Heslin thrilled to play for Hill-Murray soccer and club team, too

  • Article by: PATRICK JOHNSON , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 19, 2014 - 11:46 AM

A club league schedule change will allow midfielder Emily Heslin to play for Hill-Murray and later her club team, too.

hide

At Hill-Murray H.S. in Maplewood on August 13, 2014, Woodbury soccer player Emily Heslin of Hill-Murray. She's going to the U of M next year to play soccer and has played club soccer for the Minnesota Thunder but is opting to play this season with her school.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 Though she’s one of the best soccer players in the state, Woodbury’s Emily Heslin was relegated to team manager duties for her high school squad last season.

Because of Minnesota State High School League rules, Heslin — who will play for the Gophers next fall — couldn’t play soccer for her high school and for her Minnesota Thunder Academy Elite team because their seasons coincided.

The high school league prohibits athletes from competing with non-school teams during the same season. However, a schedule change by the Elite Clubs National League allows Heslin a chance to take the field for her school.

“It’s exciting for a lot of girls to be able to play in front of friends, and it’s fun to be a part of your school and represent your school on the field,” said Heslin, who will be a senior at Hill-Murray. “I’m super excited. It adds something to the school year. I love my MTA team, but this is also really special.”

Last year the ECNL moved Minnesota Thunder Academy's start date for this season from Sept. 1 to late October. Players can’t start their club season until their high school season is finished, however.

Heslin, a center midfielder, is ranked as the 99th-best player in the country for the 2015 graduating class in the IMG Academy 150. Top Drawer Soccer has Heslin ranked as the eighth-best player in the Midwest and the 41st-best midfielder in the nation.

Though distinguished, Heslin’s high school soccer career has been unconventional.

Heslin starred for East Ridge’s varsity as a freshman. She transferred to Hill-Murray as a sophomore but still played for East Ridge that season. East Ridge actually played, and beat, Hill-Murray that year. Heslin said it was “awkward.” Last year, Heslin chose to play a 10-month season for the Thunder in the Elite Clubs National League — the premier national girls’ league composed of the top clubs in the country — forcing her to watch her high school team from the sidelines.

Simbo N’diaye, entering his second year as the Pioneers’ coach, said he was happy when he heard Heslin could play high school soccer, saying she has a terrific understanding of the game.

“She’s going to be a good addition to the team,” N’diaye said. “It’s good to have a good player like that.”

Heslin grew up in Woodbury and began playing soccer at age 4 for the Woodbury Athletic Association. She also played basketball and competed in track, but she quickly fell for soccer.

“I loved it from the start,” she said. “Nothing was quite like soccer.”

Heslin’s career hit a major road bump in eighth grade, however, when she was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans in her knee — a rare joint condition where cartilage and a layer of bone comes loose from the end of the bone. Heslin said the end of her femur “died” because it wasn’t getting enough blood. She underwent surgery and five months of rehab to return to the field and hasn’t had any setbacks since.

The injury didn’t scare off the Gophers, who got a commitment from Heslin after her sophomore season. Heslin said she has always been a Gophers fan.

“It’s weird,” she said. “It’s something you don’t think is realistic growing up, but then it happens. It’s really exciting.”

This season, Heslin and her MTA teammate Callyn Loughrey join a Hill-Murray team that should make waves in Class 1A. Last year, the Pioneers beat South St. Paul 3-2 in overtime for the Class 1A, Section 4 championship but fell to Totino-Grace 1-0 in the opening round of the state tournament.

“I think we’ll be all right,” Heslin said. “I’m hoping we can make it to the state tourney. I’ve never done that. But I don’t want to jinx it.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close