Title IX at 50: Portage Central's Tarpley Scores as State's Superstar, U.S. Soccer Hero

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 10, 2022

What Lindsay Tarpley went on to accomplish in soccer fills a list that quickly explains why she’s one of the all-time greats in U.S. history in the sport.

And what she accomplished at the high school level over her four years before graduating from Portage Central in 2002 remains the stuff of legends at our level as well.

Tarpley is best-known nationally as a key contributor to Olympic teams that won gold in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing, and also on World Cup teams that finished third in 2007 and runner-up in 2011. She was named College Soccer Player of the Year in 2003 after leading North Carolina to the NCAA championship, and she went on to play professionally for multiple franchises.

She was named ESPN’s Youth Player of the Decade in 2010. Her game-winning goal in the final of the inaugural U-19 World Championships on Sept. 1, 2002, is considered one of the monumental goals in U.S. soccer history.

And only a few months earlier, she was completing a high school career as a headlining two-sport standout.

Tarpley played soccer and basketball for the Mustangs, earning four varsity letters in both sports. On the basketball court, she set multiple school records in steals and assists. But the soccer pitch is where she became one of the most storied athletes in state history.

Tarpley led Portage Central to a combined 85-7-4 record over her four soccer seasons, making the all-state Dream Team all four and earning the state’s Miss Soccer Award in 2002. She scored a career-high 50 goals as a freshman, and her 147 career goals remains tied for 11th in MHSAA history—and would’ve tied for third on that list when she graduated.

In the 2000 Division 2 Final, Tarpley scored the game’s first goal 1:38 into the first half, then assisted on both her team’s second goal and overtime winner as Central defeated Madison Heights Bishop Foley 3-2. The Mustangs finished that season 23-0-1.

Tarpley has continued to connect with Portage Central and youth athletics over the years. In 2020, she delivered the opening address at the MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Conference in Lansing.

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

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March 29: 
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March 22: 
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March 15: 
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Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
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Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read

PHOTO Lindsay Tarpley speaks during the 2020 MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Conference. (MHSAA Archive)