2009 Class A Mr. Soccer Paul Yonga Setting Records at Totino-Grace
Paul Yonga will cap off his high school soccer career this Wednesday evening by playing in yet another state tournament. The Totino-Grace midfielder has been recognized for his club play in the summer by being offered numerous scholarships to Division I schools and has been part of the adidas ODP Elite Soccer Program.
Yonga has also been turning heads with his high school play for Totino-Grace. The Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association chose Yonga as the Class A Mr. Soccer for 2009.
Yonga earned that title by dominating the soccer pitch for four years. He owns the career scoring record at T-G, the single season and career assists record, and was named the best player in the North Suburban Conference as both a junior and a senior. He has been First Team All-State three years in a row, and was chosen as the Minnesota High School Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year as a junior.
Varsity coach Bill Vance says, “What makes Paul special is his love of the game, his commitment to that which is larger than himself, and his dedication to improving.”
Yonga explained that it was a goal of his to win the trophy but it was nice to know that all his hard work had finally payed off. “It was a surprise and yet a relief to win the award,” said Yonga. “I’ve been thinking about that trophy since my sophomore year and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to win it.”
The senior midfielder is not letting the trophy cloud his sights for his next goal, winning the state tournament. Yonga said he thinks experience will be important for his team as they approach the state finals. “I played in the state tournament my freshman, junior and now my senior year,” pointed out Yonga. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have been there and know what it’s like to play on the big stage and be under pressure. There are guys who have been there two and three times like me and we can help the other guys out who are experiencing their first tournament.”
Yonga says that coach Bill Vance has the #1 seeded team working hard at staying focused. “We know we will have a lot of teams gunning for us, so we’ll really need to just keep our concentration and work really hard,” said Yonga. “Coach has been working on that and I think the hard work, concentration and experience will help us to win.”
Paul Yonga and his Totino-Grace (17-3) team will play their first game Wednesday evening, Oct. 28, at Hopkins High School against St. Louis Park (12-8-1) at 7:30 pm in the quarterfinals of the State Tournament.