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All-American Berkeley Prep keeper, UNC commit Bryane Heaberlin breaks her leg

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Fri. January 7, 2011 | Eduardo A. Encina

All-American junior goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin had just committed to women's soccer power North Carolina early last month. And she was slated to participate in a U.S. Soccer women's national team under-20 camp next week.

But after breaking her leg in Berkeley's district game against Clearwater Central Catholic on Wednesday, Heaberlin will be forced from the soccer field for the foreseeable future and her high school season is all but over.

Heaberlin fractured the fibula and tibia in her right leg while making a save late in Berkeley's scoreless tie with CCC. She was scheduled to have surgery, which will include inserting a steel rod, today at Bayfront Medical Center, Berkeley coach Ken Roberts said.

"It was one of those bang-bang plays," Roberts said. "I've seen her make saves like that hundreds of times and seen her come up every time. There was no discoloration or anything. She's such a strong kid too. The contact had to have happened in just the right spot."

Heaberlin, 17, is one of the top prep goalkeepers in the nation. She was a Parade All-American last season and the youngest player on the U.S. U-20 World Cup team over the summer in Germany.

Roberts was already planning to be without Heaberlin, who also has been nursing an ankle injury, during the district tournament while she trained with the U-20 team in Sunrise, and sophomore keeper Morgan Orobello has split time with Heaberlin in the net, allowing Heaberlinto  work on footwork while in the field and play center midfielder.

"Until she hurt her ankle, Bryane was our second-leading scorer," Roberts said. "As much as we lose Bryane's leadership and outstanding ability, it also takes Morgan off the field. Some younger kids on the bench are going to have to step up."

Heaberlin recently committed to North Carolina, which has won a record 20 national championships, after a visit to the Chapel Hill campus in early December. She also made visits to UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Viriginia. There are plans for Heaberlin to graduate a semester early and enroll at UNC in January 2012.

Heaberlin also received national recognition when, while playing in the CONCACAF championships for the U-17 national team, she hugged the Haitian national team goalkeeper, a moment that spawned headlines beyond sports in the wake of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti.

Heaberlin then created her own foundation and raised money to bring the Haitian team to Florida to play in a tournament at ESPN's Wide World of Sports over the summer.

 -- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (eencina@sptimes.com; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)

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