Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – First-year City High head coach Phillip Hansen didn’t unveil a wild or unpredictable offensive scheme in his first season leading the program.
In fact, Hansen admits that using senior midfielder Sam Schroder as the focal point for the Little Hawk offensive attack was among the kept secrets in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
That doesn’t mean the Schroder-led approach wasn’t effective.
Schroder scored a career-high 13 goals and led City High with six assists while directing the Little Hawks to a 9-6 record.
For all her accomplishments Schroder has been named the 2019 Your Prep Sports girls soccer player of the year.
“There was no doubt in my opinion that other teams, especially once the year got going, knew that she was the primary focus,” Hansen said. “For her to take that head on and still produce was excellent to see.”
Receiving constant attention from opposing defenders was nothing new for Schroder.
The manner in which the City High senior handled being the center of attention for opponents this season was a change from past seasons.
“I think that this last year I changed a lot,” Schroder said. “Last year was really rough for me so I tried to have a fresh start this year.”
Schroder scored 11 total goals in her first two varsity seasons as a complimentary player in the City High offensive attack.
Last season, in her first year as the primary offensive option for City High Schroder scored a career-low three goals.
“I wasn’t used to being marked every game and I really let that get to me,” Schroder said. “I did not play through that very well.”
This season was a different story.
Schroder nearly matched her previous career goal total from her first three season combined, scoring a team-high 13 goals in just 15 matches.
The more defenders that opposing teams ran at Schroder the better and calmer the senior midfielder seemed to play.
“As the game sped up, as teams put more players up against her she didn’t let that bother what she needed to do,” Hansen said. “Her ability really slow the game down and keep the game plan in mind was excellent.”
Following her junior season Schroder switched club teams and spent increased time working on strength and agility training.
It all seemed to pay of this spring.
After failing to score in the first three matches of the season Schroder scored 13 goals in the next nine matches as City High went 8-1 during that span.
The Little Hawks were 8-1 when Schroder scored this season and 2-5 when she failed to score.
“I just think I was more prepared for everything this season,” Schroder said. “I worked on a lot of things and in club there were always good players applying that pressure so I was ready for that.”
Schroder scored two goals five times this season after failing to score more than once in a match a year ago.
Just as important as her goal scoring was her ability to distribute the ball from her midfield spot.
Schroder had a career-high six assists which led the team.
“I think the biggest thing is she is not only a great player but she knows how to make people around her better,” Hansen said. “To have a player like that in the central it’s going to elevate not only those around her but her play as well. Her ability to really lead the offensive unit and make people around her better was the big thing for us this year.”
An Iowa recruit, Schroder will begin training for her college career this month.
Schroder knows playing collegiately will be a big step up but believes all the attention she received from opponents the past several seasons has help prepare her for the next level.
“Going to college there will always be players on you no matter what position you are in or where you are at,” Schroder said. “I think that is going to help me not be behind at the next level.”
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