Rachel Tejada, a 2011 graduate of Triad High in Troy, has been recognized as the best women’s soccer player in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference.
Tejada, who was a four-time MVC Player of the Year at Illinois State, amassed 74 goals and 42 assists between 2011-14. During that time, the Redbirds were 56-24-3.
Tejada, a forward, was the conference Freshman of the Year in 2011 and a two-time MVC Tournament Most Valuable Player. She is the all-time MVC leader in points (190), goals and assists. Her 21 goals in 2011 are school and MVC single-season records. She was Illinois State’s first All-American as a freshman.
Tejada, 24, had 21 goals and nine assists as a freshman, 18 goals and 10 assists as a sophomore, 15 goals and 12 assists as a junior and 20 goals and 11 assists as a senior, when she also was named an Academic All-American.
“Rachel Tejada wasn’t just a game-changer, she was a program-changer,” said Drew Roff, who coached Tejada at Illinois State before moving on to Purdue. “Her talent level, soccer IQ and indomitable will to win were the driving forces behind our team accomplishing things that hadn’t been done before.
“For Rachel it was never about eye-popping statistics or breaking records, as she often did. It was always about putting the team first and winning. That is what made her so special. I am thrilled for Rachel to receive this recognition for her unparalleled career. She opened the door for all of us to dream big, and it was an honor to be part of it.”
Tejada is the daughter of Robert and Stacey Tejada. Her oldest brother, Jared, played at Triad and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her youngest brother, Eric, graduated from Collinsville High and is a sophomore at SIUE.
Rachel Tejada and Althoff’s Kelsey Dinges shared the News-Democrat’s Player of the Year award in 2011. Tejada had 39 goals and 19 assists as a senior, leading the Knights (21-2) to the Class 2A state championship.
In four years at Triad, Tejada had 129 goals and 59 assists.
Tejada has played in recent seasons with Fire & Ice, the Belleville-based semi-professional team that competes in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
The 2017-18 season is the 25th anniversary of women’s sports in the MVC. The all-time MVC women’s soccer team was selected to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Title IX.
Women’s sports in the MVC were incorporated in 1992 after previously competing under the Gateway Conference banner since 1982.
Other players on the MVC’s 25-year women’s soccer team were: Brittney Neumann, Creighton; Andrea Schmitz, Drake; Kayla Lambert, Evansville; Krista McKendree, Evansville; Krissy Meek, Evansville; Heather Forsyth, Illinois State; Annie Wayland, Illinois State; Sarah Guenther, Missouri State; and Jackie Jasper, Missouri State.