Since graduating from Baton Rouge High School in 1991, Melissa Ramsey has seen girls soccer steadily grow in the past 20 years.
There were no women’s college soccer teams in Louisiana in 1991 and the youth club participation and number of teams were not where it is now.
That has changed. Ramsey said girls high school soccer is faster now and more technical than when she played.
“More kids are playing the game, and the talent level is higher,” said Ramsey, who is University High’s girls coach. “The players can receive the ball better much better now. They’re using all parts of their body to receive the ball,” said Ramsey, who played collegiately at UMass and helped the Minutewomen to the Final Four.
“More girls are reading the game better, and that leads to expanded tactics.”
Ramsey will use some of those tactics as an assistant coach for the East girls team in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association All-Star soccer games set for Saturday in Lafayette.
The game will feature eight local girls players and five local boys.
The East-West girls game is set for 4 p.m. at Teurlings Catholic. The boys game follows at 7 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to coaching in the all-star game for the first time,” Ramsey said. “It’s an honor to work with East head coach Al Silvas of Dominican. It’s such a nice recognition for the players, and it makes it even more special that I coached some of the girls in club.”
Ramsey coached Rachel Fenner and Elizabeth Gutierrez of St. Joseph’s Academy and Lindsay Redhead of Episcopal. Other local participants are Baton Rouge High’s Emily Daigle and Maegen Guillory, Dutchtown’s Nicole Megginson and East Ascension’s Lynda Boylan and Janna Gautreau.
“I know Emily Daigle is a strong player and Maegen Guillory is very creative,” Ramsey said. “Lindsay Redhead is very smart on the ball and reads the game really well. Rachel Fenner is an awesome player and very smart on the field. I knew she was going to be a star at a young age.
“Elizabeth Gutierrez has worked very hard and is a defensive stopper.”
Ramsey said she thinks the East team has good talent. Goalkeepers include Kristi Joseph of Archbishop Chapelle and Boylan. St. Scholastica forward Kate Gutterman, who scored the winning goal and was named MVP in the Division I finals, is a player to watch.
“I hope it’s a high-scoring game,” Ramsey said.
Mandeville’s Sean Esker is the West’s head coach. Acadiana, Byrd, E.D. White, Lafayette, St. Louis Catholic, St. Thomas More and Teurlings Catholic have two players each on the West team. ... Barbe’s Curtis Stewart is the West boys head coach. Northlake Christian’s Nick Chetta is the East boys head coach. ... Baton Rouge High’s Roman Spicer, Catholic’s Chris Bordelon and Ben Westra, Dunham’s Caleb Porter and Episcopal’s Adam Clausen are the local players on the West boys team.