Central defenders are part of the spine of a soccer team.
They do a lot of the back-breaking work to take stress off the goalkeeper, they clear balls while defending on set pieces, and they’ll make that first pass to initiate an offensive attack.
Emilia Kling handled those duties beautifully for the Dos Pueblos girls soccer team. Her solid and steady play on the backline helped the Chargers win back-to-back Channel League championships.
The senior’s defensive prowess was recognized by the coaches as they voted her as the league’s Defensive MVP.
The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table is honoring Kling as its High School Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kling and the other high school and college athletes of the year from fall and winter sports are being honored in a virtual format. The Round Table is presenting award winners on its social media platforms of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and on the Noozhawk.com Sports Page.
The spring sports athletes are not being awarded because their seasons were cut short by the pandemic.
Kling has been “an essential player” for DP’s girls soccer team for three seasons,” coach Seth Asuncion said.
She showed just how valuable she was to the team in a 2-0 win over Lompoc that put the Chargers in first place.
In that game, she spearheaded a defensive effort that shut down the league’s leading goal scorer.
“She is a natural leader and leads by example,” Asuncion said of his team captain. “Emilia has an amazing soccer IQ and understands how to stifle a team’s attack, whether it be by winning a 50-50 challenge, a ball in the air or intercepting a crucial pass.”
Kling also has a calmness to her game, which makes her really valuable on the back line.
“She has outstanding ball control and an ability to find a pass in a tough situation,” said Asuncion.
The coach also noted her work ethic, the willingness to learn more about the game and improve.
Kling signed to continue her career and further her education at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
“Western Oregon has gained not just a phenomenal soccer player but and amazing student that will help the school as a whole,” said Asuncion.