In this 2019 photo, Mercer Island’s Emily Yang, left, takes a shot on goal against Liberty. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/ StopActionPhotography

In this 2019 photo, Mercer Island’s Emily Yang, left, takes a shot on goal against Liberty. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/ StopActionPhotography

Yang is an intelligent, high-level soccer player

MIHS senior kicks into her fourth year on varsity.

Emily Yang has stamped her name — and feet — on nearly every position on the soccer pitch.

This season, the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior captain and four-year varsity player is making an impact at the holding midfielder spot, but it’s the job of goalkeeper that’s eluded her all these years.

“I’ve said I would like to play 10 minutes as keeper, but no one’s listening. I’d be a bad keeper, so it’s OK,” Yang said with a laugh.

Head coach James Valles said that Yang shines as an intelligent, crafty and skilled player who can deliver crunching tackles in key moments. She also brings vital leadership to the pitch each time the ball is booted into play. With Yang at the helm, the Islanders got off to a 2-0 start this season at post time.

“She has adapted her game to whatever the team and coaching staff has asked of her and still maintained a very high level of play. Emily leads by example and has made sure the incoming players understand the expectations, effort and dedication required by the MIHS girls soccer program,” Valles said.

Although the Islanders are in the midst of a truncated eight-game season, Yang said the girls are thrilled to play some matches seven months after the fall season usually gets underway.

“I think that having COVID disrupt games and practices has made us realize how fortunate we are to be able to have that outlet for stress,” said Yang, noting that the Islanders are just as competitive as ever and eagerly await their matches against rival Bellevue.

Yang, who also plays for the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club, doesn’t know where she’ll attend college yet, but hopes to double major in psychology and either linguistics or political science.

* The Reporter asked Yang a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:

How have you spent your time during COVID?

A lot of time with my dogs, going on walks. My dog’s always in my room during school. Also, collaging has been pretty fun. And I’ve had a lot more time just to read for fun, which is something you don’t really get to do when everything’s going super fast.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

That’s a tough one. I think some advice that my dad gave me, but also I think it’s been echoed by some of my favorite coaches is that, ‘As long as you try hard, it’s fine.’ Especially since this is a soccer piece, that’s important ‘cause there’s a lot of mistakes in the game, but it’s really just effort that matters in the end.

What skill would you like to learn?

I’d like to be able to speak four languages fluently, I think that would be pretty cool. I speak a little bit of French, but I’d like to get better at that. (Also) Spanish, Italian and Korean.

What superpower would you like to have?

I think I’d like to be able to time travel.

What really makes you laugh?

I think just really awkward humor. I like watching shows like “Big Mouth,” ‘cause it’s so painful, you have to laugh.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Probably AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Congresswoman from New York).

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

I have a few: I really like “Dunkirk,” “Lady Bird,” “Little Women” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

What kind of music do you listen to?

I’ve been listening to a lot of MGMT lately. Also, Frank Ocean, I feel like it’s very calming, it’s good.


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