Ella Bhat of Washington (Courtesy / Washington Athletics) and Lauren Frohan of St. Ignatius (Courtesy / Paul Ghiglieri).png

Ella Bhat of Washington (Courtesy / Washington Athletics) and Lauren Frohan of St. Ignatius (Courtesy / Paul Ghiglieri).png

SF Preps Soccer: Girls’ Co-Players of the Year: Washington’s Ella Bhat and St. Ignatius’s Lauren Frohan 

By Ryan Maquiñana
Special to S.F. Examiner

The San Francisco Glens Soccer Club of USL League Two are proud to partner with the Examiner in featuring boys’ and girls’ high school soccer in The City.

Our inaugural SF Examiner Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year award was split in two, with both players’ vastly divergent stories emblematic of the talent overflow this season.

While Lauren Frohan led St. Ignatius to the top ranking in our SF High School poll, presented by SFGlens.com, as well as the West Catholic Athletic League title, Washington faltered early but roared back to make the CIF San Francisco Section playoffs behind Ella Bhat.

“We didn’t have a great start to the season,” Bhat said. When the Eagles’ non-league campaign started with a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Sacred Heart Cathedral and a subsequent ACL tear that knocked out key starter Kaylynn De Vivo for the season, it was hard to imagine matters would get worse.

They did.

After their CIF-SF schedule began with three straight defeats by a combined 11-1 margin, it would’ve been easy to mail in the rest of the season. Ever the optimist, Bhat refused to fold, as Washington had not yet been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

“We had to take things one game at a time and continue to depend on each other,” the senior said.

Any hopes for a turnaround would also require some sacrifice. Bhat, who had been accustomed to playing defender, was forced into central midfield out of necessity.

“[Ella] played most of the season with a nagging back injury that may have slowed her down a bit in play, but she never let it keep her off the field,” said Eagles coach Dwayne Moore. “I have never had a player that was as thoughtful … and at the same time lead on the field as an example of how to get things done.”

Ultimately, Washington would claw its way back into a one-game showdown with Lincoln. With a playoff berth on the line, the Eagles won 3-2, completing the unlikely comeback.

“That was my favorite moment of the season,” said Bhat, who would end up leading Washington in goals and assists. “To see everyone celebrating and so happy was worth all the hard work to get there.”

Though their run would ultimately end in a 4-0 loss to Lowell in the first round, Washington had managed to salvage the season.

“What I love about soccer is that it’s able to bring people together,” said Bhat, a Sunset native. “I’m always going to take these memories wherever I go.”

On the other side of Golden Gate Park, what makes Lauren Frohan’s ascension in soccer so surprising is that she was the first in her family to even try the sport.

“I started when I was four-years old doing camps and I just loved the game and using my feet,” said the Pacific Heights native, who idolizes U.S. National Team star Tobin Heath. “It’s become a big part of my life.”

After rising through the club soccer ranks, she helped lead the Wildcats to prominence during her time in the Sunset, culminating in their dethroning of perennial power Archbishop Mitty en route to the WCAL crown.

St. Ignatius also advanced all the way to the Central Coast Section Open Division final, but ran into Mitty for the third time and was unlucky in the rubber match.

“Everyone in the WCAL is really good, and beating Mitty for the league was huge because we hadn’t done it since I was there,” she said. “Our mentality to put everything on the line every single game was what put us above everyone else, I thought.”

Like Bhat, Frohan began as a defender, before progressing up the field to midfielder and finally to forward. St. Ignatius coach Tracy Hamm had nothing but praise for her leading scorer, who notched nine goals.

“She’s a very technical player and good on the ball,” Hamm said. “Probably most important is that she doesn’t buckle under pressure. She always came through in the clutch.”

Now headed for the University of the Pacific, Frohan will test her mettle against NCAA Division I defenders next season.

“Everyone’s older and bigger in college, so I can definitely work on getting stronger,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

STILL TO COME: All-City First and Second Teams.

The San Francisco Glens’ USL League Two had four players from last season selected in the MLS SuperDraft, so come watch the next wave of local soccer stars this summer. From now until March 31, every season ticket purchase will come with a Limited Edition bobblehead of our new technical director Jimmy Conrad! Get yours now at sfglens.com/tickets.

Prep Sports

Just Posted

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street was one of many hotels that took in homeless people as part of The City’s shelter-in-place hotel program during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Most Read