« Women’s Soccer 2007

Valerie Henderson

School

UCLA

Position
Goalkeeper

Classroom

One of the top scholar-athletes at UCLA, owning a 3.49 cumulative grade point average. Majoring in English with a minor in Spanish. Named a Second-Team NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-American in 2006. Has also been on the Pac-10 All-Academic Team the last two years. Has been a member of the UCLA Director’s Honor Roll (3.0 & above) every quarter of her career and made the Dean’s List (3.7 & above) one quarter. Henderson has recently been named to the 2007 ESPN the Magazine Academic First Team All District VIII.

Character

Henderson is the team captain on one of the most successful women’s soccer programs in the country. She is an emotional leader who epitomizes the term ‘student-athlete.’ She is a role model to the younger players on the team, often tutoring them on how to prioritize their time in order to balance both soccer and school. One of the many instances that stand out came shortly after the 2004 NCAA Final in North Carolina. UCLA had just suffered a loss on penalty kicks on Notre Dame and the team was obviously dejected. With many of the players huddled on the bench in tears, it was Henderson, although only a freshman, who encouraged everyone to get up and go shake hands with Notre Dame. It is this type of leadership that makes her mature beyond her years, as well as a popular teammate.

Community

Although the UCLA women’s soccer team is often on the road during the school’s “I’m Going to College Day”, which offers local youth a chance to see the college experience, Henderson has given her time to help coach several youth squads. During most summers she provides free coaching to youth in her home town of Orinda, Calif.

Competition

The most accomplished goalkeeper in UCLA women’s soccer history, she is a four-year starter. Has played in the NCAA College Cup every year of her career, helping the Bruins reach the finals in 2004 and 2005. Named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2005, posting five shutouts in postseason play. Moved into first place at UCLA in career goalkeeping victories when she posted the 53rd win of her career in a 6-1 victory over UNLV in last year’s NCAA Tournament. She enters the 2007 season with 56 victories, and also owns an 0.64 goals against average, which ranks No. 1 at UCLA all-time. Other honors include: Soccer America Freshman All-American (2004), NSCAA/adidas Second-Team All-American (2005), First-Team All-Pac10 selection (2005), Second-Team All-Pac-10 selection (2006). Has also been extensively involved with the U.S. National Team Program. Was one of five UCLA players to compete for the U.S. at the FIFA Under-20 World Championships in 2006. Also was a member of the Under-21 U.S. National Team that competed at the Nordic Cup in Norway that same year.