Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: D-FW girls extend state dominance in soccer
Sweep by Plano West, Highland Park shows area soccer still best
GEORGETOWN — The final score of a soccer game usually doesn’t tell much of the story. Sometimes a one-goal margin can come from a dominating performance, and other times it can be the result of a fortunate bounce.
But now that another state soccer tournament is complete, here’s a statistic that really tells us something:
Teams from the Dallas-Fort Worth area have now won 11 of the last 12 University Interscholastic League girls soccer titles. Plano West (Class 5A) and Highland Park (4A) completed another girls sweep Saturday.
Dating back to 2007, the only girls team outside North Texas to win a state title is The Woodlands, which beat McKinney Boyd in the 5A final two years ago.
“There’s just a lot of good soccer players in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Plano West coach Carley Phillips said, “and fortunately, we get a lot of these players.”
That’s no longer the case for many of the local boys teams. This year the U.S. Soccer Federation began forbidding boys players on its academy teams from playing high school soccer. Four of the state’s nine academy clubs are in Dallas-Fort Worth, taking about 100 of the top local players off high school rosters.
It’s probably no coincidence that there was no local boys champion for the first time in six years. And for the first time in 10 years, no local boys team even played in a championship game.
The dominance of the local girls teams, however, continues to astound. Since 2007, local teams have a 26-6 record at the state tournament. Four of those six defeats came in matchups with other local teams, such as Trophy Club Byron Nelson’s loss to Highland Park in Saturday’s 4A final.
So how does the Dallas-Fort Worth stay a step ahead?
“I think the select programs have a lot to do with it and the fact that we’re all really competitive,” said Plano West junior midfielder Brooke Ramsier, the MVP of the 5A championship game. “You play against people from club, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I really want to beat you.’ So you play even harder.”
There’s no doubting the talent level around here, either. There aren’t just a handful of elite players; they dot rosters throughout 4A and 5A. Their teams battle each week in district play and local tournaments.
“Our number of elite soccer players is certainly higher than the rest of the state,” Highland Park coach Stewart Brown said. “But I think what it comes down to is when the teams get to state, with the competition they’ve played all season, they’re used to digging in and grinding it out.”
And then walking off the field as champions.