Former Fossil Ridge High School student Jaelin Howell was named the best player in women’s college football on Thursday.
The Missouri Athletic Club and the United Soccer Coaches Association named Florida State midfielder Howell the winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy, presented to the best player in NCAA Division I football. It is the football equivalent of college football’s Heisman Trophy.
She started in all 16 games for the Seminoles this season as a starting midfielder. She helped anchor a backline that saw 11 shutouts in 16 games and allowed only eight goals for the entire season. Howell also scored five goals and registered two assists.
The junior midfielder helped the state of Florida to the national title fight, in which the Seminoles lost on penalties to Santa Clara. She helped the State of Florida win a national title as a freshman in 2018.
Howell was appointed to the United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Region First Team and the United Soccer Coaches All-American First Team. She was also inducted into the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI First team and voted number 3 in the country by TopDrawerSoccer at the end of the Top 100 season. Howell was named to the All-ACC First Team and Midfielder of the Year for the ACC in the fall.
The 21-year-old made her US national team debut in November when she appeared in a game against the Netherlands alongside former Fossil Ridge (and youth football) teammate Sophia Smith. Howell has also represented the United States in a number of tournaments at the youth national team level.
Howell’s father, John, is a former Colorado State and NFL player who won a Super Bowl. Her brother Jack is a newcomer to the CSU soccer team.
Sophia Smith named one of the best young players in the world
Smith, a striker, continues to see her star status rise in the football world.
The Fossil Ridge graduate was number 1 in the 2020 NWSL draft from Portland of Stanford, where she won a national title.
She has scored two goals in three games this season with Portland, both at the start of the season. She scored just minutes after her unofficial debut last season in the NWSL Challenge Cup.
ESPN recently listed 20-year-old Smith as number 6 on the world’s best players under the age of 21.
She has made four appearances for the US women’s national team and has an template.
The US forward pool is the deepest in the world, and Smith is fighting for a coveted spot on the US Olympic team.
Smith and Howell spent time as junior soccer players at the same club and played together at Fossil Ridge High School for several years.
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