can’t do it anymore,’” is a mantra from Kevin Moon that made an impression on her. “I think that that is such an important thing to think about because if you truly want to improve and get better you have to push your body past it’s normal limit.”

Grace was very thankful for the coaches she has played under.

“I wanna give a huge thanks to Simon Thompson. I had Simon for two years and he was so uplifting and really helped me appreciate myself and how I played as a player. I wanna thank Kevin Moon for making me a very disciplined player and always pushing me harder than I thought I could go. And of course, I wanna thank Noah White for giving me such a fun last soccer season with the club. Playing under these coaches was truly a blessing and that’s why Spokane Sounders will always be different from any other soccer club.”

The club community was something she said she would miss greatly.

“Definitely the family that the Sounders club has. It’s such a big soccer community and everyone always welcomes everyone else with open arms and that’s just something you don’t see very often.”

In that spirit, Grace offered some advice for players still in the club, noting that younger players should “make friends! Be outgoing with your teammates because if you’re here for the long run these will be your friends for life and you just don’t know it,” and that older players should “just have fun. It’s okay to mess up and it’s okay to struggle, but don’t focus on just your mistakes. Find what you did well and grow off of that. Don’t dwell on mistakes you can fix in the next game or next pass.”

Quick Hits

Favorite Road Trip Traditions:

“Every Friday my dad and I would drive over to Seattle and always get Panda Express and watch Family Feud in the hotel room.”

Favorite Road Trip Memory:

“My favorite trip memory would be going to Florida with the 03/04 team and going to the beach and swimming when K Dog said no swimming.”

Favorite Club Soccer Moment:

“My favorite club soccer memory was celebrating a big goal that we scored in California with the 03/04 GA team.”

Favorite Soccer Players:

“My favorite soccer player is probably Crystal Dunn, just because she’s such a diverse player and played lots of forward before settling into an outside defender.”

Favorite Soccer Teams:


Important Lesson Learned:

“You can only control how you respond on the field and that response better be a good one.”

Parent POV – Jim Martinson

“Grace has been playing ever since she could walk. She was always trying to be like her older sisters. She started organized soccer when she was five or six,” said her father about the early moments.

And after many years of watching her play, the pinnacle moment in his memories came during her state championship run.

“Watching her win the high school state championship her junior year. She had the assist to her best friend Ella in the 1-0 win.”

In between there was a lot of growth.

“Gracelynn has become a complete player over the years. She spent time with many coaches who used her as a utility player before she really settled in as a center back. She learned how to play on both sides of the ball, how to be a play maker, and read the game well during those years.”

And the growth was not only in her game.

“Gracelynn is a compassionate person. Almost to a fault. If you have watched her play, you have seen her check on any person who is struggling including her opponents. She puts others before herself. She has grown into a leader and understands and has empathy for her teammates.



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