When the Ankeny girls’ soccer team captured the Class 3A state title earlier this month, it appeared to be the perfect way for senior defender Chloee Kooker to close out her illustrious high school career.
Kooker was named to the all-tournament team for the second straight year after the Hawkettes won the fourth state championship in school history. She helped the team finish the season with seven consecutive shutouts.
Kooker, an Indiana State recruit, also earned all-state honors for the second consecutive season. She was selected to the Class 3A first team by the Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association.
However, the crowning achievement for Kooker was yet to come.
On Tuesday, the Ankeny star was named Miss Soccer for 2019 by the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association. She becomes the second straight winner from the Hawkettes’ program after Alexis Legg won the award last year.
“Chloee, in my opinion and that of the many college coaches that watched her play this year, was the best central defender in the state,” said first-year Ankeny coach Simon Brown. “The fact she didn’t make the Des Moines Register team of the year was embarrassing on their part, and I think they know that now.”
Kooker scored four goals and had five assists this season. A team captain, she helped the Hawkettes to an 18-4 record.
To be considered for the Miss Soccer award, a student must meet the following criteria: exhibit scholastic excellence (a 3.50 or above cumulative GPA); demonstrate superb sportsmanship on the soccer field; contribute to the betterment of her community through volunteer works; and be a graduating senior.
Kooker is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Principal scholar award. She volunteers at her church in Ankeny, and she also organized the team’s volunteer car wash at their “Single Moms’ Day Out”.
“What all the parents, families and supporters see is the 80 minutes of soccer she played in every game,” Brown said. “What you don’t see, and why I feel she is fully deserving of this award, is her leadership off the field. She set an example of a student-athlete with a great attendance record and impressive GPA.
“She led the team talks at halftime before the coaches came into the locker room. She would be the first to carry equipment, like balls and cones from the bus to the field or to practice, leaving freshmen with nothing to carry. She would lead team prayer before games, citing Bible verses that related to the game and opponent we were about to play. After tough losses to Ankeny Centennial and Ames, she was the first one speaking in the group with words of encouragement and belief.
“Yes, the 80 minutes of soccer are important, and she was the best at her position this season, but she embodied what it meant to be a leader, role model, and Ankeny Hawkette,” he added.
Kooker and her teammates capped off their storybook season with a 1-0 victory over top-ranked Waukee in the Class 3A final. The Hawkettes also closed out the regular season with a 1-0 win at Waukee.
“The two weeks of regional and state tournaments, she took the team on her back and gave everyone–including the coaches–a belief that anything was possible, together,” Brown said. “Chloee was one of the best soccer players I ever had the privilege of coaching, and we will miss her on our team. Not only is she a great player, but also a great person that is truly deserving of Miss Iowa Soccer 2019.”