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GIRLS SOCCER: Top players starting to shine through pack


BY DAN STICKRADT

WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR

Twitter: @MiSoccerNetwork


With a bevy of returning All-State players or those who have signed with various colleges, including NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA schools, talent abounds in all corners of the state of Michigan.

There is a change this season with the way the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association selects its All-District, All-Region and All-State teams, as there will be at least a minimum amount of back line players selected to each team which should bolster the spotlight for many high-level center backs and outside marking backs on the high school pitch.


Three rounds of emails were sent out to the 460-plus high schools in the state which sponsor girls soccer and hundreds of emails and conversations were conducted over the last several months with high school and club coaches talking about some of the top players suiting up on the 2024 high school circuit in Michigan.

Here are some of the more notable names that high school and club coaches from around the state pointed to during the preseason and early into the 2024 campaign as high school girls soccer players to watch:

 

TOP 45 FIELD PLAYERS

KENDALL AIKENS, Hudsonville sr. M: A two-time All-State First Team standout, Aikens turned down some NCAA Division I offers to become one of NCAA Division II national powerhouse Grand Valley State University’s prized recruits at that level. The Olympic Developmental Program national pool player is one of Michigan’s best and entered the 2024 campaign as a bona fide Miss Soccer candidate for last year’s Division 1 state runner-up. The field general and Michigan Rangers club product is both a great scorer and set-up person on the attack for the top-ranked Division I team in the state. Her team has been a consistent top-15 team in Division I the last three years and quite capable of making a third straight deep run into the tourn ament with Aikens running the show from her center midfield position.

GABRELLE ANULARE, New Baltimore Anchor Bay sr. M: One of several Michigan players from the Class of 2024 or 2025 headed for NCAA Division I University of Toledo of the Mid-American Conference, Anulare was a huge part of the Tars’ run to the Division 1 regional finals last season. Named All-State First Team a year ago as well as All-Macomb Area Conference-Red Division, All-District, All-Region and All-Macomb County, Anulare was Team MVP with her Liverpool FC ECNL club team and a three-time All-District and two-time All-Macomb Area Conference-Red Division player on the high school circuit. She is the engine that makes Anchor Bay go in the midfield and quite capable of leading her high school to another deep postseason run. She plays club ball for Liverpool FC International Academy at the ECNL level.

KAYLA BARR, Plainwell sr. F: Playing in the shadows the last coupled of years of some NCAA Division I recruits, Barr still went on to earn Division 2 All-State First Team honors as a junior for a Final Four team. This year she runs the show for the Trojans, who are again one of the best teams in the state in Division 2. She is exceptionally fast on or without the ball and one of Michigan’s top pure goal scorers. Barr is bucking the trend and not going the NCAA Division I route, instead signing with NAIA national powerhouse Spring Arbor University where she hopes to light up the scoreboard at the collegiate level as well.

TALIE BURNS, Novi sr. D/M: Although unsigned entering April, Burns is a dynamic, versatile player both defensively and on the attack that always can be counted on to make plays on the pitch. The fourth-year starter, who also plays club ball with the Michigan Jaguars, is unsigned with a college soccer program despite being an NCAA Division I and Division II recruit. Her family is moving to Colorado this summer, so her next year will be in flux. Her ability on the soccer pitch is not as she has always been a standout on the pitch. Last year Burns was All-KLAA, All-District, All-Region, All-Area and Division 1 All-State Third Team and should even be higher this year.



GRACE CAMERON, Flint Powers Catholic sr. CB: The anchor of the Chargers’ stout back line, this multi-year All-State standout, including Division 3 All-State First Team honoree, will take her talents to NCAA Division I Central Michigan University after numerous college offers. Not before Cameron and her Powers teammates take care of some unsettled business. One of the leaders of a Final Four team from last year, Cameron is one of the state’s top center backs who hopes to lead her team to a state title this year. She is one of the finalists for Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year and an All-State Dream Team candidate this year.

CAMERON COLE, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s sr. M/F: In just the third year for the program and Cole has helped put St. Mary’s on the map as a respectable program. The four-sport athlete and signee with NCAA Division I University of Toledo has set the bar in terms of goals in a game, season and career and could hit 100 career goals before the season ends. The attacking midfielder/forward, who also excels with Liverpool FC on the ECNL club level, can finish in traffic or from distance and is also a crafty playmaker. She gives the school its first legitimate All-State First Team and Dream Team candidate. Last year Cole earned All-State Third team honors in Division 2 and is a two-time All-State player.

KENDALL CROTEAU, Grand Blanc sr. CB: Croteau has been asked to do a lot more this season after Grand Blanc lost 13 players to graduation off its Division 1 district championship team that reached then the regional finals. The Liverpool FC product signed with NCAA Division I Illinois State University of the Missouri Valley Conference and the fourth-year starter has been a rock-solid anchor of the Bobcats’ back line. An All-State Honorable Mention selection last year, Croteau and other top center backs and marking backs across the state will benefit greatly this year as the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association adding a defensemen category on its All-District, All-Region and All-State teams that mandate at least a certain amount of back line players make each list. Croteau is a three-time All-Saginaw Valley League choice and three-time All-District selection. She is also a former ODP state team member and invited to the ODP Midwest camp a few times in her career.

CLAIRE DAUER, Birmingham Marian soph. M: Part of an exceptional sophomore class in the state of Michigan, Dauer earned All-State Second Team honors as a freshman for a team that won CHSL-Central Division, CHSL-Bishop tournament and Division 2 district titles. The ECNL standout with Liverpool FC, Dauer has what her coaching staff describes is great vision, incredible technique and a game-changer when she is in full swing and attack mode. The sky is the limit for this budding prospect.

LAUREN DEJONCKHEERE, Troy Athens jr. M/F: Some might struggle to pronounce her last name, but there’s no denying, DeJonckheere’s ability on the field as both a playmaker or finisher in the attack. Named Division 1 All-State First Team as a sophomore, DeJonckheere led her team in goals and points last season and could again this season. A workhorse all over the field, DeJonckheere, plays club ball with Nationals ECNL and is a future NCAA Division I recruit as one of the state’s top juniors.

ALYSE DAAVETTILA, Hartland sr. F: One of just a small handful of players left over from the 2021 Division 1 state championship team, Daavettila is a great weapon to have roaming up top and the Eagles have reaped the benefits this season with her presence on the pitch. She is one of the leading point producers for a Division 1 top-15 program that is shooting for KLAA-West Division and district crowns if not more this season. Last year Daavettila earned All-KLAA, All-District, All-Region, All-Livingston County and Division 1 All-State Third Team and they way she is playing and the way Hartland is playing as whole should be much higher on the state postseason lists. The Michigan Hawks-Magic ECNL standout has been scoring in bunches and spending a lot of time in the spotlight. She is listed as unsigned on various national recruiting boards but could end up at a NCAA Division I or Division II program in the future. Who doesn’t want a player known for scoring big goals in big games at the club and high school levels?

ELLA DYKSTRA, St. Joseph sr. M/F: A former Olympic Developmental Program National Team pool player while in eighth and ninth grade, this is Dykstra’s first season of playing high school soccer. Headed for NCAA Division I University of Kentucky of the Southeastern Conference, the two-sport athlete who also plays basketball, left her ECNL club team from Midwest United to give her one season at the high school level and she has more than delivered for a Division 2 top-15 ranked team. The standout is scoring and setting up teammates in bunches and has become a heavily marked player on the attack.

RYLEE FELTON, Milford sr. F: Headed for NCAA Division I University of Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference, this fourth-year starter has helped the Mavericks become a legitimate Division 1 program and helped make her team contenders in the Lakes Valley Conference as part of the best two-year un in school history. She is a three-time Michigan ODP team member and also a standout player for the Michigan Hawks-Magic ECNL team. Last year the striker earned All-LVC And All-District honors and will be should be high on the All-State lists this year.


SARAH FROMM, Utica sr. F: The fourth-year starter rang up the scoreboard 22 times last year and is putting up quality numbers this season for a team that hopes to claim the Macomb Area Conference-White Division championship. Headed for NCAA Division II national powerhouse Grand Valley State University, Fromm hails from the Michigan Burn club system and on the high school circuit deploys great speed and finishing abilities which helped her land a spot on the All-Mac-White Division, All-District, All-Region and Division 1 All-State Honorable Mention honors and that came out of one of the state’s deepest districts in terms of teams and individual talent last year which produced the eventual state champion. Fromm waited behind several high-quality players last season and should be much higher this year.

CLAIRE GONYEA, Trenton sr. F: Another future NCAA Division I athlete for Eastern Michigan University, Gonyea is one of the top players to ever don the Trenton jersey. She scored 22 goals with 10 assists last year and entered the year with 49 career tallies and already on target to add to that total for one of the state’s top Division 2 teams. She is a pure goal scorer at the high school and Michigan Jaguars National League club team and played three years of varsity basketball. She is on course to lead her high school team to a fourth straight Downriver League title and helped the basketball team win three conference titles. Last year Gonyea led Trenton to the regional finals in soccer.

ZARAH GRIFFIN, Pinckney sr. M: This Michigan Jaguars product has steadily climbed the ranks on the high school circuit and helped place Pinckney on the map during that time. She was All-State Honorable Mention as a sophomore and really exploded during her junior year as a field general. She helped the Pirates win the Southeastern Conference-White Division title and helped the school win its first Division 2 district championship in school history before advancing to the regional finals. Griffin earned All-SEC-White Division, All-Livingston County, All-District, All-Region and All-State Second Team and could be higher this season if Pinckney continues to excel. She entered the season on the unsigned list.

CLAIRE HAMMILL, Salem sr. M: After spending the last couple of years solely playing for the Michigan Hawks 10-month program in the ECNL, Hammill returns to the high school game as a senior and is one of the stars for a top-15 team in Division 1. Headed for the Big Ten Conference and Rutgers University, Hammill was expected and has lived up to her billing as a dynamic playmaker with great field vision during the first portion of the season and could be one of those players that could lead the Rocks on a long postseason journey. Hammill will also suit up this summer for AFC Flint of the USL-W League.

EMMA HENRY, Bloomfield Hills jr. M/F: A third-year starter, Henry was named All-State Second Team as a sophomore when her team claimed a district championship and All-State Honorable Mention as a freshman when the Blackhawks captured to Division 1 state title. The Liverpool FC ECNL standout was recruited by numerous NCAA Division I schools but has already given a verbal to NCAA Division I University of Detroit-Mercy to help with that school’s rebuild and still has 1.5 years of high school and club soccer still to go. 


Pictures provided by St Marys

MIA HESLEY, Portage Central sr. D/M: If defense wins championships than Hesley and her teammates prove that theory. The Mustangs are contenders this season for both the regular season and tournament titles in the deep Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference and won the championship and district title a year ago. Part of a team that reached the Division 1 regional finals the last two years, Hesley would nothing more to lead her team to a state title for the first time since 2009. The center back was Division 1 All-State Honorable Mention last year along with All-Kalamazoo Area, All-SMAC First Team, All-District and All-Region and should be much higher on those lists. Hesley is tough as nails and a great ball winner and quite difficult to beat on her side of the field and quite lethal on set pieces as well. After the first seven games, Hasley and the Mustangs recorded five shutouts and conceded just two goals, while last year Portage Central allowed only 14 goals in 21 games with 10 shutouts and a 0.67 team goals-against average for a 15-3-3 side.

ALLISON HOOKS, Milford sr. D: Another player that will benefit greatly from the MIHSSCA adding more spots for center backs and outside backs on their All-District, All-Region and All-State teams, Hook shas been a big part of the Mavericks resurgence on the soccer pitch both last year and this year. Hooks has started well over 100 games for Milford without much statewide fanfare but the Michigan Hawks ECNL player was heavily recruited and recently signed with NCAA Division I Miami University-Ohio of the Mid-American Conference. She led her team to a runner-up finish in the Lakes Valley Conference last season and into the league title chance this season for the Mavericks, who started the year with a 7-1-0 record, six shutouts and a 35-5 scoring edge. Teams are simply having difficulty scoring on Milford with Hooks in the backfield. On the club circuit, Hooks also made the All-Conference Second Team lists on the ECNL circuit playing with the Hawks and to the Midwest finals in the ECNL tournament last summer.

OLIVIA JASNIEWICZ, Troy soph. M/F: Every year a player comes out of left field and absolutely shines on either the club or high school scene or both. Jasniewicz fits that bill. The Canadian transfer at Troy via Windsor, Ontario, came over to the U.S. last fall and has made quite an impression on coaches in the club season and early going of the high school campaign with her all around ability as a likely future NCAA Division I-level player. She is fast, powerful, can defend, set up teammates and can flat-out score. Troy opened the first few weeks unbeaten and Jasniewicz has been one of the top players in the loaded Oakland Activities Association-Red Division. The Liverpool FC ECNL standout also played varsity basketball this past winter for the Colts, who on the soccer pitch are one of the best teams in the state in Division 1.

LACI JERNIGAN, Dexter sr. M: Jernigan earned All-State Third Team honors in Division 1 last season and this year Dexter is down in Division 2 for the postseason and should be much higher this season. That doesn’t tell the whole story. Dexter plays against much larger schools each year and in the Southeastern Conference-Red Division and in non-league games and Jernigan has always excelled in her four-year varsity career. She is already a two-time All-Area, All-SEC-Red Division, All-District and All-Region honoree and could still end up on a college roster in the future.

OLIVIA KARKABA, Dearborn sr. M: Dearborn has enjoyed a little bit of a renaissance on the soccer pitch early this season and Karkaba is a big part of that success. A Division 1 All-State Third Team choice last season where she also earned All-Area, All-Kensington Lakes Activities Association, All-District and All-Area honors, Karkaba ended her recruiting period earlier this school year by choosing NCAA Division I University of Detroit-Mercy of the Horizon League and will help in that college program’s rebuild as well. On the high school pitch, Karkaba is another gifted playmaker with great vision and the ability to score, set teammates up and defend all while trying to lead her team to KLAA-East Division and a district championship over the next month.

AVA LUDKE, Hudsonville Unity Christian jr. F/M: Much like 2022 and 2023 Miss Soccer winner Lilley Bosley of Rochester Stoney Creek, Ludke is a top 100 recruit nationally in her class and recently committed to NCAA Division I Michigan State University of the Big Ten Conference. The two-time All-State First Team honoree and All-State Dream Team selection has led the Crusaders in scoring the last two seasons, including 28 goals and 17 assists last season, and entered the 2024 campaign as a Miss Soccer candidate despite being a junior. Ludke is as gifted as they come, a workaholic on the pitch who never seems to stop moving, can score in a variety of ways, set up teammates, win head balls and can defend. She led Unity Christian to its 11th Division 3 state crown last June and is a two-time MSYSA state cup champion on the club side with the Michigan Rangers.

GRACIE LYNN, East Grand Rapids soph. M: A standout with her Midwest United FC ECNL club team, the first of two Lynn twins burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2023 and helped steal the spotlight away  right away. Gracie Lynn had a goal and an assists in the state finals last season and finished with 21 goals and 20 assists for the Division 2 state runner-up Pioneers. And again she was a freshman. Lynn earned All-Ottawa Kent Conference-White Division honors but because East Grand Rapids was not a member of the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association in 2022-23, she sadly did not receive any honors at the district, regional or state levels despite enjoying a season worthy of All-State First Team status. Both Lynn twins are already NCAA Division I recruits and as a few different OKC coaches said earlier this year that both twins will be high Division I-level players once they reach the collegiate soccer ranks.

REESE LYNN, East Grand Rapids soph. M: Reese Lynn helps give the opposition twice the nightmares playing alongside her twin Gracie Lynn. She too had a goal and an assist in last year’s state finals and finished with 19 goals and 19 assists for her State runner-up side. Much like her twin Gracie Lynn, Reese Lynn earned All-Ottawa Kent Conference-White Division honors but because East Grand Rapids was not a member of the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association in 2022-23, she sadly did not receive any honors at the district, regional or state levels despite enjoying a season worthy of All-State First Team status. Everything comes in twos for this pair who help give the Pioneers and their Midwest United ECNL club team a chance every time they step onto the field. Reese Lynn deploys great vision, ability to beat players 1-v1, can finish, set up teammates and just draw attention from the opposition whenever on the pitch. Ditto for her twin Gracie. East Grand Rapids again is a top-10 staple in the Division 2 state rankings during the opening weeks of the campaign and that should not change as the Pioneers are playing a challenging non-league and OKC-White schedule this season.

HELENA MCLELLAN, Northville sr. M/F: Ever heard of having the Midas Touch? Something happens when McLellan touches the ball, things happen. After earning a bevy of postseason awards last season including All-Kensington Lakes Activities Association-West Division, All-District, All-Region, All-Area and Division 1 All-State First Team for a program that reached the Final Four for the second straight season. This year we different look with nine players departing to graduation and club soccer, McLellan has been asked to do a lot more tis season. An All-State Dream Team candidate along with several others on this list, the Canadian transplant and Michigan Hawks-Magic ECNL standout McLellan will compete next season for the University of Western Ontario, which is comparable to a smaller NCAA Division I program.  



LAUREN MOYLAN, Hudsonville soph. M: A debut season included the outside midfielder being a major contributor for the Eagles’ Ottawa Kent Conference-Red Division perfect 10-0-0 season, district and regional championships, and Division 1 state runner-up appearance as part of a 19-3-2 campaign. The prospect has since exploded on the club scene as one of Michigan’s top sophomores in a loaded 10th grade class. Last year she was only All-District and All-Ottawa Kent Conference-Red Division Honorable Mention only because she was a freshman on a loaded team and deep league and district. Now she is a rising sophomore and the lefty and is not only producing on the pitch but gaining plenty of notice from NCAA Division I college coaches from all over the country with over two years to go in her high school and club career.

LANEY PETERSON, Caledonia sr. D: Sometimes there are late bloomers, but Peterson had always been a solid lockdown defender on the Fighting Scots’ back line. Her team has been stout the last few years and Peterson has really come into her own in the last year, which has been good enough for her land a roster spot next year at NCAA Division I at Western Michigan University.  She only made All-Ottawa Kent Conference-Red Division and All-District last season but should gain even more postseason honors this year for a team that Is conceding far less than one goal a contest and has posted quite a few clean sheets the last three years.

KENDALL PETOSKEY, Hamilton sr. CB: Another standout that did not always gain notoriety as a defender, but this center back helped Hamilton to a winning record last season and to honorable mention of the Division 2 state rankings early in the campaign. Last year she earned All- Ottawa Kent Conference-Blue Division and All-District honors and will benefit greatly this year with the addition of an expanded All-district, All-Region and All-State teams that will have at least a minimum requirement for positions slated just for center backs and marking backs. Petoskey is headed for NCAA Division I Missouri State University of the Missouri Valley Conference and the Michigan Rangers club product is one of the state’s better defensemen. The 4.07 GPA student is also a three-year member of the ODP Michigan state team in her age bracket and on the club circuit has helped her side win two state cup titles during her high school years.

SYDNEY RYAN, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central sr. M: Known around the soccer community as just Syd, Ryan is one of the top players on a loaded team which has high aspirations of another deep Division 2 state tournament run. Last year Ryan earned All-Ottawa Kent Conference-White Division, All-District, All-Region, All-Area and All-State Third Team out of the midfield and is setting up legions of goals again this season for the talent-laden Rangers. That’s not to mention the hockey-type assists she conducts which she doesn’t necessarily receives in the state column. The talented, 5-foot-3 ball wizard from the Midwest United FC ECNL system, Ryan was still listed as unsigned at the beginning of April but is every bit as good enough to make a college roster.

CLARA SAUNDERS, Spring Lake sr. M: Saunders not only excels as an individual, but she has been a key cog in her team’s success story the last few years. The fourth-year varsity start helped Spring Lake reach the Division 2 final Four as a freshman and to the regional finals the last two years. She is a gifted playmaker and finisher on the attack, but also a great leader and proven winner. She earned numerous postseason accolades, anywhere from All-Ottawa Kent Conference-Blue Division Honorable Mention as a freshman to All-State First Team, All-District, All-Region and All-Area last year as a dominant player for the Lakers, who at one time last season were top-ranked in Division 2. Her team has finished second to Hudsonville Unity Christian in the OKC-Blue the last two years, but this team excels in the rugged conference and more times than not makes runs in the postseason. Saunders will attend the University of Michigan in the fall., but before she tries to lead her team to the final weekend of the school year.

EMMA SCHUT, Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg sr. M: Schut only stands 5-foot-3 on the pitch but is a mighty-mite who is a wizard with the ball and can take over a game when needed. Schut has helped her team get better and better each year and the talented attacking player hopes to lead Thornapple-Kellogg deep into the Division 2 postseason this year. The playmaker also plays basketball but on the soccer field she earned All-Ottawa Kent Conference-Gold Division, All-District, All-Region, All-Area and Division 2 All-State Second Team honors last year and could be higher this season for a top-15 ranked program. Last year Schut led her team to a district title and league runner-up finish. The Michigan Rangers Elite 64-NLC Pro standout has a 3.8 GPA in the classroom and helped lead her club team to a pair of MSYSA state cup titles in her career. In the future she will play NCAA Division I college soccer as she signed earlier this school year with Southern Indiana University of the Ohio Valley Conference.

CLAIRE SMITH, Grand Rapids West Catholic sr. M/F: West Catholic has emerged during the last four years as a respectable program playing in the shadows of numerous programs from around the Ottawa Kent Conference and top teams in all four division and Claire Smith has been a big part of that resurgence. Headed for NCAA Division II St. Edward’s University down in Austin, Texas, Smith has guided West Catholic to four winning seasons and to many weeks inside the Division 3 top-15 rankings. Last year she was All-OKC-Blue Division, All-District, All-Region, All-Area and Division 3 All-State First Team and this year she again has the Falcons humming along and putting up some impressive offensive numbers despite a challenging schedule.



LILAH SMITH, Richland-Gull Lake jr. M/D: A powerful defensive-type player who is equally dangerous off set pieces with a powerful leg which can strike a ball to the moon, Smith has seen some action in the midfield as well this season after playing primarily center back the previous two seasons. The versatile and talented Midwest United FC product recently committed to NCAA Division I University of Toledo of the Mid-American Conference where she will eventually join several other Michigan-based players. But not before she completes 1.5 more years of club and high school soccer. The talented Smith has helped the Blue Devils again become one of the top Division 2 programs in the state.  Last year her team still won a district championship even during a slight rebuild and this year Gull Lake is one of the top teams in a very deep Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference and a team that could make a very deep run in the Division 2 state tournament this year.

AUDEN STAUFFER, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern jr. F: Although the Huskies are down slightly from last year’s Ottawa Kent Conference-White Division title and consistent Division 2 top-15 rankings spot, Stauffer is still one of the many talented players on this list hailing from the Midwest United FC system and quite dangerous on the high school pitch. She has already committed to NCAA Division I Central Michigan University of the Mid-American Conference and was Division 2 All-State Third Team, All-OKC-White Division, All-District, All-Region and All-Area last season for a 12-4-3 side. This past winter at the ECNL Girls Florida National Event Stauffer caught the eye of numerous scouts and media members after causing havoc in the final third. She is a workhorse with a high soccer IQ and her constant movement on the pitch makes her dangerous to mark.

AMELIA STREBERGER, Grosse Pointe North sr. M: Last year Streberger scored 19 of her team’s 29 goals and was a huge factor in the Norsemen’s run to the Division 2 state championship despite her team being unranked last season. She was named All-Macomb Area Conference-Red Division, All-District, All-Region, All-State First Team, All-State Dream Team and Division 2 Offensive Player of the Year after being a clutch performer out of the midfield when it matters most. Also a standout on the club scene with her Michigan Hawks ECNL-Magic team, Streberger picked up multiple college offers and has signed with NCAA Division I University of Detroit-Mercy.

HALEY WARD, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central sr. F: After being a contributor during the Rangers 2022 Division 2 state championship run, Ward stepped into a more prominent role as a junior last season and helped a younger team finish third in a very deep Ottawa Kent Conference-White Division and to a Division 2 district championship. Although listed as unsigned at the beginning of April, Ward has the attributes to be a college player if she chooses to be a late signee anywhere. Ward checks the boxes, as she is fast, powerful, is a leader and can finish in a variety of ways in the attack on one of the top teams in the state in Division 2 and overall. Last season Ward was All-OKC-White Division, All-District, All-Region, All-Area and All-State Third Team and is putting up some impressive numbers in the first portion of the season this year for a top-five ranked school. She plays club soccer in the Midwest United FC system.

CLAIRE VANZANTEN, Byron Center sr. F: Not only is VanZanten a stellar student in the classroom with a 4.1 GPA, she’s an offensive terror on the soccer pitch for the opposition to try and handle. She led her team in scoring last year and helped the Bulldogs win a Division 1 district championship. This year she is trying to help her team do some damage in the Ottawa Kent Conference-White Division and find some more success in the state tournament come June. She can finish in tight space or from distance for one of the better Division 1 programs in the state. The All-State Honorable Mention and Michigan Futbol Academy product always draws the top mark from opposing teams and still produces in bunches. VanZanten is joining a trend of high-level soccer players playing down from Division I where they can still get a solid degree and gain playing time at the collegiate level right of the bat. She signed with NAIA national powerhouse Spring Arbor University recently.

ELLA ZOERHOFF, East Kentwood jr. M/F: One of the state’s top individual talents in the junior class, Zoerhoff recently committed to NCAA Division I University of Toledo with her stock continuing to rise. She has helped with a little bit of a renaissance at East Kentwood the last couple of years as that team has become substantially more competitive after a couple of down years. Named Division 1 All-State Honorable Mention as a sophomore, she plays club ball for the Midwest United ECNL and is both a gifted playmaker and goal scorer for the Falcons and her club side.



ELLERA JAKUBOWSKI, Utica Eisenhower soph. M/F: After debuting on the scene last season as a freshman, Jakubowski is another talented sophomore with a bright future ahead of her on the pitch. She was one of her team’s leaders in goals and assists last season and again the leader this season, scoring and registering assists in bunches for a Division 1 top-15 team that is going after another Macomb Area Conference-Red Division crown. This talent, who plays club ball with the Michigan Hawks-Magic in the ECNL, is far from her ceiling and is the type of play that simply gains results in the attack. 

KATELYN VANDERARK, Grand Rapids South Christian sr. M: Another Division 3 All-State First Team honoree, VanderArk will also play down in the NAIA in college, as she opted not to play large college ball and head to Indian Wesleyan. She is a dynamic playmaker for annually one of the best Division 3 teams in the state and has been for four years.  VanderArk is still exploring whether or not she will play at the collegiate level.

JAIDYN VELDHOUSE, Grandville Calvin Christian sr. F/M: Many consider Veldhouse the top player in Division 4 and her 37 goals last season and college scholarship might reaffirm those statements. The All-State First Team pick also earned All-Ottawa Kent Conference-Silver Division, All-District, All-Region and All-Area honors after leading her team to over 100 goals, the OKC-Silver Division and district championships. She is lightning fast and can score in bunches. Despite playing for a small school, the Michigan Rangers club product is still playing college soccer at the NCAA Division II level with Saginaw Valley State University.

RACHAEL WRIGHT, Coopersville jr. CB: Wright has helped Coopersville pull a 180 this season after a rough 2023 campaign. The NCAA Division I Michigan State University commit has never played high school soccer before but got a release from her Midwest United ECNL team to play this year with her high school. Coopersville started 6-0-0 at the beginning of the season and were listed in honorable mention in Division 2 after being outscored 77-22 last season where the Broncos only recorded two wins. Simply put, Wright’s presence has been felt, especially on the defensive end as a Division I prospect and lockdown defender.

LYDIA ZAJCHOWSKI, Saline soph. CB: Sadly, Zajchowski suffered an ACL injury in practice two days before the Hornets’ state semifinal match against eventual state champion Rochester Stoney Creek last season. Now she’s back healthy and leading another stout defensive performance at Saline, which again is one of the top teams in Division 1. Last year she still gained All-State Third Team honors despite being a freshman and has a bright future ahead of her on the pitch. She plays club ball with the Michigan Tigers and also is a dual-athlete in the spring while playing softball as well.

OLIVIA ZANHOW, Birmingham Marian sr. CB: An All-State Third Team performer last season, along with ALL-CHSL-Catholic, All-District, All-Region and All-Area, Marian has been quite difficult to score upon during her four-year career and Zanhow is a big part of that stout defense. The Mustangs only conceded eight goals last year over 19 games and that included a CHSL-Central Division, CHSL-Bishop Tournament and a Division 2 district title for a team that spent all of last season in the top five and the first month this season again in the Division 2 top five. Zanhow is also a standout center back for her Liverpool FC International Academy ECNL club team but opened up the season on the unsigned list.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Northville’s Kailyn Morrison, Lake Orion’s Brooke Blackstock, Brighton’s Katie Carrico and Linden’s Kaylee Modelski are not found on high school rosters this season due to year-round club soccer or other reasons. Each of them would likely have been high on this list if they were still playing high school soccer. Morrison (University of Miami-Ohio) and Blackstock (Oakland University) were Division 1 All-State Second Team, Carrico was All-State Third Team in Division 1 and Modelski was Division 2 All-State Second Team last season.

 


TOP 5 GOALKEEPERS

DAVONEE BALCZAK, Caledonia sr.: Balczak was already considered one of the state’s top goalkeepers last season, earning Division 1 All-State First Team accolades along with making numerous other postseason lists. Headed for NCAA Division II national powerhouse Grand Valley State University, Balczak commands the box with authority and routinely makes saves that most goalkeepers can’t get to. She set numerous single-season goalkeepers records last season and is also closing in on some career marks as well for a stout defensive team.

PEYTON DELONGCHAMP, Pinckney sr.: The fourth-year stater in goal has helped Pinckney land on the soccer map as one of Michigan’s top keepers, establishing just about every goalkeepers school records along the way. The three-time captain is a take-charge type of player, commanding her region of the backfield. After earning Division 2 All-State Honorable Mention status as a sophomore, Delongchamp rose up to All-State Second Team honors after leading the Pirates to another Southeastern Conference-White Division title and the school’s first district championship. She led Pinckney to the Elite Eight overall last season and will be a huge part of the mix if the Pirates can repeat last season’s feats. Delongchamp plays club ball for the Michigan Jaguars Girls Academy-Rising. She recently committed to NCAA Division II University of Findlay.

SOPHIA NEHRO, Ann Arbor Skyline sr.: The 5-foot-9 athletic jumping jack has always been impressive in goal for Skyline and her Michigan Tigers club team. But last year she rose to the top as Michigan’s top netminder by earning Division 1 All-State First Team and All-State Dream Team honors along with being the No. 1-rated goalkeeper in the Southeastern Conference-Red Division, district and regional. She is reliable as they come and a huge reason why the senior-laden Eagles are one of the top teams in Division 1 this season. She will head to NCAA Division I University of Wisconsin in the fall.

JESSICA STEWART, Spring Lake sr.: While Stewart also kicks for the Lakers football team, her best craft is using her feet, hands and any part of her body to keep the ball out of the net on the soccer pitch for one of the top teams in Division 2. Spring Lake plays in the deep Ottawa Kent Conference-Blue Division and helped her team reach No. 1 in the rankings last year and to a district title thanks to her sterling play between the pipes. The shot-stopper raked in the postseason accolades, including All-OKC-Blue Division, All-District, All-Region and All-State Second Team. She plays club ball for Michigan Futbol Academy. She is great at stopping penalty kicks and snaring set pieces before they fall into harm’s way.

JENICA OPDAHL, Bloomfield Hills sr.: Opdahl is as steady as they come. The fourth-year varsity veteran was All-State First Team as a sophomore in anchoring Bloomfield Hills’ run to the Division 1 state title in 2022 and last year, sadly, was dropped down to All-State Honorable Mention despite playing in the rugged Oakland Activities Association Red Division and helping her young team to a Division 1 district championship. She is one of three players on the Blackhawks’ roster who will suit up for NCAA Division I college programs in the future, as Opdahl committed to the Air Force Academy two years ago. She also stars for her Michigan Hawks ECNL-Magic squad during the club season.

TOP PRESEASON TEAMS:

MSN SUPER 50 GIRLS SOCCER TEAMS (through April 16):

 

MSN SUPER 50 GIRLS SOCCER TEAMS (through April 16):


MSN SUPER 50 GIRLS SOCCER TEAMS (through April 16):

 

MSN SUPER 50 GIRLS SOCCER TEAMS (through April 16):


MSN SUPER 50 GIRLS SOCCER TEAMS (through April 16):


(Have a story suggestion for the Premier Media Group and the Michigan Soccer Network regarding club soccer, high school varsity, amateur soccer, collegiate soccer or professional soccer of teams or players with Michigan ties, contact Communications Specialist/Web and Content Editor/Director of News Dan Stickradt via email at stickradt@michigansoccernetwork.com, or call 248-884-1051. Dan Stickradt is a 31-year veteran of the Michigan Media circles and recently joined the staff full time in March of 2024. Want to schedule a broadcast game or live show, contact PMG/MSN Director of Broadcasting Jonathan Turner for availability and pricing at jonathan@michigansoccernetwork.com.) 






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