They say legends are made from this!
Barely old enough to vote and still in the process of finishing her high school education, Lindsay Thompson has paved a trail few will be able to follow.
Her feats on the soccer field have made the Lakewood Ranch High senior somewhat of a folk hero. Stories of her booming shots with either leg, often from midfield, which are too fast for an opposing goalie to stop, have become commonplace. It's hard to find a soccer field in Manatee County where someone doesn't have a Lindsay Thompson story.
If there is a chink in Thompson's armor maybe it's in her own self evaluation. When she was recently told that she was selected Herald-Tribune Female Soccer Player of the Year for the third straight season, the 18-year-old was surprised.
Thompson had to be the only person who follows area soccer to feel that the award was unexpected. No one else was more deserving, say the area coaches. University of Florida women's head soccer coach Becky Burleigh added to the lore by saying that Thompson is a person she can count on to provide immediate offensive punch next season when she becomes a Gator.
Thompson finished her high school career with a school single-season record 43 goals and a career 127 goals. She sparked the program to four straight district championships, which along with her assists, are the things she is most proud of.
She entered her senior year with 41 assists and added 17 this past season in leading the Lady Mustangs to the region semifinal and an 18-3-1 record.
Thompson says she is indebted to her parents, Dale and Elizabeth, particularly for the value system they instilled in her. Among the things they taught her was to be humble and thankful for her abundance of natural talent.
"My parents told me to live life to the fullest and try to treat other people the way you would like to be treated," Thompson said. "I've won a lot of awards, but what keeps me humble is that I know I've been given (physical) gifts and talents. I try to use them to the best of my ability.
"The thing I am most proud about is the assists. A lot of people think you are selfish if you're just a goal scorer. To me, giving somebody an assist and helping the team win is the most important thing."
Thompson says she just tries to go out and play the game to the maximum and doesn't worry about what others think. Her goal is to make her teammates better.
"I wasn't expecting to get this award (Player of the Year) and I feel honored," Thompson said. "I am glad people seem to want to nominate me. It means I must be doing something impressive. I think those who watch me play see I am unselfish."
Lakewood Ranch head coach Guy Virgilio calls Thompson the best player he has ever had in his 17 years coaching high school and club soccer. He has numerous stories to tell about her feats on the soccer field.
"There was a game against Manatee where she dribbled with her left foot into the middle of the field and shot in a goal in the upper left corner of the goal from more than 30 yards out," Virgilio said. "About 10 minutes later, she does the same thing with her right leg and puts it in the upper right corner of the net where it's impossible for the goalie to get.
"There was also a district tournament game against Charlotte where we were losing 3-0 and she scored three goals in 12 minutes and later added a fourth goal. I've been fortunate to coach a lot of good players, but no one had the overall skill that Lindsay has."
LAKEWOOD RANCH, senior
BY THE NUMBERS
Scored a single-season, school-record 43 goals as a senior.
Finished with a school-record 127 career goals and holds the school single-game record with six goals. Holds the school career record for assists with 58.
Scored 19 goals as a freshman, 28 as a sophomore and 37 as a junior.
Thompson is the consensus best female soccer player in the Herald-Tribune area. She is a three-time Player of The Year. She scored 80 goals in the final two seasons and is also the school career assist leader. In her four varsity seasons, Lakewood Ranch won four district championships, reached the region semis three times and was a region finalist once. The Lady Mustangs record during that time were 73-15-6. Signed with University of Florida, Thompson is thinking of becoming a dentist and/or playing professional soccer.