Soccer player

Taylor Heimerl of Rosemount – Twin Towns

That’s the case every year for Taylor Heimerl: the Rosemount striker’s impressive tally of goals is matched by an equally gaudy tally of assists.

This season is not out of the ordinary. The Gophers’ commitment has 19 goals and 17 assists for the Irish, who will face Stillwater in a Class 3A state semifinal at 10 a.m. Wednesday at US Bank Stadium.

“When someone has as many assists as goals, they threaten the other team in so many different ways,” Rosemount coach Gretchen Stramel said. “I had the natural scorers, the girls who sit up front and score goals. But they can be closed. It’s really hard to stop someone who can pass as well as they can shoot. Taylor also did a great job as a humble member of the team.

Undated courtesy photo of Rosemount senior forward Taylor Heimerl, the 2022 East Metro Women’s Football Player of the Year. The Gophers’ commitment has 19 goals and 17 assists while leading Rosemount to this week’s Class 3A State Semifinals. (Courtesy of Rosemount High School)

Part of that is the Rosemount List. The Irish are full of talented players, many of whom Heimerl has played with since he was 9 years old.

“I trust almost everyone I pass,” she noted. “Everyone is so talented.”

But this confidence can cause the older person themselves to be a little too passive. Stramel and Co. often begs Heimerl to be more aggressive in pursuing his own scoring opportunities.

“We tell her she has to hire people,” the coach said. “I think that’s one of the things she’s learned, that the more she does both, the more chances she creates for herself – because they don’t know how to defend her.”

The beauty of Heimerl is that any information you give it, it digests. It was on full screen in late September, a day before the Rosemount game at Farmington. Stramel had a 15-20 minute conversation with Heimerl as the two worked through what the elder called a “mental block” in which she wasn’t pulling enough herself. The next day, she scored three goals in Rosemount’s 5-0 victory over the Tigers.

“She’s thirsty for knowledge and she executes very well,” Stramel said. “We played so well as a team (against Farmington), and our combined play and our shots on net. It seemed almost ridiculously easy to us. But a lot of times it will show over the course of the season if Taylor is on and Taylor is confident behind the ball, and she moves the ball, then everyone will follow, because she’s a great leader – not just in her voice, but her actions and how she plays. It sets the tone on the pitch and it makes the difference for the team.

This is true in many ways for Heimerl. She is gentle with her teammates and treats everyone with equal respect. Stramel asked all of Heimerl’s teammates for a word to describe the eldest when she filled out her Ms. Soccer application. The words had nothing to do with his footballing abilities, but rather centered around a kind and humble personality.

She also sets the tone with her work ethic. Each fall, Heimerl doubles down, advancing in-state with the football team and the cross-country team, while maintaining a GPA. It’s an impressive juggling act.

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

Heimerl has been a starter for the Rosemount soccer team for four years. Stramel still remembers that freshman – shrewd of short stature – roaming the grounds. In the three years that have passed, Heimerl has grown taller and more athletic, while building up her solid soccer IQ.

Heimerl recalls his freshman season and, in particular, Senior Night this fall, when all of his starting teammates shared their wisdom on how quickly high school football careers fizzle out. Heimerl and his freshman teammates thought at the time, “Oh, we’re still going to have three years of this.”

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

And this stellar senior class feels like they have only one thing left to achieve – 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 for two years.”

Finalists

Catherine Beulke, senior striker, Mahtomedi: Has 28 goals for the reigning state champions. Winner of Class 2A Ms Soccer.

Jordan Hechtsenior goaltender, Rosemount: The Irish back line has 16 shutouts to its name this fall.

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

Berit PartenJunior forward, Minnehaha Academy: Registered 41 goals and 26 assists this season.

Vivian Rojas Collinssenior midfielder, Twin Cities Academy: with 31 goals and six assists, was involved in 69% of his team’s goals