Playing for the Hoover High girls’ soccer team isn’t easy.
Especially when you’re Kristal Phillips.
Especially when you demand so much of your teammates, and even
more of yourself. And especially when you’re used to competing on a
club team with a handful of Division I college prospects.
So as Phillips sat on a bench at Hoover reflecting on her junior
season, she chose her words carefully.
She didn’t want to sound cocky, and didn’t want to put her
teammates or the program down. But she said what everybody else had
“This was a hard year,” she said.
It was also a season that helped Phillips mature on and off the
A lot was asked of Phillips.
The junior standout had to be a leader, a scorer and an on-field
general. And to top it off, she had to help first-year Coach Saran
Atwal manage a roster that included a number of inexperienced
It’s for these reasons that Phillips was unanimously chosen by the
writers and editors of the Burbank Leader and News-Press as the
All-Area Player of the Year.
Phillips’ exceptional season nearly didn’t materialize.
She didn’t want to play for the Tornadoes because she had seen
firsthand how the program had mightily struggled -- posting a
combined 23-59-8 record, 8-40-2 in the Pacific League in the previous
five seasons -- and she didn’t want to put herself in that position
And she was accustomed to playing for West Valley Samba in the
Coast Soccer girls’ Under-19 Premier League, which is regarded as the
best club team in the state, if not the nation, and competing at the
high school level didn’t entice Phillips.
Her mom convinced her otherwise.
Blanca Phillips persuaded her 17-year-old daughter to help reshape
the Hoover program.
“I knew it would be good for her just to go out and play hard,”
Blanca said. “She loves soccer and I wanted her to have fun.”
Phillips -- who missed half of her freshman year with a sprained
right ankle and all of her sophomore year rehabilitating a torn
anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee -- taught her teammates
by example. Her return sparked Hoover (10-10-3, 3-4-3 in league) to
its first playoff appearance in program history.
Despite the Tornadoes’ loss to Ventura Buena, 11-0, in the first
round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, Phillips was
“I think we accomplished a lot,” said Phillips, who led all area
players with 19 goals and 50 points. “We went out there and tried our
Opposing coaches also saw the imprint left by Phillips, an All-CIF
“She brings a lot of fire to the team,” said Crescenta Valley
Coach Reggie Rivas, whose squad rallied from a 1-0 deficit -- on a
goal scored by Phillips -- to beat the Tornadoes, 2-1, in the waning seconds Jan. 21.
“She’s a big inspiration to the players. “She just works hard. She
is the type of player that works until her legs fall off. Seeing her
work that hard brings the best out of everyone. It brings the best
out of her team and out of our team.”
“This was a different year for Kristal,” Blanca said.
Translation: Phillips matured -- a lot.
“Kristal sometimes gives up and gets frustrated,” Blanca said. “In
high school, you get more frustrated because it’s not a club team.
“But this year, Kristal was able to handle everything really well.
I was so surprised. That was a real, real difference in Kristal.”
Kristal couldn’t agree more.
By being Ms. Everything for Hoover, Phillips learned to appreciate
the hard work put in by coaches. She realized what needed to be done
to achieve success.
And she discovered that a little extra effort can go a long way
for a program attempting to revamp its image.
2002-2003 BURBANK LEADER All-AREA TEAM Girls’ Soccer
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
KRISTAL PHILLIPS* JR.
HOOVER * MIDFIELDER
* Accounted for 31 of her team’s 35 goals.
* Tied for area lead with 19 goals.
* Led all area players with 50 points.
* All-Pacific League first-team selection.
* All-CIF Southern Section Division II second-team honoree.
* Guided Hoover, which finished 10-10-2, 3-4-3 in league, to first
playoff appearance in program’s history.
* One of only five players to score against every team in league.
* Plays for West Valley Samba in the Coast Soccer girls’ Under-19
Premier League, which is regarded as the best club team in state, if
not the nation.
* Is a top player in softball as a shortstop.
To see what local players made it on to the Leader All-Area girls’
soccer second team, please see,
ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM
NAME SCHOOL YEAR POSITION
Allie Bengtsson CV Senior Forward
Caroline Chrzan Burbank Freshman Forward
Michelle Drugan La Canada Freshman Midfielder
Heather Francis Glendale Junior Defender
Amber Horwith CV Senior Forward
Katie Jorgensen Hoover Senior Midfielder
Erin Marshall Fl. Sac. Heart Junior Sweeper
Betsy McGovern Fl. Sac. Heart Junior Goalkeeper
Patty Lynn Mitchell CV Senior Midfielder
Katrina Payne Fl. Sac. Heart Junior Defender
Jessica Sloan CV Senior Defender