A pair of local soccer players have been named All-Americans by the United Soccer Coaches.
St. Dominic forward Grace Bindbeutel and Summit midfielder Anna Walsh each earned the accolade for the first time Wednesday.
“It is so awesome,” Walsh said. “(Summit coach Eric) Hill told me last night and I was so excited. Nowhere in my mind did I think about being an All-American.”
Walsh and Bindbeutel were two of four All-America selections from Missouri, joined by Liberty Kansas City's Shae Turner and St. Teresa's Lily Farkas.
Bindbeutel's freshman season was truly special, as she helped the Crusaders win the Class 3 state championship last month.
“It feels completely surreal to be an All-American and I definitely never saw it coming,” Bindbeutel said. “I know that I have my coaches to thank for pushing me to be the best player I can be.”
Bindbeutel, a Post-Dispatch All-Metro co-Player of the Year with fellow freshman teammate Jess Larson, led the Crusaders (26-3-1, No. 2 in the final STLhighschoolsports.com small-schools rankings) with 29 goals including seven in the postseason. She added 15 assists and five game-winning goals.
Bindbeutel, the first All-American soccer player from St. Dominic since Cristina Rodriguez was named to the list in 2013, said the honor is the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae that was the Crusaders' title run.
“I definitely think it makes the title more special,” Bindbeutel said. “It makes the whole experience more fulfilling. When I found out, I was completely taken aback. It was a complete surprise to me but definitely very rewarding.”
Walsh, who is headed to St. Louis University to play soccer in the fall, played in the midfield for Summit.
The Falcons (19-4-3, No. 3 SS) lost to St. Dominic 2-1 in the Class 3 final.
Walsh is the second consecutive Summit player to earn the honor after Anna Lawler was named an All-American last season. Walsh tallied nine goals, four of which were game-winning tallies, to go along with 15 assists.
Following in Lawler's footsteps and keeping the streak of Summit All-Americans going meant a lot, Walsh said.
“I looked up to Anna, who I'd played with since my freshman year,” Walsh said. “To get the same award is something, because even though I'm not what Anna Lawler is, it still means something. It's just amazing. I had so much help from a hard-working team. (Senior forward) Lily (Schnieders) up top did great things. (Senior midfielder) Hannah (Higgins) helped us all. This was just such a strong team and it was great to be a part of it.”
Members of the All-Central region team from the St. Louis area, which were also announced by the United Soccer Coaches Wednesday, include: Nerinx Hall senior defender Emma Christanell, Parkway West senior defender Kaleigh Kastberg, Lafayette freshman forward Rylee Howard, Incarnate Word senior forward Liv Layton, Visitation senior forward Jaimie Tottleben, Walsh and Bindbeutel.