Mustangs News · Cara Young Wins National Honor For Tennessee



In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Cara Young of Houston High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Young is the fourth Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Houston High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Young as Tennessee’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Young joins an elite alumni association of past state soccer award-winners, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel High School, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, 2002-03, East Brunswick High School, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004- 05, Blue Valley West High School, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire High School, Mass.) and Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista High School, Colo.).

The 5-foot-7 senior forward and midfielder led the Mustangs to a 21-2 record and a second-straight Class AAA state championship this past season.

Young recorded 16 goals and 14 assists, including the lone score in Houston’s 1-0 win over Collierville High in the state title game. A United Soccer Coaches All-American selection, Young participated in the High School All-American Game. She concluded her prep soccer career with 39 goals and 34 assists.

Young has volunteered locally with Mission of Mercy, providing dental care to those in need, and for Locks of Love.

“Cara has moved to several different positions during her high school career and she did it willingly and did it well,” said Alexis Heinz, head coach of Briarcrest Christian High. “She works hard in the attack and very hard to get back on defense.”

Young maintained a weighted 3.38 GPA in the classroom. Taking advantage of NCAA early signing rules, Young inked a financial-aid agreement that paved the way for her to enroll at the University of Arkansas, where she will play soccer. She graduated from high school in December and recently completed her first semester at Arkansas.

She is the third member of Houston Girls Soccer program to earn this honor in the last four years and fourth overall.

Fellow 2019 Classmate Jenna Kemp won the 2017-18 Award, (Gabby Little (HHS Class of 2016) was named the Tennessee Player of the Year for 2015-16, while Olivia Harrison (HHS Class of 2012) was the recipient for the 2011-12 season.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.