The long-awaited kickoff has arrived.

The high school sports “fall” season makes its triumphant return today, about 2 1/2 months after the actual fall 2020 season ended.

The coronavirus pandemic has left Oregon without any high school sports since last March, and no one’s more ready to get back to competition than the athletes themselves.

“As we continue to invite and include new players to the team, we are very anxious to begin our upcoming season,” Dallas girls soccer coach Kendra Steele said Feb. 19. “Modified or otherwise, we just want the chance to compete.”

The Oregonian/OregonLive started its “fall” season preview by highlighting cross country athletes. Today we’re focusing on girls soccer players in Class 5A and 6A who stand out to coaches not only for their skills on the field, but for their work ethic, attitude, leadership and perseverance during a trying past year.

“This year, in the midst of this pandemic, it has become more important than ever that the focus is character,” Crater coach Bryton Kiger said.

From left, Morgan Linde, Kendall Walton and Megan Adamec are leaders of the West Albany girls soccer team. (Photo courtesy of West Albany High School)

Megan Adamec (defender), Morgan Linde (wing) and Kendall Walton (defender)

West Albany, seniors

Adamec, a two-year captain of West Albany, “is powerful, a field general and the leader of our defense,” coach Erik Ihde said, while Linde is a “speedy wing with an explosive first step.” Ihde described Walton as an excellent one-on-one defender who spreads the field and attack up the wing. She has “battled injuries and surgery, and never lost her passion or smile,” Ihde said. “She is the sparkplug of our team.”

Gabrielle Alexander

Senior Gabrielle Alexander has been St. Helens’ starting goalkeeper since the end of her sophomore year. (Photo courtesy of St. Helens High School)

Gabrielle Alexander

St. Helens, senior goalkeeper

A straight-A student at Connections Academy, Alexander will be graduating a year early to attend the University of Portland, where she plans to play on the Pilots’ club team. “She started her goalie career as a freshman on my JV team three years ago,” coach Angela Nichols said. “Because of her hard work and dedication, she made tremendous improvements and even swung up to varsity that first year. By the end of her sophomore season, she was the starting varsity keeper and was recognized by all the district coaches with an all-league award. I am super proud of this young lady and feel fortunate to have her for one more season.”

Sydnee Alfano

McNary, sophomore forward

Alfano began as a JV player last year but quickly showed she deserved a varsity spot, finishing the season with four goals and three assists. “Sydnee is an outstanding forward whose speed is hard to match,” coach Lauren Brouse said. “We expect to see even more from her this season.”

Allison Alvarado

Sherwood, senior midfielder/forward

Coach Katie Harman loves Alvarado’s combo of skill and tenacity, and said she’s always willing to do everything in her power to make things happen on the pitch. “Her knack for playmaking and getting her teammates involved is one of her strengths,” Hartman said. “She has an enormous amount of perseverance that she depends upon daily and is able to shine when presented with both challenges and opportunities.”

Lincoln soccer

From left, juniors Riley Buehler, Sedona Anderson and Greta Holvorson expect to be big-time contributors this season. (Photo courtesy of Lincoln High School)

Sedona Anderson, Riley Buehler and Greta Halvorson

Lincoln, juniors

Anderson and Halvorson will form the backbone of the Lincoln defense this season, while Buehler will be strong in possession in the midfield. “With COVID-19, recruiting has been especially difficult for athletes, but this set of players is still looking to play collegiately,” coach Lainey Hulsizer said.

Lucy Angevine

Lucy Angevine is a three-sport star at McMinnville. (Photo courtesy of McMinnville High School)

Lucy Angevine

McMinnville, junior

Angevine is a 4.0 student taking honors coursework while also playing basketball and tennis at McMinnville. Her club commitments include the Westside Timbers 04 Copa team. Coach Anna Heuberger described Angevine as “an exceptional athlete who has shown great perseverance battling back from an ACL injury over a year ago. She really is the glue of our team and we are so proud of her.”

Lindsey Antonson

Junior Wilsonville forward Lindsey Antonson has committed to play at Oregon State. (Photo by GM Artman)

Lindsey Antonson

Wilsonville, junior forward

Antonson’s coaches describe the reigning Class 5A player of the year as a forward with a high soccer IQ plus top-notch technique. “While she tends to be quiet, she leads by example,” co-coach Dallas Malone said. “Lindsey demonstrated this as being the top goal scorer in our league last year. She is both remarkably humble and an incredible role model for younger players. She is an OSU commit, and we look forward to continuing to see her growth as a Pac-12 soccer player.”

Emily Bachman

Lakeridge, senior midfielder

Bachman has been a four-year varsity player, as well as a team captain, for Lakeridge. She was a first-team all-league midfielder in each of the past two seasons (and second-team all-state last year) and can also play up front. Assistant coach John Bass said she forms an excellent leadership trio along with club teammates Payton Moffenbeier and Keely Lipp.

Ella Baker

Beaverton’s Ella Baker has a knack for finding the back of the net. (Photo courtesy of Beaverton High School)

Ella Baker

Beaverton, senior forward

Coach Jennifer Kirwan says the returning second-team all-Metro League forward has an excellent work ethic and is a leader on and off the field. “She is an incredible striker with an eye for the goal,” Kirwan said.

Scout Bale and Marcella Franco

Ridgeview, senior defenders

Bale and Franco hold down the back line for Ridgeview. “Each exemplifies integrity, focus, intensity, excellence,” coach Nic Sedor said of the team co-captains. “Their teammates are challenged and encouraged by these ladies.”

Karla Barajas

Karla Barajas is a leader on defense for Hood River Valley. (Photo courtesy of Hood River Valley High School)

Karla Barajas

Hood River Valley, senior defender

Barajas is the defensive leader for Hood River Valley, coach Amanda Orand said. “She is incredibly driven, committed, focused and knowledgeable about the game,” Orand said.

WOMEN'S VARSITY SOCCER: Jesuit Crusaders vs. Lincoln Cardinals

Macy Barhyte is a star defender for the three-time defending 6A champion Jesuit Crusaders.Brian Murphy/SaderNation.org

Macy Barhyte

Jesuit, senior defender

The first-team Class 6A all-state selection anchored a defense that allowed six goals all season in 2019 and recorded 15 shutouts in earning a third consecutive state championship.

Karina Borgen

Wilsonville, junior midfielder

Borgen thrives on being a leader and controls the game in the center of the field with her reliability and creativity. “She is a player that younger kids can look up to and is always working to coach younger players to be better versions of themselves on and off the field,” co-coach Dallas Malone said.

Jillian Bremont

Redmond, freshman forward

Bremont was a starter and the team’s leading scorer in the matches Redmond was able to play in October and November. “Everyone calls her Jet because she is so fast,” coach Martha Segura said. “Each team we played became very aware of her speed right away and had a difficult time defending her. She has a lot to learn, but in my opinion, will be a top recruit by her senior year if she works hard and sticks with it.”

Aidan Brown

Clackamas, senior midfielder

An Oregon State signee, Brown after this season will participate in the All American High School Game in St Louis at the end of May. “Aidan is a technical center mid that can play in the 6, 8 or 10 role for us,” Oregon State coach Matt Kagan said in a news release. “She has great vision and can make a lot of passes others can’t. We are looking forward to her great personality. She is a great fit for our team and program.”

Abigail Burns

Southridge, senior midfielder/defender

Burns is a versatile player who shifts between playing center mid and outside back. “Abby is natural leader with a passion for the game that’s infectious,” coach Maia Hardy said. “She continues to impress us with her drive and skill.” After graduation, Burns plans to take a gap year and keep playing with her club team, Portland Thorns academy ECNL.

Jaci Byars

Aloha, senior defender

First-year coach Joel Rojas says Byars “has a never-say-die attitude that helps her keep going in practice.” Even when injured, she’s been on the field with Rojas helping out at practices and boosting team morale. “I can see her next year being on my coaching staff as someone her future ex-teammates can look up to,” Rojas said.

Grace Carter

Gresham, sophomore defender

Carter plays club soccer at Eastside Thorns, where her teams have won multiple state championships. “Grace has a fantastic happy-go-lucky attitude, which goes a long way with her peers,” coach Brandon Tatum said. “She will represent our team as a captain this year on the field and is also involved in student government at the high school.”

Trista Coursen

Dallas, sophomore midfielder

Coach Kendra Steele says Coursen likes to be challenged and to try new things, and the sophomore midfielder backed that up by trying out for the boys varsity team. “Trista is a sound player when it comes to footwork, positioning, and is very competitive,” Steele said. “She’s a kindhearted, multi-sport athlete capable of many things.”

Tessa Davidson

Tessa Davidson’s coach at Scappoose called her one of the most technical players on the team. (Photo courtesy of Scappoose High School)

Tessa Davidson

Scappoose, senior forward/midfielder

Davidson has earned first-team all-league honors the past two years and “has been a wonderful leader through the COVID experience,” coach Summer Jark said. “She was always trying to find a way to get the team united. She was on almost all our zoom workouts and was great in lifting others’ spirits.” Jark said Davidson has been playing club soccer since 5 years old and has a deep understanding of the game. She’s still considering her college options.

Hannah Feuerbacher

Aloha, junior midfielder/defender

Feuerbacher started training with the team in December, and coach Joel Rojas said her presence had an immediate positive effect on her teammates. “Her attitude is very positive, and that helps keep the morale high for the girls,” Rojas said. “She has been very welcoming and positive toward the incoming ninth-graders. I can see her being a future captain in the fall of 2021.

Jada Foster

Crescent Valley, senior defender

Foster leads a senior-stacked team that’s won the past two Class 5A state championships. She’ll join teammate and fellow returning first-team all-state forward Ana McClave at Western Oregon in the fall, though McClave will be playing basketball. Other seniors on the team heading for college soccer are midfielder Val Lending (Illinois Tech) and goalkeeper Anna Wilson (Pratt Institute of New York).

Morgen Fried

Sherwood, senior defender

An Idaho State signee, Fried is a four-year varsity player and is a source of strength and calmness for the team — a tough and skilled defender who creates frustration for other teams. “She leads by example through grit and her unwavering determination,” coach Katie Hartman said. “She is one of the hardest workers in the program and we never question her commitment or integrity. She is the ‘we before me’ player and models that mentality for everyone.

Alexis Giusto

Sandy, senior forward

Giusto is the only senior on a team comprising mainly freshmen. “Not only is she one of the most technical and creative goal scorers, but her work rate and grit make her stand out among the top,” coach Zane Fernandez said. “Since the beginning of preseason trainings she has been very inclusive and welcoming of new players; I have no doubt she will leave her mark on the Sandy girls soccer program and inspire our younger players to carry on the legacy and heart of our program.”

Avé Gray

Southridge, junior wing

A definitive team player, “Avé is quick on the outside, which continually generates momentum on our offensive attack,” coach Maia Hardy said. “She is incredibly consistent as a player, teammate and leader. She is positive and proactive on and off the field.”

Kayleigh Gugliotta

Kayleigh Gugliotta excels on the soccer field and in the classroom for Crater. (Photo courtesy of Crater High School)

Kayleigh Gugliotta

Crater, junior defender

Coach Bryton Kiger said Gugliotta understands the concept of being a teammate and works very hard to contribute to the group’s goals and values. “Kayleigh puts in the extra work on and off the field to be the best she can be, always,” Kiger said of the 4.03 student. “She gives her teammates rides when they need it and is always ready to give directions and answer questions.” She’s been looking George Fox, several universities in Oklahoma, St. Michael’s in Vermont and Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dagne Harris

Redmond junior forward Dagne Harris had a 20-goal game as a sophomore. (Photo courtesy of Redmond High School)

Dagne Harris

Redmond, junior forward

Harris showed an incredible nose for the net in her sophomore year, scoring 20 goals, five of them hat tricks – including a five-goal game against Pendleton. She had five more goals than the second-highest scorer in the conference and was named first-team all-league in the Intermountain Conference. “She works her tail off and is always setting a good example on and off the pitch,” coach Martha Segura said. “She is definitely planning on playing at the next level.”

Anna Havlik

Anna Havlik led Scappoose in assists last season and goals in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Scappoose High School)

Anika Havlik

Scappoose, senior midfielder

Havlik was first-team all-league last season and led the team in assists (and led the team in goals in 2018). She’s in the process of applying to the Air Force Academy and recently completed the work required to earn a gold medal Congressional Award. Havlik completed over 400 hours of service, 200 hours of personal development, 500-plus hours of physical fitness, and a five-day/four-night expedition in the Mt. Hood National Forest. “She is an outstanding player and could absolutely play (at Air Force) if accepted,” coach Summer Jark said. “She is also a wonderful role model, achieving a great deal at school and serving her community.”

Ashley Hawley

McNary, senior defender

Hawley is an extremely busy student. She plays soccer, participates in mock trial, Future Business Leaders of America, leadership, and is a member of the National Honor Society. “Ashley competed with her mock trial team in a virtual event through Oregon where she received the MVP attorney award,” coach Lauren Brouse said. “Ashley hopes to be a forensic science technician after college.”

Courtney Hert

The Dalles, senior midfielder

Hert provides a “positive, calming presence and always is there to lend a hand or an ear for her teammates,” coach Colby Tonn said. “She leads by example on and off the field by being active in rigorous courses and community service.”

Finley Heslam (sophomore forward) and Hazel Levin (freshman midfielder)

Roosevelt

For the first time, the Roosevelt girls team has two Olympic Development Program players, Heslam and Levin. “Every aspect of Hazel’s game is strong,” coach Jennifer Lohse said. “Every one. Finley is all about sheer athletic ability and dominance. They are both examples of players who are helping change the face of Roosevelt soccer by choosing their neighborhood school!”

Abi Hoffman

Barlow’s Abi Hoffman will be playing for Portland State in the fall. (Photo courtesy of Barlow High School)

Abi Hoffman, Erin Marynik, Kennedie Shuler and Mikayla Topaum

Barlow

Hoffman and Topaum are senior forward/midfielders, Marynik is a junior defender and Shuler is a sophomore forward/midfielder. Hoffman, one of the top players in the state, was invited to the All American High School Game in St Louis at the end of May and will play for Portland State in the fall. Topaum is a two-time first-team all-state midfielder and has signed to play at Northern Arizona. “All of them are great leaders and even better people,” coach Jay Jacobsen said, adding that they “get it done in the classroom and represent my program and the community in a great way.”

Kelli Huskic

David Douglas forward/midfielder Kelli Huskic will be playing for Clark College in the fall. (Photo courtesy of David Douglas High School)

Kelli Huskic

David Douglas, senior midfielder/forward

Huskic, who’s committed to play for Clark College in the fall, “is an offensive force who leads our team with strong technical skills and tactical awareness,” coach Amy McQueen said.

WOMEN'S VARSITY SOCCER: Jesuit Crusaders vs. Lincoln Cardinals

Jesuit’s Madison Koleno will be playing college soccer at Arizona in the fall.Brian Murphy/SaderNation.org

Madison Koleno

Jesuit, senior midfielder

The returning second-team all-Metro League selection had nine goals and 10 assists in 2019 for the state champion Jesuit Crusaders and has signed to play at Arizona in the fall.

Madisen Kramer

Madisen Kramer is a two-year captain for Centennial. (Courtesy of Centennial High School)

Madisen Kramer

Centennial, senior defender

Kramer is a two-year captain, two-time first-team All-Mt. Hood Conference player and the returning co-defensive player of the year in the conference. She’s signed to play next season at Clark College. “She is the leader and the hardest-working girl on our team,” coach Kelsey Birkhofer said.

Briana Kubli

Briana Kubli has been Willamette’s leading scorer the past couple of years. (Photo courtesy of Willamette High School)

Briana Kubli

Willamette, senior forward/midfielder

Kubli is a versatile playmaker who’s technically talented, gifted with speed, and can defend. “She has been our leading scorer for a couple years now,” coach Christine Guldager said. “She may be small in stature, but she is fierce on the field!”

Avery Kyle

Cleveland’s Avery Kyle will be playing at Louisiana Tech in the fall. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland High School)

Avery Kyle

Cleveland, senior midfielder

Kyle, a four-year varsity player for Cleveland, has committed to Louisiana Tech to play Division 1 soccer in the fall and major in sports marketing.

Caprial Loescher

Grant, junior midfielder

Loescher has played varsity soccer since her freshman year and is starting to think about her college options as a junior, coach Manolis Tjuanakis said. She’s interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy and is talking to UTEP, Gonzaga, Western Oregon, Heidelberg University in Ohio and Huntingdon College in Alabama.

Maya Loudd and Avery Porter

Tigard, sophomore defenders

Loudd and Porter cover each other very well as Tigard’s two center backs. “We won league last year with these two as our starting center backs (as freshmen last year),” coach Kale Dwight said. “Both so good and composed.” He said they’re both great communicators, go on long runs with the ball and are excellent at tackling.

MacKenzie Mathis

Tigard, sophomore midfielder

Mathis is an attacking midfielder who has an excellent shot and a great dribbler who’s willing to take on players and attack with regularity, coach Kale Dwight said.

Jolie Maycumber

Lincoln, senior

Maycumber, a returning first-team all-leaguer, will be moving on to the Pac-12 in the fall, playing at Arizona. First-year coach Lainey Hulsizer said she’s worked with Maycumber for only a few months but has noticed she’s “constantly focused on the small details in drills that elevate players to the next level.”

Katelyn McDougal

Wilsonville, junior defender

Although McDougal plays center back, her coaches say she could play anywhere. Her “athletic ability and technical skill is unmatched, and her ability to slice through players with ease is exceptional,” co-coach Dallas Malone said. “Katelyn brings a calming and confident feel to the field, while also being incredibly consistent and reliable.”

Dalton Mermis

Dalton Mermis anchors a strong back line for Wilsonville. (Photo by GM Artman)

Dalton Mermis

Wilsonville, junior defender

Mermis is a key part of the Wilsonville defense and a powerhouse on the back line. “Dalton is one of those players that you immediately notice on the field,” co-coach Dallas Malone said. “She is a high-impact player and gives 110% effort in any play she is involved in. You can see her passion for soccer through her resilience and effort.”

Taliya Miyama

Hillsboro, senior midfielder

A returning first-team all-league and second-team all-state midfielder, Miyama has committed to play soccer at Whitworth University in Spokane. Coach Dean Miyama describes as a “very solid, consistent all-around player.”

Grace Negelspach

Scappoose, senior midfielder

Negelspach was Scappoose’s leading goal scorer last year with 15 and made first-team all-league. “She is a fantastic center midfielder who has great vision and composure on the ball,” coach Summer Jark said. “She is exceptional at finishing balls in the box coming from corner kicks or crosses. … She loves the game and has been at all kick-arounds offered over the past four years on top of attending all her club practices.”

Mira Olson

Mira Olson is a playmaker in the midfield for Hood River Valley. (Photo courtesy of Hood River Valley High School)

Mira Olson

Hood River Valley, senior midfielder

Coach Amanda Orand lauded Olson’s work ethic, saying she lifts her teammates’ playing level. “Every great play runs through Mira, and she moves the balls quickly and effectively from the defense to our forwards,” Orand said. “She leads her team by problem solving at halftime and through her play on the field.”

Julia Pinnell

Southridge, junior goalkeeper

Coach Maia Hardy describes Pinnell as “one of the hardest workers you will find at her level. Her dedication to her position and constant drive to improve and grow as a player is incredibly admirable. She is a phenomenal goalkeeper, and we are lucky to have her.”

Vanesa Preciado

Hood River Valley, senior forward

Preciado is coming back from surgery this year after leading the team in scoring last year with 14 goals, one shy of a tie for the school record. “Vanesa is a crafty player who loves to use her creativity to beat defenders and find the back of the net,” Amanda Orand said.

Maria Reardon

St. Helens midfielder will be playing at Lower Columbia College in the fall. (Photo courtesy of St. Helens High School)

Maria Reardon

St. Helens, senior midfielder

Reardon, a four-year varsity player, is a center midfielder but she could play any position. “Her intensity tends to intimidate her teammates, but I have channeled this enthusiasm by making her captain of the team,” coach Angela Nichols said. “Her standout performance last year earned her a second-team all-league award. I am excited to see what she brings to the table this year. She will be attending Lower Columbia College in Longview and will play soccer there on a scholarship.”

Sofia Rios Nogales

Beaverton’s Sofia Rios Nogales has battled back from ACL surgery. (Photo courtesy of Beaverton High School)

Sofia Rios Nogales

Beaverton, senior midfielder

Rios Nogales missed a year battling back from ACL surgery but played varsity as a sophomore. “She is a very collected player with a lot of insight for the game,” coach Jennifer Kirwan said.

Ellie Ruhoff

Ellie Ruhoff has played varsity soccer all four of her years at Cleveland. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland High School)

Ellie Ruhoff

Cleveland, senior midfielder

Ruhoff has played varsity all four of her years at Cleveland. Between her high school and club season in 2018-19, she had 13 goals and 38 assists. Coach Doug Diller said she’s “planning to study kinesiology and Chinese in college next year, and being recruited by Southern Methodist University and Coastal Carolina University.”

Sidney Sproul

Sherwood, senior goalkeeper

Coach Katie Hartman says Sproul is focused, determined and never quits working to improve her game. “Sidney is the most energetic leader,” Hartman said. “She has the ability to raise the energy level due to her constant encouragement. … Her hard work and ‘all-in’ attitude are some of her greatest attributes.”

Jenna Stein

Milwaukie, senior defender/midfielder

Stein intends to focus on engineering as a college student, but her coach says she’s “been a great program leader and player her entire soccer career” at Milwaukie. “Jenna Stein is the kind of person anyone wants to work with,” coach Kent McCarty said. “She shows up. Works hard. Gets outstanding grades. She is involved in so many school activities. We appreciate Jenna and her contributions to our team, school and community.”

Elaina Toll

Dallas, junior midfielder

Toll leads a young team by example on and off the field. “She encourages players to do her best, she grits and bears the toughest times, and shares in the enjoyment of the best of times,” coach Kendra Steele said. “She is a quiet phoenix who is humble and deserving.”

Allison Waters

Crater senior Allison Waters is considering several colleges to play soccer. (Photo courtesy of Crater High School)

Allison Waters

Crater, senior forward

A 4.04 GPA student in the classroom, Waters “is a natural leader with a bold, positive attitude that her teammates gravitate toward,” coach Bryton Kiger said. “She is cheerful and inspirational to her younger teammates.” Kiger said Waters performed well in January at Surf Cup in Phoenix, Arizona, and is looking at Oregon Tech, Clarke University (Iowa) and Colorado Mesa to play college soccer.

Payton Wesson

Tigard, senior midfielder

The team captain for the defending Three Rivers League champs, Wesson is an always-composed holding midfielder with excellent footwork and a good shot, coach Kale Dwight said.

Kierstin White

The Dalles, senior goalkeeper

White is an athletic goalkeeper who just started playing soccer as a junior. She has a “great attitude in practice and is complimentary and supportive of her teammates — can always put a smile on your face with such a positive demeanor,” coach Colby Tonn said.