[SOCCER AMERICA AWARDS]Casey Nogueira, who wanted so badly to play for North Carolina that she moved from her home in Cedarburg, Wis., to Raleigh to be near the Tar Heels in high school, has backed up her commitment with superb performances in two Women's College Cup finals in three years at UNC.
In 2006, Nogueira scored a goal and an assist to lead the Tar Heels to a 2-1 win over Notre Dame in the final. In 2008, she scored both goals -- "world-class goals," according to UNC coach Anson Dorrance -- to lead a second-half comeback that gave the Heels another 2-1 win over the Irish in the final.
Nogueira was so intent on playing for the Tar Heels that she graduated a year early from Broughton High School, which she led to a pair of North Carolina state titles. The daughter of indoor goalkeeping great Victor Nogueira, Casey learned from her father how to attack the goal.
Because of her international commitments with the USA at the 2006 Under-20 Women's World Cup, Nogueira did not begin her freshman season in the starting lineup. Indeed, she didn't start her first game until the final against Notre Dame.
Nogueira scored 13 goals in 24 games as a sophomore, but Dorrance pressed Nogueira on the need to improve her work on and off the ball.
Dorrance insisted that Nogueira become more intense and contribute more on defense. He also counseled her on her shot selection, emphasizing different approaches whether she was inside or outside the goal.
That work paid off with 25 goals and 58 points -- tops in the country -- in 2008.
During the regular season, Nogueira scored four goals against N.C. State, three goals against Wake Forest and two goals against Duke, Kentucky and Texas A&M.
In the ACC Tournament, she had goals in the semifinals and final and followed that up with four goals in the NCAA Tournament.
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
High School:Needham Broughton
Youth Club:CASL Spartan Elite
International: U.S. national team (1 cap)
SOCCER AMERICA WOMEN'S PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
1985 --Lisa Gmitter (George Mason)
1986 --April Heinrichs (North Carolina)
1987 --Michelle Akers (Central Florida)
1988 --Shannon Higgins (North Carolina)
1989 --Shannon Higgins (North Carolina)
1990 --Kristine Lilly (North Carolina)
1991 --Julie Foudy (Stanford)
1992 --Mia Hamm (North Carolina)
1993 --Mia Hamm (North Carolina)
1994 -- Tisha Venturini (North Carolina)
1995 --Shannon MacMillan (Portland)
1996 --Debbie Keller (North Carolina)
1997 -- Sara Whalen (Connecticut)
1998 -- Danielle Fotopoulos (Florida)
1999 -- Lorrie Fair (North Carolina)
2000 -- Anne Makinen (Notre Dame)
2001 -- Aly Wagner (Santa Clara)
2002 --Christine Sinclair (Portland)
2003 -- Lindsay Tarpley (North Carolina)
2004 --Katie Thorlakson (Notre Dame)
2005 -- Christine Sinclair (Portland)
2006 --Heather O'Reilly (North Carolina)
2007 -- Lauren Cheney (UCLA)
2008 --Casey Nogueira (North Carolina)