Despite just a few schools sporting soccer programs, the area has seen plenty of outstanding performances over the last decade, led by 2018 Pendleton Heights graduate Taylor Fort.
Here is a look back at 14 of the best soccer players to take the pitch since 2010:
Wes Erny, Anderson (2013-16) — One of the most prolific goal scorers of the past decade, Anderson’s Erny leads off THB Sports’ All-Decade Soccer Team.
Erny helped establish a competitive soccer program for the Tribe with a 10-win season his senior year. That year, the Indians’ forward scored 25 goals and added five assists. He scored a career high 31 times as a junior and added 18 as a sophomore for a total of 74 goals and 11 assists over that three-year span.
Brayden Etherington, Liberty Christian (2014-17) — The 2017 THB Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year, Etherington helped lead the Lions to the program’s first sectional championship as a senior.
That year, Etherington led the area with 20 goals and added seven assists and tallied 60 total goals and 22 assists during his Liberty Christian career. In the sectional opener, Etherington recorded his first hat trick of the season against Taylor.
Shelby Fort, Pendleton Heights (2011-14) — Prior to a productive four-year career at Grace College, Fort was the driving force behind the Pendleton Heights offense in the early part of the decade and was the 2014 THB Sports Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year.
During her career, she scored 41 goals and added 33 assists, including 18 and 13 during a 12-5-1 PH season in 2014. She played club soccer for seven years, including four years at Club FC in Noblesville.
Taylor Fort, Pendleton Heights (2015-18) — A two-time THB Sports Girls Soccer Athlete of the year (2017-18), Fort graduated as the PH girls program’s all-time leader in both goals and assists.
Before following in her sister Shelby’s footsteps to Grace College, Taylor totaled 61 goals and 55 assists for the Arabians, including 17 goals and 21 assists her senior year. After appearing in 23 games and scoring three goals for the Lancers, Fort will play for Anderson University this fall.
Ethan Hunt, Pendleton Heights (2015-18) — In 2018, Hunt took full advantage of his first season as a starting goalkeeper for the Arabians and was named THB Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year.
Hunt played every minute of PH’s 15 games that season, recording 77 saves and allowing less than a goal per contest. He recorded eight shutouts that season and was part of the IU-East men’s soccer team in 2019 as a freshman.
Brennan Jones, Pendleton Heights (2016-19) — After a junior season was wiped out by offseason surgery, Jones bounced back to be named THB Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2019.
He led the Arabians as a senior with 10 goals and added six assists after missing the previous season due to thoracic outlet surgery. Included during that senior campaign was a four-goal performance in a Hoosier Heritage Conference win against Delta. He was the team’s second-leading scorer as a sophomore with five goals.
Austin Kepner, Pendleton Heights (2012-15) — Until Jones scored 10 times in 2019, it was Austin Kepner’s 19 goals in his THB Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year season of 2015 that was the last time an Arabian recorded a double-digit goal total.
Kepner recorded two hat tricks that season and scored twice in PH’s 3-2 win over Fishers in a 2015 sectional game. Kepner added nine assists that year and scored eight times with seven assists as a junior.
Megan Mills, Pendleton Heights (2018-19) — After a prolific scoring career at New Castle, Mills transferred to PH prior to her junior year and showed versatility was among her strongest qualities.
She scored six times with six assists her first year with the Arabians but spent much of the season in goal due to injuries. In earning THB Sports Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year honors in 2019, she showed her scoring capabilities with 15 goals and six assists in leading PH to a 9-6-2 season. Mills will attend Indiana University this fall on a rowing scholarship.
Daniel Pleninger, Liberty Christian (2010-11) — In goal for the Lions, Pleninger helped lead his team to an 11-3-3 season and earned THB Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year honors in 2011.
Pleninger went on to play at Bethel University.
Ellie Swinney, Pendleton Heights (2012-13) — One of the best defenders of the decade, Swinney overcame a devastating knee injury to be named the 2013 THB Sports Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year.
After surgery to repair ACL and meniscus injuries sustained in April, Swinney returned 49 days ahead of schedule and helped the Arabians to the sectional final that season. She played two seasons at PH after transferring from Carmel.
Darien Thompson, Anderson (2011-12) — Thompson made quite a splash for the Indians, being named THB Sports Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2011, her first season playing the sport.
That year, she led Anderson with four goals and 15 shots on goal and, at the end of her senior year, was the 2013 Girls Johnny Wilson Award winner.
Mitchell Wattleworth, Pendleton Heights (2010) — After a scary senior night collision, Wattleworth bounced back and helped lead PH to its last sectional championship in 2010.
Prior to his senior year, Wattleworth gave up goal-scoring opportunities as he shifted from the forward position to a midfielder, a position of need for the team. Playing through a concussion, Wattleworth scored multiple postseason goals as the Arabians advanced to the 2010 semistate.
Meghan Wiles, Pendleton Heights (2010-11) — The 2010 THB Sports Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year, Wiles was instrumental in the Arabians’ sectional opening win with the game-tying goal in regulation and one of the three penalty kicks needed to win in overtime.
Wiles went on to play for one year at Indiana University before transferring to Grace, where she finished her career.
Brian Wolverton, Pendleton Heights (2010-13) — In addition to being the 2013 THB Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year, Wolverton was first team all-district and first team all-HHC when he led the Arabians in goals and total points as well as guiding the team to a 12-3-1 season.
With Wolverton leading the way, the Arabians averaged better than four goals per game in 2013.