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Daily Pilot Girls' Soccer Dream Team: Reilyn Turner a game-changer for Laguna Beach

Daily Pilot Girls' Soccer Dream Team: Reilyn Turner a game-changer for Laguna Beach
Reilyn Turner scored 20 goals in her sophomore season for Laguna Beach and helped the Breakers win the Orange Coast League and reach the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals. (Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Reilyn Turner has done a lot of winning in soccer, and not necessarily at just the high school level.

Turner scored three goals in the title game last summer in Del Mar, helping her Southern California Blues Under-15 club team win the Elite Clubs National League title with a 7-2 victory over Solar Chelsea FC of Dallas.

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More recently, she returned Monday night from her first international tournament with the United States Under-16 women's national team. Turner again starred in the Torneo delle Nazioni in Slovenia and Italy, scoring four goals in a 6-0 victory over host Slovenia in the semifinals. In the final, she had two assists in a 5-0 win over Japan.

"It's a great honor," Turner said. "I'm just blessed to wear the crest and be part of such a great program, to play with such a great group of talented girls and coaches. It's something that I'll never take for granted."

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Turner, who has verbally committed to UCLA, does not actually turn 16 until October. But it's easy to see that she's a big-time player on the pitch. She proved it again this past winter as a sophomore forward for the Laguna Beach High girls' soccer team.

Turner missed the Breakers' first six games of the season, taking a short break after a fall season full of club and national team commitments. The 5-foot-9 striker still scored a team-best 20 goals, nabbing Orange Coast League MVP honors after the Breakers captured their second straight outright league title. Turner then led the team to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals — Laguna Beach's first time in program history making it there in back to back years — before falling on the road at eventual champion Menifee Paloma Valley.

For her efforts, Turner is the 2017-18 Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year.

Turner's talent has never been in question, and she served as a stabilizing presence once she joined the team. The Breakers lost two top players to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy this season. One of them was Turner's older sister Blake, a junior who was last year's league MVP, and the other was sophomore goalkeeper Cameron Russo.

First-year coach Ben Helm moved junior Shanai Augius to the back line to shore up the defense. Sophomore keeper Camila Reese, who began the year as the junior varsity goalie, also stepped up. Reilyn Turner also helped deliver another year to remember for Laguna Beach (12-10-1).

The Breakers took their lumps without Turner in the preseason, but Helm knew it was worth it to get the striker back for league and the playoffs.

"I don't think you have to hear it from me," Helm said. "The Calvary Chapel coach walked up to her after the second time we played them and just said, 'We've never had a player like you in this league.' That pretty much sums it up."

Turner considered not playing high school soccer this season, focusing on individual improvement. But she said she has a lot of fun playing with her high school classmates, and that was ultimately the reason she came back to the Breakers. At the high school level Turner would routinely be heavily marked, but she knew she could be set up by distributors like senior captain Alden Kramer. Turner's longtime club teammate and fellow sophomore, Jayd Sprague, was another scoring option.

"My team did a good job of getting me the ball," Turner said. "I mean, it all starts from the back. It's just a team effort. The girls are so fun to be around. I think I'm going to play next year, too."

Turner may continue to shine on the national and even international stage. At a school like Laguna Beach, she's a big fish in a small pond.

You'd never know it by talking to her, though.

"I think probably the most remarkable thing about Reilyn is she's unbelievably unassuming," Helm said. "You would never guess how good she is. She has no airs about her, whatsoever. She can be almost too unselfish at times on the field. She celebrates the team's successes."

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COACH OF THE YEAR

Heath Oberle

Marina

Oberle, previously the boys' soccer coach at Westminster High, accomplished big things in his first year with a Vikings team that finished last in the Sunset League a year ago. Marina went 12-1-3 in the preseason and then proved that wasn't a fluke, going 5-4-1 in league for third place to qualify for CIF for the first time since 2009. The Vikings lost at eventual Division 2 champion Temecula Valley in the first round, but Oberle appears to have changed the culture within the program.

FIRST TEAM

Ava McKenzie

FW | Corona del Mar | Sr.

McKenzie, bound for UC San Diego, was a dangerous striker up top for the Sea Kings (13-5-5). She shared Offensive MVP honors in the Pacific Coast League after tallying 10 goals and 14 assists, both team-best totals, and was an All-CIF Division 2 selection.

Erika Sosa

FW | Marina | Sr.

With team-best totals of 28 goals and 14 assists, Sosa was definitely a catalyst for the Vikings turning things around this season. The team captain earned Most Outstanding Offensive Player accolades in the Sunset League. Sosa is bound for Sacramento State.

Desiree Mendoza

FW | Estancia | Soph.

Mendoza is the lone repeat first-team Dream Team selection. She earned it with her play for the Eagles, even after missing the preseason due to club soccer commitments and an ankle injury. Mendoza was the Orange Coast League Offensive MVP after scoring seven goals and dishing out six assists in the Orange Coast League for Estancia (6-9-4, 6-2-2 in league), helping the Eagles finish second.

Vidalia Abarca

FW | Los Amigos | Jr.

Abarca moved from sweeper to forward as a junior for Los Amigos, and the results spoke for themselves. She scored an area-best 54 goals for the Lobos (14-6-5), helping them advance to the CIF semifinals for the first time in program history. Abarca was the Garden Grove League Offensive Player of the Year and an All-CIF Division 5 selection.

Anna Carleton

MF | Huntington Beach | Jr.

Carleton was extremely consistent in both her midfield play and delivering set pieces into the box for the Oilers. The team captain led Huntington Beach with eight goals and 12 assists this season, helping the Oilers (15-10-4) advance to the final of the prestigious Excalibur Cup tournament. Carleton was a first-team All-Sunset League pick.

Jayd Sprague

MF | Laguna Beach | Soph.

Sprague's size and physical style allowed her to score several goals on set pieces, Helm said, as well as be a key holding midfielder. A University of San Francisco commit, Sprague scored twice as the Breakers won at rival Estancia 3-2 to clinch the outright Orange Coast League title. She was a first-team all-league selection.

Megan Chelf

MF | Corona del Mar | Soph.

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Known for doing a backflip after scoring her goals, Chelf controlled the midfield for the Sea Kings and was once again a reliable performer. Chelf, a University of Arizona commit, had nine goals and 10 assists for Corona del Mar, finishing second on the team in both categories. She was a first-team All-Pacific Coast League selection.

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Micayla Shook

DEF | Ocean View | Sr.

Shook also runs cross country and track for the Seahawks, and the three-sport performer provided leadership on the pitch as well. She played a lot of center back as fellow team captain and defender Nancy Cabrera missed time with two concussions. Shook, who scored five goals, helped the Seahawks (5-12-4) navigate through a tough preseason and finish third in the Golden West League to make CIF. She was a first-team all-league pick.

Madison Macias

DEF | Edison | Sr.

A three-year varsity player, the left-footed Macias also played midfielder and could attack from the defensive line. She led Edison (10-7-6) with 10 assists, also scoring three goals and helping the Chargers finish second in the difficult Sunset League. Macias was a first-team all-league selection.

Autumn Stewart

DEF | Marina | Sr.

A New Mexico Highlands University commit, Stewart was a rock for the Vikings at the right back position. Oberle called Stewart, one of three team captains and a first-team All-Sunset League selection, probably his most consistent defender.

Amy Kirk

GK | Edison | Sr.

Kirk had big shoes to fill following the graduation of four-year Chargers goalie Zoe Clevely, but she filled them. Kirk earned Sunset League Defensive MVP honors and allowed just 11 goals all season for Edison, making more than 60 saves. Kirk is committed to Cal Baptist.

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SECOND TEAM

FW Taylor Magliarditi, Sage Hill, Sr.

FW Michael Guptill, Edison, Sr.

FW Marissa Lynch, Fountain Valley, Sr.

FW Lexi Osso, Estancia, Sr.

MF Kellie Hallworth, Marina, Jr.

MF Reese Bodas, Newport Harbor, Fr.

MF Sadie Hill, Pacifica Christian Orange County, Jr.

DEF Alyssa Hornback, Huntington Beach, Jr.

DEF Shanai Auguis, Laguna Beach, Jr.

DEF Katharine Caston, Corona del Mar, Jr.

GK Monique Mendoza, Estancia, Sr.

Twitter: @mjszabo

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