East Metro girls soccer Player of the Year: Rosemount’s Taylor Heimerl

It’s been the case every year for Taylor Heimerl: The Rosemount forward’s impressive goal tally is matched by an equally gaudy assist total.

This season is no outlier. The Gophers’ commit has 19 goals and 17 assists for the Irish, who will meet Stillwater in a Class 3A state semifinal at 10 a.m. Wednesday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“When somebody has just as many assists as goals, they’re threatening in so many different ways to the other team,” Rosemount coach Gretchen Stramel said. “I’ve had the natural goal-scorers, the girls that sit up top and score goals. But they can be shut down. It’s really hard to shut down somebody that can pass just as well as they can shoot. Taylor just has done a great job, too, of being a humble team member.”

Part of that is Rosemount’s roster. The Irish are flush with talented players, many of whom Heimerl has played with since she was 9 years old.

“I trust pretty much everyone I’m passing to,” she noted. “Everyone is so talented.”

But that trust can lead to the senior herself being a touch too passive. Stramel and Co. are often pleading with Heimerl to be more aggressive in looking for her own opportunities to score.

“We tell her that she needs to take people on,” the coach said. “I think that’s one of the things she’s learned, that the more she does both, the more opportunities she’s creating for herself — because they don’t know how to defend her.”

The beauty of Heimerl is that any information you give her, she digests. That was on full display in late September, a day prior to Rosemount’s game at Farmington. Stramel had a 15- to 20-minute conversation with Heimerl as the two worked through what the senior called a “mental block” during which she wasn’t shooting enough herself. The next day, she scored three goals in Rosemount’s 5-0 win over the Tigers.

“She craves the knowledge and she executes very well,” Stramel said. “We played so well as a team (against Farmington), and our combination play and our shots on net. It almost looked ridiculously easy for us. But a lot of times that will be seen during the season if Taylor is on and Taylor is confident behind the ball, and she’s moving the ball, then everyone else will follow suit, because she’s a great leader — not only in her voice, but her actions and how she plays. It sets the tone on the field and it’s a difference maker for the team.”

That’s true in so many ways for Heimerl. She has a gentle touch with her teammates, and treats everyone with equal respect. Stramel asked all of Heimerl’s teammates for a word to describe the senior when filling out her Ms. Soccer application. The words had nothing to do with her soccer abilities, but rather centered on a kind, humble personality.

She also sets a tone with her work ethic. Every fall, Heimerl pulls double duty, advancing to state with the soccer team and the cross country team, all while maintaining a sterling grade-point average. It’s an impressive juggling act.

“I would just say I have a good work ethic overall,” she said. “Just controlling what I can.”

Heimerl is a four-year starter for Rosemount’s soccer team. Stramel still remembers that freshman — skilled by tiny in stature — roaming the field. In the three years that have passed, Heimerl has grown taller and more athletic, all while her robust soccer IQ expands.

Heimerl remembers her freshman season and, specifically, senior night of that fall, when all of her departing teammates shared wisdom about just how quickly high school soccer careers fly by. Heimerl and her freshman teammates thought at the time, “Oh, we’re still going to have three more years of this.”

“But then on our senior night, I wrote down the same thing,” she said. “It’s so fun, but it definitely goes by fast.”

And this stellar senior class feels as though it has just one more thing to accomplish – a state championship.

“We’re all super motivated,” she said, “and we all have the same goal in mind that we’ve been working toward the last couple years.”


Katelyn Beulke, senior forward, Mahtomedi: Has 28 goals for the defending state champs. Class 2A Ms. Soccer winner.

Jordan Hecht, senior goalie, Rosemount: Irish’s last line of defense has 16 shutouts to her name this fall.

Luka Johnson, senior midfielder, Stillwater: When the Ponies need a big goal, look for Johnson to step into the limelight.

Berit Parten, junior forward, Minnehaha Academy: Tallied a jaw-dropping 41 goals and 26 assists this season.

Vivian Rojas Collins, senior midfielder, Twin Cities Academy: With 31 goals and six assists, was involved in 69 percent of her team’s scoring