Holly Deutsch is the News-Sun Girls Soccer Player of the Year
Holly Deutsch remembers her older brother Noah’s experience in the Deerfield men’s basketball program.
There have been ups and downs.
“He got cut his freshman year,” she recalled.
But Noah Deutsch made the squad for his senior season in 2015-16, when the Warriors won 28 games and reached a division final.
“I watched him work ridiculously hard to get the senior year he wanted,” Holly Deutsch said. “I was in seventh grade at the time and I admired him for his work ethic and the way he handled everything.
“I realize now how much of a role model he was for me at the time. That’s also why it was valuable that I ended my final year with a successful race.
Deutsch certainly did. The senior midfielder’s ability to see the pitch, connect passes and score has helped Deerfield win the Class 2A third-place trophy this season. It was the second-best finish in program history.
Deutsch, the 2022 News-Sun Girls Soccer Player of the Year, has shown a rare gift for finding teammates. On her way to setting Deerfield’s career record for assists, she had a record 31 in a season and also scored 14 goals.
Playing alongside him, second Emily Fox scored 27 goals and senior Riley Schimanski added 18.
“I like to think of myself as a team player,” Deutsch said. “I feel like there are times when I can shoot and I’ve looked to pass instead. On the pitch, I always have my head held high to look for open options. I’ve always been like that. I find it fun when I settle people in. It makes me happy.
“Three years ago I spent an entire summer with my club coach working on different crossing techniques, and since then it’s really paid off, almost to the point where I forget to shoot because I’m hyper focused. on support.”
But when presented with a quality shot or free kick, Deutsch will go for the shot.
“When I don’t see anyone, I try to create a filming opportunity for myself,” she said. “The idea of finding my teammates goes hand in hand with my personality as I always try to find a way to see other points of view.”
Deerfield coach Rich Grady says Deutsch, who has no plans to play in Florida next season, is a top athlete with her foot skills and vision and can influence a game without scoring a point.
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“Holly was a game-changer for us because the threat of her getting behind the other team’s defense was always there, which paved the way for other players,” Grady said. “To accompany her work on the wing, Holly also took several of our longer free kicks and always threatened to score or put a dangerous ball in the box.
“Holly was always ready to do what was necessary to help the team, including coming back to play as an outside defender when we needed it.”
Deutsch said she realized she had a knack for making plays after receiving praise in a local newspaper “for scoring six goals at the age of eight”. She credited her club coach, Greg Bowers, for shaping her development.
Deutsch said leading the Warriors to the program’s second state trophy trumps any individual accolades.
“The energy and community that we seniors have built in this team is unmatched,” she said. “We wanted to go far and had been talking about it for months, but the reality was the best part of it. …Being captain in this team was very important to me.
“I’ve enjoyed coaching and helping young players because it makes me feel good. I’ve loved watching my teammates grow as players and people, and I think it’s really helped me push myself. In the end it was my job to lead our players to their highest potential to the best of my abilities.We set the standard and our team followed suit.
Bobby Narang is a freelance journalist for the News-Sun.