Stoian continues to solidify legacy at Arizona
Arizona midfielder Gabi Stoian (9) sidesteps California midfielder Kelly Fitzgerald (16) on Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Oct. 30, 2016.
Arizona soccer senior midfielder Gabi Stoian’s impact on the field is immeasurable. Stoian is recognized for her goal scoring and chance creating abilities. Her on field aptitude will be a loss for Arizona after she graduates in Spring 2018.
There are no measurements for Stoian’s impact on the Wildcats, especially when it comes to off the field. Stoian has been a leader on every team she’s played on, including Sereno S.C., her club team in Phoenix, Arizona.
She was appreciated by Sereno not only for her on field skill, but also as a person. The Sereno ECNL (Elite Championship National League, the highest level of club soccer in America) Twitter page tweeted happy birthday to Stoian referencing that she was a leader in her community by setting a great example of all the Sereno ECNL players.
Stoian left behind a legacy at Sereno and will most likely do the same at Arizona. Despite the fact that Stoian played her last game for the club over two years ago, she is periodically seen on the sideline of Sereno games.
At the age of 14, Stoian opened up her exposure to scouts after playing in a premier club soccer league for Sereno. This exposure led her to be selected to play for the U.S. U15 National Team.
Stoian is looked at in a similar way by her former school, Pinnacle High School. She only played soccer at Pinnacle for her senior year, but in her one year she led her team to the school’s second state championship scoring 24 goals in 26 games, along with 9 assists. She was named the 2014 Gatorade female player of the year in Arizona. Stoian regularly returns to Pinnacle and helps with their training during winter break after the collegiate season at Arizona has ended.
Pinnacle assistant coach Joe Kiefer, who joined the program the year after Stoian graduated, sees a strong legacy that the Arizona midfielder left behind.
“Even the players that didn’t play with her, or know her, know of her,” Kiefer said. “They appreciate when she comes back and meets the players and is there for some of the training. [The girls] take pride in having her as a representative of Pinnacle High School with all she did as an athlete and a student.”
The Phoenix native took college soccer by storm. As a freshman Stoian scored 13 goals, the second highest in UA history, and tallied 7 assists in 21 games played. She also achieved the rare feat of a hat trick, scoring three goals in one game against the Nevada Wolfpack.
Stoian was named to the All Pac-12 Second Team as a freshman, and won Offensive Player of the Week once during her time as a Wildcat. As a sophomore, she only scored 6 goals, but her work off the ball earned her All Pac-12 First Team honors.
Matt Smith, head coach of Corona Del Sol High School who faced off against Stoian during her senior year in Phoenix explained that Stoian makes everyone else around her better, in an interview after she won the Gatorade Player of the Year award, according to USA Today. As a sophmore, Stoian also helped lead her team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Stoian is coming off a down season after such high expectations following the team’s deep tournament run in 2015. She still has scored six goals moving her to third place all time at Arizona.
The star midfielder looks to set the school record in career goals, assists, points and shots. Stoian will be able be in the top ten in career games if she plays every game remaining on the season, plus one postseason game.
Although her name at the top of the record books would be an accomplishment for Stoian, she is looking to make the same impact at Arizona that she has at Sereno and Pinnacle.
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