As temps fall to freezing and snow begins to drop, that can only mean one thing - soccer is here. Every year, DFW produces some of the best teams and players as they start their quest for April’s UIL state tourney in Georgetown.
Kennedale girls look to three-peat while 5A state runner up Grapevine seeks a return trip. Southlake Carroll ranks No. 2 in the nation led by nine commits.
South Hills grad Esmie Gonzales scored 109 goals last season - will anyone reach that mark? Probably not, but we could see multiple 30 and 40 goal scorers, which would make for a fun year. And let’s not forget about defensive - some top notch defenders and goalies in the area.
Stay tuned for teams and players to watch on the boys side in a few days.
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Teams to Watch
Southlake Carroll: Ranked No. 2 in the state and in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer after 23-2 season in 2015. Nine players committed including Ally Griffin (Texas Tech), Sydney Nobles (Texas), Caroline Berutti (Oklahoma), Neaka Khalilian (Alabama), Alli Gardner (Arkansas), Taylor Tufts (Oklahoma), Brittany Martin (Texas Tech) and Chelsea Ybarra (Mississippi State).
Kennedale: Two-time defending 4A champs lost five seniors including the all-time scoring leader in Allie Thornton, but have nine seniors on this year’s squad including Alondra Olmos, Baylee Gow, Taylor Fox, Cara Hunt and Emmy Hamilton, goalie Sara Isela Calzada (109 saves, 12 goals in 28 games), and sophomore Eryka McIntyre (26 goals in 28 games).
Grapevine: 5A state runner up went 20-7-3 last season, eight seniors this season. Among returning, Sophie Smith (LA Tech), Ashton Wright, Audrey Alderink (DBU) and Haylee Hulse (Central Arkansas), who is on TopDrawerSoccer’s Preseason All America Watch List. Opened 2-0 vs. Keller Central, goals by Smith and Wright.
Arlington Martin: No. 18 Warriors were 23-4-1 last year and one game away from state, lost to champ Flower Mound in overtime in regional final. Double-digit scorers back include Haley Riley (18 goals), Haley Ober (16), Mary Moore (11) and Julie Arriaga (10). Riley and Ober (Central Arkansas) named District 4-6A MVP and Midfielder MVP.
Byron Nelson: No. 6 in the state went 17-2-1 last year – lost 1-0 to state champ Flower Mound. Ansley Bunger (Arkansas) tied for fifth among area teams in goals scored last season, Maddie Turlington (13 goals) and Olenka Soko (6) return. Turlington scored twice in 5-0 opener vs. Belton.
Joshua: Owls went 20-2, won first 17 games. Scored 68 goals and allowed just six plus 18 shutouts. Caylen Wright (MVP), Abril Aguayo, Sidney Deatherage (DEF MVP), Tatum Sutherland (Goalie of the Year), Laura Johnson (DEF NEW) and Chloe Walker (Utility of the Year) among key returners.
Keller: Indians come in at No. 20 in the state. AK Ward (MVP) and Cami Floth (Midfielder MVP) return. North Texas commit Berklee Peters (17 goals) and goalie Mason Rodusky (12 shutouts in 13 games) also back.
Mansfield: Tigers were district champs at 16-4-3. Oklahoma State commit Hannah Webb (MVP), Kendall Boyd (15 goals, all region) and Paige Rotto among returning.
Timber Creek: Falcons made the postseason for the sixth-straight year and return Haley Ward (16 goals), Courtney Sebazco (11), McKenzie Blackburn (9) and Mary Cleek. Ward, Sebazco, Cleek among those scored in opener vs. North Crowley.
Players to Watch
Ally Griffin, Southlake Carroll: Set a school single season record with 49 goals, committed to Texas Tech.
Ansley Bunger, Trophy Club Nelson: Arkansas commit tied for school’s all-time scoring record after scoring in 1-0 win Friday.
Alondra Olmos, Kennedale: Two-time state champ has 49 goals and 54 assists in career. Two goals, three assists in opener vs. Athens.
Haylee Hulse, Grapevine: Central Arkansas commit is a TopDrawerSoccer preseason player to watch.
Hannah Allred/Megan Bettinger, FW Nolan Catholic: SMU commit had 29 goals last season, is among TopDrawerSoccer players to watch. Bettinger scored 18 goals.
AK Ward, Keller: District Co-MVP had 26 goals, committed to Mississippi State.
Meagan North, White Settlement Brewer: Ouachita Baptist commit was District Co-Offensive MVP, 25 goals and 14 assists away from school’s career marks.
Hannah Webb, Mansfield: Co-MVP scored 24 times, committed to Oklahoma State.
Natalie Thomas, Richland: 24 goals scored for the first team selection.
Jackie Garcia, FW Diamond Hill-Jarvis: District Offensive Newcomer set school record with 31 goals.
Eryka McIntyre, Kennedale: In her freshman season, scored 26 times in just 28 games.
Caylen Wright, Joshua: 24 goals, named District MVP as a freshman.
McKenna Saul, Burleson: 20 goals last season, Utility MVP and all region.
Heaven Conner/Jessica Davault, Mansfield Legacy: Scored 19 and 17 goals last season for the Broncos.
Kaily Orr, Arlington: District 4-6A Offensive MVP had 18 goals for the Colts.
Madi Garza, Birdville: Midfielder MVP scored 17 times for Hawks.
Brooke Jones/Petyon Laughley, Aledo: Scored 14 goals apiece for Bearcats. Laughley is committed to Arkansas Little Rock.
Amy Rambo, Crowley: First team all district pick had 24 goals.
Jordan Michie/Brennan Reuland, Lamar: Scored 18 and 14 goals for Vikings.
Sidney Deatherage, Joshua; Caiti Broccoli, Lake Ridge: Both named Defensive MVP for their district, both named to Star Telegram all area team.
Brooke Davis/Chelsie Rodriguez, Burleson Centennial: Davis signed to Navarro College, Rodriguez (first team all district) scored twice in opener.
Tatum Sutherland, Joshua
Sara Isela Calzada, Kennedale
Kyleigh Hall, Legacy
Madison Martin, Southlake Carroll
Mason Rodusky, Keller
Julia Mashburn, Burleson
Mackenzie Covington, Aledo
Laycee Carpenter, Lamar
Bella Whitmire, Martin
Kayley Williams, Brewer
Kaitlyn Dill, Grapevine
Abby Williams, Boswell