By: Daniel Stickradt
GIRLS SOCCER: DeWitt’s Danielle Stephan wins Miss Soccer honor
BY DAN STICKRADT
Danielle Stephan recorded many firsts during her stellar four-year prep soccer career at DeWitt.
She added another recently — and one that will never be duplicated.
Stephan, a senior center midfielder, became the school’s first Miss Soccer award winner, given annually to the state's top high school player by the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association.
No other DeWitt player will be the first to win the award. It’s all hers.
“It’s quite an honor, really. I didn’t know if I would get it, to be honest,” said Stephan, who was told by her coach one week before the coaches association announced its All-State teams for the 2017 season.
“I saw back early in the preseason that I was ranked No. 1 (by one publication) and then right before the state playoffs started I saw that Bailey Kohorn (of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central) was ranked No. 1 (by another publication) and I was second. I would have been okay with that. Bailey is a great player. There are a lot of great players in Michigan that are worthy.”
Kohorn, a midfielder/forward, finished second in the voting and both were also honored on the All-State Dream Team by the MHSSCA. Senior midfielder Gabriala Jozdis of Utica Eisenhower was third, while East Kentwood senior goalkeeper Maia Perez, Utica Ford senior midfielder Cecilia Steinwascher, Troy Athens senior forward Ashley Leonard, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central defender Emily Ashby, Flint Powers Catholic senior defender Rachel Phillpotts, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central junior forward Madeline Becker and Lansing Christian junior forward Kasey Jamison rounded out the 11-member squad.
It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Stephan, who finished her career with 57 goals and 59 assists and ranks amongst the school’s all-time leaders for goals, assists and total points. Stephan recorded 14 goals and 10 assists as a senior.
Stephan won an Elite Clubs National League title with the Michigan Hawks last July and then at the beginning of 2017 received a phone call that she was one of 26 players invited to the U.S. Olympic Developmental Program U-19 Women’s National Camp in Florida in late March.
She also singed with Michigan State back in February.
“It’s been an amazing year,” offered Stephan. “I couldn't have imagined everything that has happen to me even a couple of years ago. I have worked really hard training to be where I'm at right now. I am truly blessed. Every award I have been given I take great pride in because I have worked so hard and there are so many other deserving players.
“I am sad to see high school end and at the same time I am really excited to start college,” continued Stephan, who will report to training at MSU on August 1. “We have some really strong players coming into MSU this year and a lot of talented players returning. We’re excited. We hope to do well this year and maybe win a (Big Ten) title sometime in the future.”