As the Highland Park girls soccer team gathered in the school’s cafeteria to vote for next year’s captains on Tuesday afternoon, senior Katie Martin got a congratulatory text message from one of her future coaches at Villanova.
The mystery of what exactly she was being congratulated for ended just a few seconds later when Lady Scots head coach Stewart Brown announced Martin had been named Gatorade’s Texas Girls Soccer Player of the Year, which also put her in the running for national player of the year honors. New Hampshire’s Morgan Andrews earned that accolade.
“I sat down and was just talking to them [teammates] normally,” Martin said. “My assistant coach texted me, ‘Congrats,’ literally right before I found out. I looked on the stage and saw my sister, and I knew. I knew it was supposed to come out May 20. This is the highest honor for me. This is what I wanted the most. Every day since I’ve been nominated, I told my mom, ‘I want this so bad.’ ”
Martin, a forward, had 40 goals and 11 assists to help the Lady Scots to their second straight state championship game appearance this past season. For her career, Martin finished with 105 goals and 42 assists. She has also twice been named first-team all-state and District 20-4A Player of the Year. With her help, Highland Park won a state title in 2012 and lost just one game in each of the last two seasons.
“It’s very well-deserved,” Brown said. “She represents her school so well. The Gatorade award is not just for athletics — she’s a straight-A student. She’s a phenomenal human being. I’m very excited people outside of our school district have recognized that for her. It’s exciting. I found out last night and tried to keep it quiet. I don’t really do a good job of that, but it was good to have some of Katie’s friends here and her parents to surprise her.”
Other Texas winners in the past include: Jana Jeffrey (2011-12, Ursuline), Meghan Streight (2010–11, McKinney Boyd), Chioma Ubogagu (2009-10, Coppell), Alina Garciamendez-Rowold (2008–09, Ursuline), Ashley Rape (2007-08, Greenhill), and Melissa Henderson (2006-07, Richardson Berkner).
“It’s an awesome achievement,” Martin added. “I’ve never been so excited about anything in my life.”