Photo: Emily Heimerdinger fights for possession of the ball during 2011 soccer action. Heimerdinger, continuing her studies at the University of Dayton in the fall, rewrote the Kaneland soccer record book in her pitch time. File Photo
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How did graduated senior Emily Heimerdinger take the news of an All-State honor?
“Coach (Scott) Parillo told me in the classroom after keeping the news from me all day. I was crying, I was so happy,” Heimerdinger said.
It could almost be seen as an appreciation of Heimerdinger’s penchant for goals, all 96 of them. But the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association chose to bestow an All-State honor for Heimerdinger, the forward who has scored more times in Kaneland girls soccer history than anyone.
Heimerdinger had also earned Section 7 All-Sectional nods all four years in a KHS kit, joining former Lady Knights Kaiti Roy and Megan Gil in exclusive company.
Despite the Lady Knights losing to Rosary in the regional final in May—the third consecutive year KHS dropped a regional title chance—the Class of 2011 member liked the way the team came together after a slow start.
“It was kind of frustrating for the season to end like it did, but everyone was tight and had fun. We all knew what we needed to do to get better throughout the season,” Heimerdinger said.
Heimerdinger, who also nabbed all-Northern Illinois Big XII conference MVP honors and was part of the final Western Sun Conference lineup, was a rarity this season as a Class 2A State rep. 50 of the 61 players were from Class 3A.
Heimerdinger was also honored by the IHSSCA in conjunction with the Chicago Fire Soccer Club with special mention placement on the All-State All-Academic team, on June 9.
While a star at forward all season long, Heimerdinger showed her knack for putting team first, stepping in at midfield while the Kaneland lineup was in flux in early-season action.
“I remember thinking of all the positions and which girls were in the lineup in my head, and I thought that I could probably fill in at midfield. I tried to do whatever I could do to pump up the team,” Heimerdinger said.
Heimerdinger, who put up 33 goals and 19 assists in 2011, is particularly fond of one goal from her IHSSCA Section 7 All-Sectional campaign.
“The goals run pretty close together, but my junior year I scored against Rosary and it was the first time we had ever won against them, and it was 1-0 (March 24, 2010),” Heimerdinger said.
For Heimerdinger, soccer now gets put on the backburner. She’s attending the University of Dayton in the fall and plans to study geology.
But she’ll have four years of soccer to look back on, as will fans who saw the best four-year stretch in KHS history.
“I think I improved a lot from freshman year. I was able to be more confident and be a team leader, and help the rest of the team,” Heimerdinger said.