Steve Fennah is not the hyperbolic type.
The mild-mannered, soft-spoken Jesuit girls soccer head coach doesn't dole out undeserved praise or blow smoke when it comes to his team or his players.
His word, however, carries its weight in gold. The long-time skipper has seen great players come through his program in waves over the last two and a half decades. Fennah has had a first-hand look at some of the top players to ever set foot on the state stage. He's instructed high volume scorers, playmaking midfielders and shutdown defenders and sent them onto the Division One level. If the top players weren't on his team, he devised plans against some of the best as well.
When it comes to Jesuit's greatest player of all time, however, there is only one GOAT, a player who combines the top drawer traits of his former greats into a single savant: Katie Duong.
"Simply put, Katie is the best player at Jesuit in 25 years of Women's Soccer," Fennah said. "She has outstanding technical ability. Excellent vision of the field and great mental strength. Her ability to pass to teammates is a joy to watch. She makes everyone better."
Duong gives Jesuit and Fennah back-to-back Prep Girls Soccer Player of the Year award-winners. Forward Emma Treasure, a sophomore-to-be on the California Golden Bears' women's soccer team, took home the honor in 2018.
The Oregon Sports Awards' voting panel has selected Duong as the 2019 Prep Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Duong also earned 6A and Metro League first-team honors this season. Nedya Sawan (Mountainside) and Baylee Touey (North Valley), who was named 6A and 4A Players of the Year, respectively, were finalists for the Prep Girls Soccer Player of the Year award. Duong was selected to compete in the High School Soccer All-American Game in December in Orlando, where she was named Co-MVP of the contest. She scored a goal to pace the West Coast team to an eventual 3-0 win. She leaves for Minneapolis this week to continue her soccer career at the University of Minnesota.
Duong is a passing wizard blessed with a rifle right-footed shot, unteachable instincts both on and off the ball who brings a distinct entertainment value to the pitch. The soon-to-be University of Minnesota Gopher could make defenders look downright silly with her change of direction dribbling skills and ability to accelerate at the drop of a hat. But Duong looked to score only as a last resort. Her bread and butter was dishing the ball to talented teammates, who oftentimes rewarded her unselfishness with goals in the final third of the field. Duong simply surveys the pitch differently than most midfielders. Her spatial awareness and penchant for seeing plays develop before they unfold are unseen. She can put the ball on a platter for goal-hungry forwards, feed dimes through the tightest of windows or thread timely hit-aheads on counters that catch the defense off-guard. What's more, Duong looked like she never took a play off. Whether she was dicing up Clackamas in the state title game or piling up crazy numbers in one Jesuit's copious amount of blowouts, the Crusader captain kept her play speed at a pell-mell pace. After only competing for her club team and sitting out the high school season in 2018, one could argue Duong was making up for lost time. In reality, the dynamo was doing everything in her power to maximize her potential.
Duong remained active in volunteerism and the classroom throughout high school. She graduated with a 3.99-grade point average and volunteered with Beaverton Police Activity League, Catholic Youth Organization Basketball and as a youth soccer coach.
"Aside from her outstanding soccer talents, Katie is a highly respected member of our school community," Fennah said. "She relates well to her peers and faculty alike, everyone at the school speaks extremely highly of her. She is a great role model for younger students. She really is a brilliant all-around student-athlete."
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