The 2015-16 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Soccer Teams were selected by USA TODAY High School Sports based on performance, level of competition and strength of schedule. This is the inaugural ALL-USA team in girls soccer and includes players from fall, winter or spring seasons.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Name: Frankie Tagliaferri
School: Colts Neck (N.J.)
College: Penn State
For a natural goal scorer such as Tagliaferri, few things are easier than a penalty shot. Just 12 yards between you and the net, no defenders, a goalie who can’t move until the ball is struck.
But there was nothing easy about the circumstances when Tagliaferri stepped to the penalty spot midway through a scoreless second half of the New Jersey Group 3 state championship game. The 5-foot-6 junior forward had already been stopped on a breakaway earlier in the game. And the opponent was (Allendale, N.J.) Northern Highlands, the No. 1 ranked team in the USA TODAY/NSCAA Super 25 that was carrying a 112-game unbeaten streak and had beaten Colts Neck a year earlier in the state final.
“I knew, especially against this team, none of us were going to get a lot of chances,” Tagliaferri told USA TODAY Network partner The Asbury Park Press. “I missed the first chance that I got and I knew I had to finish the second one because there wasn’t going to be any more chances.”
Tagliaferri made no mistake on her PK, and the Cougars (24-0-1) hung on for the upset and the state championship.
It was a fitting end to a fantastic season for Tagliaferri. She finished the season with 28 goals and 18 assists, including five goals and five assists in six postseason matches, to bring her career totals to 54 goals and 32 assists. And she recorded a point in all 19 games she played—missing six contests for a pair of training camps with the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team. Tagliaferri was a starter for the U17 team in March as it qualified for this fall’s U17 World Cup in Jordan.
“Frankie is a very special player,” said John Crowley, coach of Toms River (N.J.) South, who watched Tagliaferri tally a goal and an assist against his team in the state semifinals. “I have coached soccer for 34 years and there are those players that come along every few years that you just know are at a different level. Frankie is one of those players.”