LaSalle goalie and Miami native Ashley Fonseca is only 15, but she has already played for the Honduran junior national team, and she has secured a scholarship to play for Florida Gulf Coast.
“Ashley can move, and her instincts are incredible,” LaSalle soccer coach Anthony Vuono said of Fonseca, a 5-7, 135-pound freshman. “She’s very vocal on the pitch, and she’s fearless.”
Fonseca, who has grown two-plus inches in the past year, also competes for Weston FC, flying all over the nation for matches.
In 2017, at age 12, she traveled to New Jersey and led Team USA to third place, saving two penalty kicks in a medal-deciding win over France at Red Bull Arena.
Fonseca’s parents were born in Honduras. Because of that, Ashley was invited to a tryout in March of 2019, in South Florida, hosted by the Honduran coaching staff.
Players with Honduran ancestry flew in from around the country, but Fonseca made the team. The following month, Fonseca was in El Salvador, representing Honduras in an Under-16, seven-team Central America Cup. Her team finished last in its group, but Fonseca started all three games.
“When I made the team, I couldn’t breathe — I was so nervous and excited,” said Fonseca, who was just 13 at the time, playing against girls two and three years older than her. “On the pitch, I wasn’t as nervous.”
LaSalle went 5-7-3 last season without Fonseca, who was in middle school. This season, LaSalle is still young, with 17 juniors, just three seniors … and Fonseca as its starting goalie.
GIBBONS GETTING CLOSE
Cardinal Gibbons, which went 18-4-4 last season and finished as the Class 4A state runners-up, returns seven starters.
Gibbons has never won a state title, and coach Margo Flack, now in her 21st season, has come excruciatingly close three times, losing in the final in 2009, 2019 and 2020.
This season, Gibbons has a stacked lineup with senior defender Sophia Zinn, who is a Louisville recruit; senior midfielder Maddie Young, a Florida signee; and junior forward Sydney Polivka, who had 29 goals and eight assists last season.
Polivka scored in the state final to give Gibbons a 1-0 lead, but Jacksonville Bishop Kenny rallied to win 2-1 in rainy conditions.
“Last year was very frustrating,” Flack said. “Club games are just games because they play so many of them. But [that state final] wasn’t just any game. The girls were disappointed, and it has lit a fire under us.”
Other Gibbons standouts include senior midfielder Deborah Bien-Aime (10 goals and three assists last season) and junior goalie Alexis DeVeaux (142 saves, 0.73 goals-against average).
THIS AND THAT
▪ Ransom Everglades is led by Brown University recruit Lindsay Gould, a senior forward who had 21 goals and eight assists last season, making All-State.
▪ Two of Gould’s former Sunrise Prime club teammates are also headed to Brown: Kimmy Cover (Archbishop McCarthy) and Karlie Schlosser (Cooper City). McCarthy (5A) and Lourdes (6A) are the two reigning champs from Dade/Broward.
▪ Ransom, which made the regional semifinals last season, also has 6-1 midfielder Mia Balestra (also a first-team All-Dade star in volleyball). Teammate Juliana Perez Rivera is the grand-daughter of baseball Hall of Famer Tony Perez, and junior Mather Davidson anchors the midfield.
▪ St. Brendan, which finished last season 12-6-1 and in the regional quarterfinals, could be a team of the future with more than 20 freshmen and sophomores on the roster. Leading the way are sophomores such as defender Meagan Alvarez, midfielder Emi Rincon (15 goals) and defender Breck Girten (back from knee surgery).
▪ American Heritage, which is third in Florida history with 11 state titles, has no seniors on this season’s team. The team went 10-4 last season, advancing to the regional finals. This season, midfielder Savannah Hydes leads a core group of juniors.
▪ Senior midfielder Adriana Clavijo is the third member of her family — joining her sister and brother — to captain a MAST Academy soccer team.
▪ West Broward went 12-7 last season, advancing to the regional semifinals. The key returner is senior midfielder Kayla Master, who posted 19 goals and 10 assists.
▪ North Broward Prep finished 14-6 last season, reaching the regional quarterfinals. Sophomore midfielder Leah Finkelman had 24 goals and 18 assists.
▪ Stoneman Douglas, which finished 10-5-2 last season after losing in the regional quarterfinals, is led by senior defender Vicky Alvarez.
▪ Gulliver Prep returns junior midfielder Catalina Garcia, who helped the team post a 16-7 record, reaching the regional finals.
▪ St. Brendan (4-1) 2, Somerset Academy Silver Palms 0: Katlyn Micali 1 goal, Paulina Llorens one goal, Meagan Alvarez shutout.
▪ Hialeah Gardens d. American (25-6,25-4,25-15): Cristina Gonzalez had 21 digs ,4 aces; Sabrina Cabrera 18 Kills, 4 aces, 2 blocks; and Samantha Ramos 10 Kills, 4 blocks, 2 aces.