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Emily Hinchman: Soccer Player of the Year

Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 by Kevin Chroust

No longer overshadowed: Hinchman grew from defender to top midfielder

By KEVIN CHROUST - editorial@kcchronicle.com Kane County Chronicle Newspaper
Geneva soccer player Emily Hinchman is the Chronicle’s 2009 soccer player of the year. Hinchman scored eight goals and had seven assists to lead the Vikings to a IHSA Class 4A sectional championship game. Rob Winner –

In a word, Geneva girls soccer coach Megan Owens describes Emily Hinchman as “competitive.” But it takes a lot more than a word to understand just how much Hinchman meant to the Vikings.

“I grew up with three older brothers so I was always tagging along with them and trying to keep up with them,” Hinchman said. “That’s what got me motivated when I was little and I think I’ve always just kept it with me. I’ve always liked to win at what I do and just try really hard to do so.”

Over the course of three seasons, Hinchman grew from an overshadowed sophomore defender to a center midfielder as a junior and senior that opposing coaches warned each other about.

She was also a starting guard on the Geneva basketball team that completed an undefeated regular season and finished fourth in the state. As a result, she didn’t exactly make it to soccer tryouts, but Owens, a first-year varsity coach at Geneva, had been told she’d probably want to save a jersey.

“She was put in a position this season starting later and she had a new coach and a relatively young and new group of girls around her, and she just jumped in head first. She has that inner passion for soccer,” Owens said.

Hinchman scored a team-high eight goals with seven assists and led the Vikings to the verge of a sectional championship, including a thrilling upset over heavily favored St. Charles North in the sectional semifinals. It’s hard to make an argument for any area player being more valuable to her team or better with the ball at her feet, and she’s now earned Chronicle Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year honors.

“You can tell watching the midfield when she’s not out there that it’s just not the same,” Owens said. “She just has a different presence. She plays so well attacking and defensively. She distributes to her teammates so well.”

Hinchman capped an already impressive career with the most important goal she scored at Geneva just over a minute into the first overtime of the sectional win over St. Charles North. It came on an indirect free kick in the box from an angle that looked unlikely to yield much of a chance on goal.

“That North game’s always going to be memorable for me just because I was able to step up and take that shot, so it was a great way to finish my year,” Hinchman said.

The Vikings bowed out in the sectional final against Conant later that week, but soccer is far from over for Hinchman. She’ll be playing this fall at Illinois Wesleyan, where she’ll most likely be moved to a forward position to make the most of her one-on-one abilities.

It’s a position she’s dabbled with in the past, but she thinks it could take a little getting used to.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to do some good things up top for them,” Hinchman said. “I’ve always focused on seeing the whole field and looking at my options, but I like attacking the goal and taking on players, so it’ll be a good change for me.”

Owens is confident she’ll be just fine. Why?

“She’s just so competitive,” Owens said.

And for some people it’s apparently just that easy.

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