For Ellie Boon, high school soccer presents contrasting opportunities.
Scored 14 goals and had four assists despite missing several games with injuries.
Class 2A Greater St. Helens League’s offensive player of the year.
Scored the winning goal from 35 yards out when the Panthers beat league champion Hockinson.
Was honored by the Portland Timbers as the Oregon Youth Soccer ODP girls player of the year.
More about Ellie
Including club, high school, ODP and national team events, she has played in about 75 matches in 2011, down from 89 in 2010.
Plays club soccer with Vancouver United Timbers.
Favorite books: “Like all girls, I’m a big fan of the Twilight series. I’m not as big as I was before. I’m starting to tone it down a bit, which I’m proud of. My second favorite is The Hunger Games.”
Next year and beyond
After one more year of high school, Boon plans to play college soccer for the University of Portland. She also hopes to someday land a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Team.
In many ways, playing for Washougal High School is a nice break from the intensity of the club season with her Vancouver United Timbers team, and the demands of Olympic Development Program tournaments and national team camps.
In other ways, the high school soccer season is a test of Boon’s patience. Washougal is not one of the stronger teams in the area — the Panthers lost in the Class 2A district playoffs this season — and opponents shadow Boon with two or three defenders, making it difficult for her to get anywhere near the goal.
Despite those challenges, the junior scored 14 goals and assisted on four others.
Those contributions on the field, and embracing high school soccer when her talent and passion is taking her to much higher places, made Boon The Columbian’s selection for Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Considered one of the top players her age in the country, Boon has already committed to play college soccer for the University of Portland starting in the fall of 2013. Her dreams of playing for the national team are very real.
So then why play high school soccer?
“It’s fun to be able to relax and enjoy playing soccer, instead of looking forward to coaches (scouting) you. It’s just a time to relax and have some fun,” Boon said. “Even though I do find myself frustrated, it’s a lot of fun. I love the girls on our team. I love the family that I have through the soccer at the high school.”
Her highlight this season was a goal from 35 yards away at Hockinson that gave Washougal a win over the league-champion Hawks. Boon said she was especially happy for friend Maddie Down, a senior who made the pass to set up that game winner.
Boon said the way she is defended in high school forced her to improve her ability to shoot from distance. She also uses the high school season to expand her skills and to work on aspects of the game that club and national coaches tell her need improvement.
“I think this high school season I became a lot more ambitious on the ball,” she said. “I was able to do more moves and juggle on the field when I wanted and do things that I wouldn’t really try with the national team.”
One thing those national-level coaches tell Boon to work on would surprise many observers: confidence.
“(Confidence) is still one of my issues today,” Boon said.
But she knows a great way to give her confidence a lift.
“There is nothing like putting the ball in the back of the net that say,’ ‘Ellie, you can do this.’ ”
Rest of All-Region team
Aurora Bodenhamer, jr., Hockinson: Midfielder helped Hawks to a 2A league title.
Hannah Johnson, sr., Skyview: Goalkeeper posted 11 shutouts to help Storm win 4A GSHL.
Caity Kuntz, sr., Hockinson: Class 2A GSHL co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Olivia Lovell, sr., Camas: Midfielder was a leader for 3A league champion Papermakers.
Carlee Maluenda, jr., Union: Midfielder earned first-team all GSHL and helped Titans to playoffs.
Nicole Mattson, jr., Evergreen: Forward was first-team all league in 4A GSHL.
Becca Sikora, sr., Skyview: 4A GSHL offensive player of year led Storm to another league title.
Sheaffer Skadsen, sr., Skyview: Forward was 4A GSHL first-teamer for third time.
Alexis Vizcaino, sr., Prairie: All-leaguer helped Falcons finish as 3A GSHL runners-up.
Jordyn Voyles, fr., Ridgefled: 2A GSHL offensive MVP helped Spuds reach state quarterfinals.
Alexa Whitney, jr., Hudson’s Bay: Class 3A GSHL offensiver player of the year.