Grain Valley senior Rylan Childers not only left her legacy behind following her final year with the Eagles, but she had one of the greatest careers in the history of Missouri high school soccer.
Childers had 194 career goals, which is fifth all-time and she sits alone at the top the Missouri State High School Activities Association record book for most career assists with 119.
Her efforts didn’t go unrecognized.
Childers tallied 63 goals (breaking her own school record) and 28 assists to lead Grain Valley to a 22-4-1 record and a Class 3 state semifinal appearance. Her outstanding season led the Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association to name Childers as Class 3 Co-Offensive Player of the Year along with Incarnate Word’s Emily Groark. It was Childers’ fourth year in a row making the all-state squad and she headlined a group of eight players from Eastern Jackson County who made the all-state list, which was released this week.
Freshman sister Raena Childers (second team) and fellow Grain Valley teammate Marissa Schmitt joined Rylan Childers on the Class 3 squad.
Blue Springs South goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer was the only Class 4 first-team selection. She was joined by Jaguar teammates Brie Severns (second team) and Taylor Gardner (second team) and Lee’s Summit North’s Kaylie Rock on the Class 4 squad. Oak Grove goalkeeper Abby Neuweg earned Class 2 honorable mention honors.
Rylan Childers, also the Western Region Co-Player of the Year, stood out for Grain Valley, which finished with a No. 7 state ranking.
“She never ceases to amaze you,” Grain Valley soccer coach Tyler Nichol said of Childers. “She always pulls something else out of her hat that you’ve never seen her do. I can’t speak highly enough about her talent.”
For Childers, it never gets old for her to earn the honor.
“I was excited,” said Childers, who has signed to join older sister Regan Childers at UMKC. “During the season I try to work really hard and the results really showed. I wasn’t the person that put myself in these places. My teammates helped me get this award.”
Schmitt was a big part of the Grain Valley’s postseason run as she tallied 15 goals and 21 assists to cap off her career with the Eagles.
“She was probably our best individual defender,” Nichol said of Schmitt. “She has come a long ways since she was a freshman. She played mostly left back for us and sometimes slid into the midfield.”
Raena Childers, who had 23 goals and 25 assists, was a big part of Grain Valley’s midfield as she filled the void left by all-state player Avery Brady, who elected to play for the Sporting Kansas City Development Academy. Raena seemed to always have her best game against the Eagles’ toughest opponents, Nichol said.
“She meshed with the group right away,” NIchol said. “She slid right in without any issues. She was a huge part of our team. Some of those games against bigger schools, she played some of her best games.”
Grain Valley wasn’t the only team with three all-state players as Blue Springs South had a trio of their own earning those honors. Werremeyer, who also was Western Region and Suburban Big Seven Goalkeeper of the Year, showed off her ability to get to shots a lot of high school goalkeepers couldn’t. Her 6-foot frame allowed her reach shots under the crossbar easier and she was even able to stop balls headed inside the top corners of the goal.
She had a 1.13 goals against average, an .866 save percentage and eight shutouts.
“We have been lucky to have great goalie play the past five years,” South coach Todd Findley said. “We had Megan Swanson break some shutout and saves records. Alaina stepped right in after Megan graduated.
“Alaina has size, strength and reach. She is able to get to shots that normally turn into goals. She can reach up to the top bar and knock balls over and stretch from one post to the other. You don’t see a lot of high school aged goalkeepers make saves that she can.”
Werremeyer acknowledged that Swanson was a big influence for her.
“I love Megan, she is so fun to play with,” Werremeyer said. “She pushed me every day at practice. She left a legacy at South and I knew I had to come in and fill some pretty big shoes. I got a text before the season, and she said, ‘Hey, I want you to break all of my records.’ She’s so supportive of me.”
Findley referred to Werremeyer and Severns as his “bread and butter combo.” Severns was the offensive part of that combo as she scored 60 percent of the Jaguars goals with 25, which was second most in the season in the history of the program.
“Brie began the season just scoring goals against really quality opponents,” Findley said. “Teams really began to target her later. We needed Taylor and others to step up in the attack. Taylor really gave us a goal scoring option and took some pressure off Brie.”
Gardner, who had been a center back the last three years, transitioned to the midfield for the first time in her high school career. She adjusted well to the position change as she became one of the team’s top playmakers, totaling four goals and five assists during a season that she missed seven games due to injury.
“It seems kind of silly to move an all-state defender, returning from injury, out of the back,” Findley said. “We also lost players like Hannah Maupin and Molly Voigt out of the back. But when you have players like Ashton Warren and Madi Geren playing well in the back, I felt like it was something we could afford to do and that we needed to do to build our attack a little bit better.
“Taylor really took one for the team to move positions. She took to it well and I think she found it quite refreshing to be up the field a little bit and have a lot more goal scoring opportunities.”
Like Severns, Rock powered the offense for her team. Coming off a sophomore season in which she had a postseason to remember with three goals in the state final four, Rock continued to impress with 21 goals and three assists while leading the Broncos to a district title.
“I didn’t know if she would be recognized because there are so many great forwards in the state,” North coach Ryan Kelley said. “Some had better stats and more goals. Kaylie had a tremendous season and was a main piece of our attack. She caused a lot of teams a lot of issues with her athleticism."