No one had to tell Jaiden Thornock just how special a moment it was when she and her teammates collected a state championship trophy at Rio Tinto Stadium last month.
It was just the second time in school history that Bonneville had captured a 4A girls soccer crown. More meaningful to Thornock was the fact she had played on both title-winning teams.
"It's definitely amazing," Thornock said. "It's something a lot of people are never able to experience in their lives, so I definitely feel honored and lucky."
The twin title runs for the
Lakers were made more special because of the role that Thornock played in getting Bonneville's program to that point.
For the past three seasons, Thornock's inspired play helped elevate her team into reaching the 4A title game three straight times — and winning it all twice. She played the part of a great player who made her team one of the best in the state during her high school career.
For that reason, Thornock is a natural choice to be selected as Ms. Soccer by the Deseret News for the 2010 season.
Lakers coach Lane Barker said that the senior forward is a special player who helped change the face of a team that needed to win a play-in game just to make the playoffs two years ago.
"Words can't describe what she's done for our program," Barker said. "She's had a great supporting cast, but every team needs a great striker. You've got to have a great striker, and she's been it every year."
Thornock burst onto the scene as a sophomore when she scored 19 goals and helped her team make the unlikely journey from fifth seed to state champions that fall. Even though she was a younger player, Thornock emerged as the sort of leader her team needed on offense.
It was a role Thornock was willing to embrace.
"I always felt like I was ready," Thornock said. "I always try to be as confident as I can be and I knew that coming in unconfident wasn't going to get me anywhere. I knew that I could come in confident and I could play with these older girls."
Thornock proved she was no one-year wonder, either. She scored 26 goals to lead the 4A ranks as a junior and came back with 19 goals again as a senior. In many cases, these goals came in clutch moments that lifted Bonneville to vital victories.
Her evolution as a soccer player should not surprise anyone close to Thornock. Soccer has been in her blood from the earliest age.
"My mom asked me when I was 3 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said a soccer player," Thornock said. "Ever since I was a little girl, it's something I've wanted to grow up and be. A dream of mine forever, I guess."
The next stage of her soccer dream will commence next fall when Thornock will begin her freshman season at BYU.
Playing for the Cougars topped the list of her soccer goals. When the Cougars offered Thornock a scholarship, there was no question in her mind that Provo was where she wanted to be.
She had scholarship offers from other schools, too. None of those swayed her from her resolve to play for BYU.
"You have to think about it, of course," Thornock said. "But I always knew deep down it was where I wanted to be and where I belonged."
Thornock will join the Cougars as part of a talent-rich 2010 recruiting class that also includes Timpanogos forward Marissa Nimmer. As for what impact she will have at BYU, Thornock's high school coach is confident she can rise to the occasion.
Barker thinks Thornock has the ingredients to be a great player at the next level because she always put in the work necessary to make herself a great player at the high school level.
"She doesn't just sit up there and wait for the ball to come to her," Barker said. "She creates those opportunities on her own, and that's a sign of a great player. She creates on her own. She works for it and starts the offense on her own."
If Thornock can do at BYU what she did at Bonneville, her soccer dream is likely to keep going to horizons even she did not originally imagine.