Back in the summer many wondered if the high school girls soccer season would ever start, let alone finish because of COVID-19.
The season indeed went off without a hitch for the most part, and was capped by great championship games at Rio Tinto Stadium last month.
Here’s a look the 2020 Deseret News girls soccer MVPs who made the biggest difference in leading their teams to state titles.
Bizzy Arevalo, Davis, Sr., F
A speedy forward with skill and intelligence on the field, Davis senior forward Bizzy Arevalo proved to be a handful for defenses all season.
She was instrumental in leading the Darts to the 6A state championship recording 19 goals and 23 assists this season, including four goals in the playoffs.
“Great speed with the ball, always dangerous whenever she has it. But in addition to that, some girls are really fast but lack skill and understanding of the game, but if you look at her totals this year she has almost as many assists as goals,” said Davis coach Souli Phongsavath.
Arevalo has signed to play college soccer at Utah State. Her coach believes versatility should help her succeed at the next level.
“Her ability to get dangerous, but to be able to share the ball when needed or know when to take the shot is a fantastic quality,” said Phongsavath.
Emma Neff, Olympus, Jr., MF
A true box-to-box midfielder, Olympus junior midfielder Emma Neff played at a different level throughout the 2020 season.
“She is a constant force to be reckoned with and is a pivotal player that contributed to the success of our midfield. Emma has the ability to win balls in the midfield, both on the ground and in the air. When she gets the ball at her feet and is running at goal, she is quite possibly the most dangerous midfielder there is,” said Olympus coach Jamie Evans.
Neff finished the season with 20 goals and 11 assists, and scored the golden goal in the 5A championship to clinch Olympus’ first title in 24 years.
“Her quickness with the ball at her feet and her willingness to work on and off of the ball makes her a standout in her position. She has a wicked shot and she is not afraid to pull the trigger at any time. Along with her amazing quick release shot, she is equally talented at winning balls out of the air,” said Evans.
Neff is one of the top recruits in the state in the 2022 class.
Oakley Rasmussen, Ridgeline, Sr., MF
A natural defensive midfielder, Ridgeline senior Oakley Rasmussen moved higher into the midfield in 2020 and that made all the difference as the Riverhawks went on to the claim the 4A state championship.
“We recognized her potential to influence our attack early in the season and moved her further up the field and asked her to master a different position. And she did. She was so effective at holding defenders off and creating opportunities for herself and her teammates,” said Ridgeline coach Mark Tureson.
Rasmussen finished the season with 16 goals and 12 assists. One of her biggest weapons was her free kick, which set up the winning goal in the 4A state championship as her dipping shot created a rebound for her teammates.
“What sets her apart is her mastery of her technical skills and how she is able to control the ball and create for her teammates as a result. This mastery has come through countless hours of extra training on her own and working with coaches on technique. She is one of the hardest working players that I have coached.”
Rasmussen has signed to play at the University of Florida.
Capri Jones, Morgan, Sr., F
Morgan senior Capri Jones was the glue that held the Trojans together throughout the difficult and challenging 2020 season, and ultimately the 3A state championship.
Jones’s pace and creativity up top helped lead Morgan to a 17-2 record this season as she finished with 21 goals and 25 assists.
She had a knack for scoring in big games as well, scoring a goal in the state championship win over Manti.
“Capri exploded this year with her soccer maturity, confidence in herself and confidence in her team. Her speed was incredible. Her willingness this year to play both sides of the ball was the game changer. It helped our team push harder in practice and in our games. It was a privilege to coach her for four years,” said Morgan coach Bryan Searle.
Summer Connery, Rowland Hall, Jr., MF
Starting every game for Rowland Hall in 2020, junior midfielder Summer Connery was instrumental in leading the Winged Lions to a fourth straight state championship.
Connery scored in 12 of 15 games for Rowland Hall this season, finishing with 25 goals and nine assists.
She scored in all three playoff games, including a goal in the 3-2 championship game win over Real Salt Lake Academy.
“Summer Connery is an extremely hard-working player. Her talent and vision of the game are gifts that she continually works hard for. She had a fantastic year and contributed so much to the team’s success,” said Rowland Hall coach Colette Jepson.