Vitals: Buchanan, senior, striker
Need to know: The Tri-River Athletic Conference MVP scored 34 goals and a team-leading 30 assists
Up next: Received a scholarship from Cal Poly
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
When it was Kacey Held’s time to take center stage for Buchanan High, the senior striker certainly caught people’s attention.
After playing a complementary role to high-scoring players such as Anisa Guajardo, Lisa Hensley, Shannon Lynott and Tori Alvarez during her first three seasons, Held uncorked a 34-goal, 30-assist campaign for a Bears team that was virtually untouchable by anyone in the Central Section en route to winning their fifth straight Division I girls soccer title.
It was a performance that impressed coaches all around the section and led to Held being selected The Bee’s Girls Soccer All-Star Player of the Year.
Check out the reactions from coaches who watched Held deliver one of the finest seasons in Buchanan history.
- Clovis North’s Nick Pappanduros: “She’s the best player in the Valley, without a doubt. She changes the game just by being on the field.”
- Tulare Western’s Osama Hamid: “She is a stud. She turns spectators into fans real quick.”
- And Bullard’s Onesta Francis: “I liked her because in the women’s game, it’s based more on teamwork and passing. But she’s one of the few players who can beat people one on one with her individual ability.”
Everything fell into place this season for Held, the Tri-River Athletic Conference MVP.
She had a goal and an assist in Buchanan’s season-opening 8-1 win over Hoover and went on to average just more than a goal and an assist per game as the Bears went 27-0-1 before losing to San Clemente in the CIF Southern California Regional semifinals.
“I knew with the seniors we graduated that I had to step up into that role or we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we did,” Held said.
And in the middle of it all, on Feb. 2, Held put her signature on a college scholarship offer from Cal Poly, which just happens to be in her favorite town of San Luis Obispo, where her family has vacationed for years.
That was the culmination of a process that started when she took up the sport as a kindergartner, intensified when she began playing club soccer in the third grade and became a self-described “obsession” when she started playing year-round in the seventh grade.
“My love for soccer is the beauty of the game and the movements and your options,” Held said. “The coach doesn’t decide the plays. You decide what you do with the ball.”
Buchanan coach Erik Farfan said Held’s dedication to the sport is what sets her apart.
“Soccer runs through her veins,” Farfan said. “She doesn’t do track or cross country. She’s a 12-months-out-of-the-year soccer player.
“Her love and passion for the game rings through in how she plays. This year, she stood out above the rest. She’s one of the best players we’ve seen come out of our program.”