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All-American Foytlin Makes Most of Position Change

December 03, 2012

Katie Foytlin  
Sophomore captain Katie Foytlin was named to the NJCAA
All-America second team.

Katie Foytlin could hardly believe the text message she received from her coach.

Juergen Huettner had notified his sophomore sensation that she had been named a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American.

Foytlin was named to the NJCAA’s second team, becoming the first St. Louis Community College soccer player, and second STLCC athlete, to be named an All-American since moving to a districtwide athletics department last year.

But the reality of such an honor was a bit hard to grasp.

“I really couldn’t believe it,” Foytlin said. “Having to make that transition, it was really hard to believe.”

“That transition” was a move from midfielder, where Foytlin proved herself as a productive offensive player as a freshman with five goals and 17 assists, to sweeper, where she would sacrifice that offensive production for leading a national tournament-quality defense. A team that was long on talent, but short on experience needed veteran leadership in the defensive half of the field. For Huettner, there was never any question regarding who his best option was.

Huettner coached against Foytlin for three years while he was at Althoff High School and she was at Belleville East before she joined STLCC. Though Foytlin preferred the offensive game, Huettner knew Foytlin possessed the skill set and the mentality necessary to be successful as a defender. Though it proved to ultimately be the right decision, it was one that was not met without opposition. It was a move that had even the team-first, mild-mannered Foytlin skeptical early on.

“Early on in the season, she came on up to the coaches and said, ‘Hey, I had a great year at midfielder. I had those big numbers,’” Huettner said.  “She knows how people are. People like goals and assists. I told her back then, ‘Katie, just trust me on this. If you’re as good of a player as we think you are, people will notice you.’ Well, she was.”

Was she ever.

Foytlin led a defensive unit that held opponents to just 1.07 goals per game. Goaltenders Apolonia Thomas (Cape Central) and Meggin Werner (Mehlville) often found themselves in the net with little to do, as opponents would go entire halves without a shot on goal. In one particular six-game stretch, the Archers shut out their opponent five times.

In the Archers’ District D playoff game against Heartland Community College, it was a goal-saving play by Foytlin that kept Heartland off the scoreboard in the first half, and proved to be a pivotal moment in sending STLCC to its first national tournament appearance under Huettner.

And now, as Huettner promised, his sophomore captain has been noticed. It’s an honor that brought out a bit of emotion from Huettner, who has seen so much of Foytlin’s development at both the prep and collegiate levels.

“It’s great when kids get this stuff,” Huettner said. “I kind of choked up a bit when I texted her about it. This is what it’s all about.”

Even after receiving the All-American honor, arguably the top individual achievement for a collegiate athlete, Foytlin, true to her form, deferred credit to her teammates.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team. They helped me get there,” Foytlin said. “I still can’t believe it.”