Bountiful's Caroline Putz and Brighton's Pardis Ariazand have put Utah on the soccer map once again.
The two Utah high school soccer stars have been selected as first-team Parade All-Americans and will be recognized in Sunday's Parade magazine in the Deseret News.Ariazand and Putz, both seniors, were also recently chosen to play on the U.S. National 18-under girls soccer team.
"They deserve it. It's about time these Utahns are getting recognized," said Brighton coach Kathy Kuhn. "I'm just thrilled for them."
Putz set a single-season state record last fall by scoring 47 goals for Bountiful. Last year, the University of Washington-bound stand-out was the first Utah girl soccer player to be named a Parade All-American.
"It's been a pleasure coaching her," said Bountiful coach Dave Wigham. "I said all along that she's a better person than a soccer player, and she's a great soccer player."
Wigham was most impressed by Putz's strenuous daily training and performance in practice.
"She just outworks people. I've never met anyone as dedicated as her," he said. "Her strength is she can finish, but what set her apart was her work ethic."
Ariazand earned 5A MVP honors last season after leading the Bengals to their third state championship. She scored nine goals with six assists as a senior and had 24 goals and 16 assists in her three-year career as a Brighton starter.
But Kuhn, who was recently honored as the national coach of the year, says stats aren't what makes Ariazand an exceptional player.
"She's a leader. She's so soccer smart; she knows the game of soccer," Kuhn said. "The kids always looked up to her and looked to her for direction. She's such a role model."
Ariazand is headed for the University of Portland, a national soccer power which has made the NCAA Final Four three years in a row.