It’s that time of year again in West Orange and Southwest Orange County. The high school girls soccer season is kicking into high gear once again, and the area is filled with some of the best players in Central Florida.
The 2023-24 girls soccer season should be another fun one, so expect it to live up to the level that was set by the players that have come before.
Here are 15 of the area’s top girls soccer players you should be keeping an eye out for this season.
Editor’s note: Statistics were compiled from online data and coaches’ submissions. Athletes are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
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Avery Bangsund, Foundation
Defense | Junior | No. 7
As one of the key returners from last season’s 13-5 team, the center back is one of the four juniors on a young Lions team with no seniors. Her quickness, high soccer I.Q. and instinctive tackling ability will be useful for Foundation. She also provides a veteran presence in the back line.
Aida Bell, Horizon
Midfield | Senior | No. 13
The senior captain leads a Hawks group that returns most of last season’s team that went 14-4-2. Bell bagged nine goals in 17 games last year. In three games in the 2023-24 season, she’s scored once.
Camryn Clements, Foundation
Midfield | Junior | No. 5
With the top two goalscorers from last season gone, the Lions have turned to Clements to lead their offense. In the early season, she has bagged eight goals and assisted one more for Foundation. Like Bangsund, Clements is one of those four juniors who will be a vital veteran presence in the middle of the pitch for the Lions.
Vicky Farias, Foundation
Forward | Freshman | No. 10
Despite only being a freshman, Farias has had a strong start to the 2023-24 season, with three goals and three assists in six games. Her early success comes because of strong and accurate shooting, poise in front of goal, and a technical dribbling ability that can put defenders on skates.
Taylor Giguere, Dr. Phillips
Goalie | Senior | No. 99
In Dr. Phillips’ last three games in the early season, Giguere has recorded 17 saves between the posts. The senior keeper has been phenomenal for the Panthers and is a crucial part of this lineup. Whether it is her ability to make extraordinary saves or flip the field with her punts, she’s as reliable as they come in goal. One of her best assets is her ability to use her size to block shots from any angle; she also is helpful as an outlet to her defenders whenever she is needed.
Evanthea Hainline, Dr. Phillips
Defense/Midfield | Senior | No. 28
At center back, the Panthers’ captain was a workhorse, playing 980 minutes last season and starting every game for DP since her freshman season. Despite being a defender, Hainline was vital in attack, scoring four goals on five shots and dishing out two assists.
On defense, Hainline is a force. She possesses natural athletic ability perfectly paired with a strong tactical awareness. She also harbors a relentless desire to succeed, tireless work rate on the pitch and is a true leader on and off the field.
Ella Henderson, Horizon
Goalie | Senior | No. 0
After being a brick wall in front of net last season for Horizon — allowing just seven goals and earning 10 clean sheets — Henderson returns to mind the net for the Hawks again in 2023-24. So far, she has allowed just two goals this season.
Ariana Lacruz, Windermere Prep
Attack | Senior | No. 10
The Lakers’ senior attacker is a specialist at creating scoring opportunities for herself — with her powerful shot — and her teammates. Last season, she scored 15 goals and has continued in good form this year with two goals in three games.
Sade Laitinen, Windermere Prep
Defense/Midfield | Senior | No. 8
Laitinen is the perfect example of what you want in the middle of your defense in modern soccer. Not only is she a positive vocal leader who helps keep the Lakers defense organized, but also she is able to remain calm with the ball at her feet and withstand the pressure from the opposition front line.
McKenna McBride, Horizon
Midfield | Sophomore | No. 23
McBride is one of three sensational sophomores who broke into the varsity rotation last season. She scored eight goals in 18 games for the Hawks. So far in 2023-24, she has scored one goal in three games.
Keira Morehead, Dr. Phillips
Defense | Senior | No. 22
As the Panthers’ other captain, Morehead, a senior, plays all along the back line. Last season she also contributed in attack with two goals and an assist. The fierce defender with limitless stamina and a sharp protective nature is a commanding defensive presence for DP who strikes fear into any and all attackers who dare approach her.
As a leader, she is quick to encourage and uplift her teammates, and is always sporting a much-needed positive energy.
Ella Owens, Lake Buena Vista
Midfield | Senior | No. 5
In three games for the Vipers, Owens, a senior, has gotten off to a hot start. So far in 2023-24, she has scored three times and also assisted her teammates three more times for goals.
Alyssa Parsons, Windermere Prep
Attack | Sophomore | No. 15
Point blank: Parsons is a goal-scoring machine. The Apopka transfer scored 35 goals and dished out 11 assists for the Blue Darters as a freshman. So far at her new home, she has scored 18 goals and recorded two assists in just five games.
Her combination of strength, speed, dribbling and finishing make her one of the best players in the state, if not the country (see her call-up to the U15 USA Women’s Youth National Team, for proof).
According to her coach, she is not just one of the most talented players on the team, she is also one of the hardest working and dedicated.
Claudia Rodriguez-Medina, Horizon
Midfield | Sophomore | No. 7
The second of Horizon’s sophomore trio, Rodriguez-Medina was the joint-top goalscorer last season for the Hawks with 10 goals in 19 games.
Mackenzie Ruel, Horizon
Defense | Sophomore | No. 6
Along with McBride and Rodriguez-Medina, Ruel was the third of the breakthrough freshman from last season for the Hawks, after finding the back of the net six times in 18 games.
Sam Albuquerque is the Sports Editor for the Orange Observer. Please contact him with story ideas, results and statistics at this email, [email protected] or via Twitter @SamBAlbuquerque