« Women’s Soccer 2013

Holly Hein

Screen Arts & Cultures


As good as Holly Hein is on the field, she is better off it. With a cumulative grade point average above 3.70, she will graduate in December with a degree in screen arts and cultures. She has worked on two student-made films—‘Sirens’ and ‘Duvid’—serving as the gaffer (lighting) for both of them. In 2011, she was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Additionally, she is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and three-time U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award recipient. She also served on the Dean of Students Advisory Board.


No player on the roster garners more respect than Hein and that respect comes from the strength she’s gained in the face of adversity. She played in 20 matches as a true freshman in 2009 but suffered setbacks in each of the next two years. As a sophomore, she played in only six matches before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The next fall, her junior season, Hein was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, once again limiting her to six matches before taking a medical redshirt to undergo surgery and treatment. To show their support, several of her teammates wore Hein’s No. 21 jersey while every member of the team wore pink armbands embroidered with her number. She returned to the field last fall having successfully beaten the cancer. In terms of leadership, Hein was selected as one of the team’s captains, an honor she will repeat this season as a fifth-year senior. She also received the ‘Leader of Distinction’ award from the Michigan Leadership Academy and contributed with ‘Leaders for Life’, a leadership development program for freshmen and sophomore student-athletes at the University of Michigan.


During the spring of 2011, Hein was part of a trip to Chismaute, Ecuador, to adopt a village as part of the group Student-Athletes Leading Social Change (SALSC). While there, Hein helped build school buildings and classrooms and spent hours interacting with local children. At Michigan, she takes regular Thursday evening visits to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and also volunteers her time with the University of Michigan Circle K, a group designed to develop leaders with a lifelong commitment to service. Hein and the rest of the women’s soccer team, in conjunction with Circle K, participated in K-Day, traveling to Detroit to help fix and clean up a school.


Arguably the most versatile player on the roster, Hein has played in 75 career matches over parts of four seasons, including 70 starts. Standing at 5-foot-7, she was initially recruited as a forward, but made the transition to defense prior to the 2011 season. Since the move, she has been an anchor for the Michigan back line, starting every match on defense (43/43) since the beginning of the 2012 season. As one of the team’s two center backs, Hein has quarterbacked one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, as Michigan ranks in the top 20 in both goals against average and fewest goals allowed this season, helping give them a program-best No. 7 ranking nationally. Since 2012, with Hein on defense, Michigan has allowed only 27 goals in 43 matches heading into the 2013 NCAA Tournament. As she made improvements to her game, so did Michigan, as the Wolverines went from six wins in her first year (2009) to 16 in her fourth year (2012), qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four years. For her efforts, she was a first team All-Big Ten pick in 2012 and 2013 and was also named to the NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region second team last season. She has even chipped in on offense, scoring seven goals and tallying three assists over the course of her career.