SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Winning yet another award, Santa Clara women's soccer midfielder and team captain Julie Johnston won the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year award on Monday. Johnston is the third Bronco to win the award, following Aly Wagner in 2000 and Bianca Henninger in 2010.
"I was shocked when I got the phone call telling me I won," said Johnston. "I was in disbelief and didn't think it was true. I saw all of the names of my U-20 teammates and it was such a fantastic list that it means a lot and I'm so happy. I was excited just to be nominated because it meant people were recognizing by play on the soccer field. I don't have words to describe how it feels to know people enjoy watching me play. I've been blessed with such a great opportunity and it really means a lot."
"I couldn't be happier to see Julie's commitment, dedication work ethic and sacrifice for the team-first mentality rewarded," said Santa Clara women's soccer head coach Jerry Smith. "Often times players who play out of the back don't get the recognition of others and Julie played back there for the team and not for herself. It also takes a lot of courage to play a different position and be the captain of a team in the World Cup. She had to bear the weight of the team on her shoulders and showed a lot of courage accepting both of those roles. As a college coach I get to see her work ethic everyday and it's the end of a great story."
The U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, while the Young Male and Young Female awards were added in 1998.
Despite missing the team's first seven games while leading the U.S. to a U-20 World Cup victory as the squad's captain and winning the Bronze Ball, Johnston was a First-Team All-WCC selection while leading the team in goals with eight and points with 21. She added five assists while attempting 53 with 27 on goal. Johnston added three game-winning goals including one in overtime vs. CSU Northridge on Sept. 21. She finished second in the conference in goals per game (0.53) and points per game (1.40).