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Move over, Marcus Allen and Bill Walton.

The two San Diegans that earned athlete of the year honors at the high school, college and professional sports levels have got some company on the distaff side of sports.

Shannon MacMillan joins Allen and Walton in the Breitbard Hall of Fame at the San Diego Hall of Champions (my day job) on March 4 when she becomes the first women’s soccer player is inducted at the 62nd annual Viejas Salute to the Champions dinner at the Town and Country Hotel.

“It’s a tremendous honor, and I’m proud of being from San Diego,”

MacMillan said. “It means a lot to be the first women’s soccer player.

My career has been blessed, but I hope I’m just the first of many more women’s soccer players.”

It will be tough to match MacMillan’s career.

MacMillan was the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year in 1990 at San Pasqual High, the Hermann Trophy recipient as the National College Player of the Year in 1995 at the University of Portland and the USA Soccer Player of the Year in 2002 during a national team career that included a World Cup title in 1999 and Olympic gold medal in 1996.

There was a time when girls didn’t have the opportunity to play high school sports or college sports.

San Diego’s first two inductees into the Hall of Fame — Maureen Connolly in tennis and Mickey Wright in golf — played country club sports.

But when Title IX federal legislation was passed in 1972, it mandated equal opportunities in high school and college. It opened the doors for a new wave of athletes.

Women’s sports matured greatly between 1972 and MacMillan’s generation, and now they’re routinely entering coaching. MacMillan made the move in

2007 as an assistant coach on UCLA’s women’s team.

“I loved coaching at UCLA, and I think (UCLA head coach) Jill (Ellis) is one of the best women’s coaches in the country,” MacMillan said. “I can learn a lot from her. We had a great group of girls, and I love giving back to my sport. Ultimately, though, I hope to end up as a head coach in San Diego.”

— TOM SHANAHAN

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