CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's soccer program has signed 18 student-athletes to its inaugural signing class, head coach Shanna Caldwell announced today. The Islanders program and its signees will make their debuts in the fall of 2013.
"After a year of preparation, this is such an amazing moment," Caldwell said, "both for our program and for me personally. We've been building up to this day since the University decided to add women's soccer to its intercollegiate athletics program, and to finally be able to officially say that these players are part of our team is extremely exciting.
"This group is special, not just because it's our first class, but because it's a group that will work hard, be good students and be strong members of our campus community," she continued. "They are excited about the challenge and the opportunity to build a new program. [Assistant Coach] Money [Molinaro] has been there every step of the way through the assembly of this inaugural class. It's going to be a fun ride once they arrive on campus."
The group of 18 will join Meghan Cordero, who graduated early from high school and enrolled at the Island University in January. The team will play at the newly constructed Dr. Jack Dugan Family Soccer and Track Stadium on Nile Drive, which is expected to be complete at the end of May.
Among the 18 signees are four natives of the Coastal Bend – Corpus Christi's Yvette Franco, Daniela Gonzalez and Naomi Morales along with Rockport's Kennah Leal. Thirteen of the signees originally hail from the state of Texas, three come from Las Vegas, and Colorado and Maryland are each represented by one member of the class.
A full list and a brief synopsis of each player can be found below. Click on the player's name in the list for more information on each.
2013 ISLANDERS WOMEN'S SOCCER SIGNEES
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Hometown/Previous School (Club)|
|Audrey Baldwin||GK||5-8||Forest Hill, Md./Arkansas State (Fallston Hurricanes)|
|Amber Battiest||M||5-5||Rowlett, Texas/Sachse HS (Sting Blue)|
|Jessica Berdan||D/M||5-9||Coppell, Texas/Arkansas State (D'Feeters)|
|Emma Biba||M/D||5-3||Missouri City, Texas/Hightower HS (Space City FC)|
|Becca Chance||F/M||5-6||Pasadena, Texas/Deer Park (Space City FC)|
|Jenna-Kaya Charles||D/M||5-10||Las Vegas, Nev./Cimarron Memorial HS (Heat FC)|
|Megan Delaney||GK||5-6||Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley HS (Slammers FC)|
|Chandler DeVine||D/M||5-6||Pearland, Texas/Manvel HS (Albion Hurricanes FC)|
|Brooke Erdmann||F||5-3||Deer Park, Texas/Deer Park HS (Space City FC)|
|Yvette Franco||M||5-1||Corpus Christi, Texas/Carroll HS (Dynamo Coastal Bend)|
|Daniela Gonzalez||D||5-4||Corpus Christi, Texas/Carroll HS (Dynamo Coastal Bend)|
|Hannah Joseph||M/D||5-5||Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound HS (Sting Blue)|
|Audrey Kuhl||M||5-6||Austin, Texas/Austin HS (Lonestar)|
||Rockport, Texas/Rockport-Fulton HS (Dynamo Coastal Bend)
|Alyssa Miller||F||5-4||Thornton, Colo./Butler CC (Westminster Samba)|
|Naomi Morales||GK||5-8||Corpus Christi, Texas/Calallen HS (Dynamo Coastal Bend)|
|Mariah Olivé||D||5-6||Las Vegas, Nev./Cimarron Memorial HS (Heat FC)|
|Tori Stephens||GK||5-8||Southlake, Texas/Carroll HS (FC Dallas)|
Baldwin will have one year of eligibility remaining after playing a pair of seasons for Harford Community College and a year at Arkansas State. In her only season with the Red Wolves, she started five games with a 3-2-0 record and a 1.84 goals against average. The Forest Hill, Md., native had an outstanding career for Jason Muffoletto's squad at Harford, leading the team to a pair of top-10 rankings and a trip to the NJCCA Division I National Championships in 2011. She was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Second Team All-American and an adidas Second Team All-American in 2011 after earning first team all-region honors in both of her two seasons.
Caldwell on Baldwin:
"Audrey brings with her a significant amount of collegiate experience in the net. She is a tested competitor having played at the JUCO national tournament and at ASU. Being a senior, we are expecting her to provide leadership."
Battiest comes to the Island University after a strong career for the Sting Blue 95 club program under Trini Borunda. In her two seasons with the team, she tallied 34 goals and 23 assists in helping the team win such prestigious events as the State Cup, Disney Soccer Showcase and Puma Cup. Sting Blue went 15-7 in 2011-12 and 10-4 in 2012-13. She also played her freshman year for Sachse High School, helping the team go 16-5.
Caldwell on Battiest:
"Amber comes from a strong Sting club, and has good technical ability. Her personality will be a great addition to our team. We look for her to add depth on the flank."
Berdan will have three years of eligibility remaining for the Islanders after playing in 14 games for Arkansas State in 2012. The 5-foot-9 defender played three years at Coppell under Chris Stricker and was a first team all-district selection in her senior season. The honor student also helped her high school squad to a state championship as a freshman. She played her club soccer under Kim Colon and Hugh Bradford for D'Feeters Soccer Club, one of the top ECNL clubs in the state.
Caldwell on Berdan:
"Jess is a versatile player and will provide leadership in the back or midfield. She has already been through a college season and knows what it takes to play at this level. Her ability to win balls in the air will be key."
Biba joins the Islanders program after earning four letters at Hightower High School under Tony Bunbury. She was twice selected first team all-district, and was the district's third-leading scorer in her junior season for the Hurricanes. One of three signees from Space City FC under Neil McCallum and Randy Evans, she helped the team to the 2012 state championship and a title in the Disney Showcase in 2011.
Caldwell on Biba:
"Emma is a very steady and dependable player. We can count on her to be ready for any challenge. She will add depth to the midfield and backline."
Chance is about to enter her fourth varsity year for Deer Park under Leslie Porterfield. The standout scorer netted 19 goals in her sophomore campaign and 22 as a junior, when she was named her team's offensive MVP. She was twice named first team all-district and was a top-10 scorer for greater Houston in 2011. Chance played alongside fellow signees Emma Biba and Brooke Erdmann for Randy Evans at Space City FC.
Caldwell on Chance:
"Becca is coming off an injury and this will only help her drive and hunger to compete and work for a spot up top. Her work ethic gives her the potential to be a contributor for us in the long run."
Charles is the tallest member of the 2013 signing class at 5-foot-10 and brings a wealth of experience at both the high school and club levels. She has garnered three letters at Cimarron Memorial High School, in addition to playing at the club level with the elite Heat FC ECNL program under Amanda Schmutz. She also played volleyball at Cimarron, and was the Las Vegas Athletics Club Female Athlete of the Year in 2012 for her school.
Caldwell on Charles:
"Jenna-Kaya is very versatile player who comes from a competitive ECNL club. Her personality will make an impact both on and off the field, as she is eager to do whatever it takes to win."
Delaney signs on with the Islanders after winning three letters for Spring Valley High School under Bill Hamilton. She posted 33 shutouts from 2009-11, tying the Nevada state record in just three years, and earned All-Southwest League accolades in each of her three seasons. She has also played for Ziad Khoury and the elite Slammers FC ECNL, a perennial national finalist at the top level of club soccer. Delaney was additionally a member of the 2009 Region IV Olympic Development Program pool.
Caldwell on Delaney:
"Megan is from one of the top clubs in the nation with Slammers FC, and has played with and against the top talent. She is a very technical and tactical keeper with a strong presence in goal. Megan has a bright future ahead of her and has the potential to become an All-Southland player in her career."
Devine played her first two years at Manvel High School before focusing on her club team, Albion Hurricanes FC. In her two years at Manvel, she helped the team to its first two postseason runs in school history while earning all-district honors both seasons. For AHFC, she helped the team post back-to-back undefeated seasons en route to the South Texas Champions in 2010 and 2011 and saw the team advance to the USYS Region III semifinals in 2012.
Caldwell on DeVine:
"Chandler is an eager young player with a desire to ingest the game at the next level. She will add depth to our midfield and bring energy to our team every day."
Erdmann played alongside Becca Chance at Deer Park High School, where she helped the team to an area championship and a regional qualification under Leslie Porterfield. The scorer was named Deer Park's offensive MVP and first team all-district in each of the most recent three years, scoring a total of 77 goals over the most recent three seasons. She is one of three signees to have played club soccer for Space City FC under Randy Evans, leading the team to the Premier League state championship in 2012.
Caldwell on Erdmann:
"Brooke is a tenacious player with a strong work rate up top. We look to her to add defensive pressure as soon as we lose possession and start our attack back."
Franco is one of four Coastal Bend players to sign with the Islanders, playing at Carroll for Eddie Dillon. She was a second team all-region selection in her junior campaign to follow up on being named the team's offensive MVP as a sophomore. She also garnered all-tournament honors in each of her last two years for Carroll. She played for Dynamo Coastal Bend in club action under Pedro Flores, and helped the squad to the Houston Labor Day Tournament Championship in 2012.
Caldwell on Franco:
"Yvette is a local talent that is looking to push herself at the next level. She has a knack for finishing and finding the final pass. It will be exciting to watch her grow at the collegiate level."
Gonzalez played alongside Yvette Franco at Carroll under Eddie Dillon. As a junior, she helped lead the team to an 8-1-0 record in district competition, as Carroll won its second straight district championship. She was named first team all-district in 2012 after earning second team honors the year prior. She also played six years for Dynamo CB, including a 16-2-0 fall season that saw the team advance to the finals of the 2012 Texas Cup.
Caldwell on Gonzalez:
"Dany is a fast and athletic player that will look to compete for time in the back. She will be joining her sister, Cecy, who represents the Islanders Athletics as a runner for the cross country team here at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi."
Joseph is entering her third year playing for Flower Mound under Trina Hammer. She scored eight goals in her junior season after scoring five as a sophomore for the varsity squad. Joseph was named Second Team All-District 8-5A in both her sophomore and junior seasons. She played club soccer for Sting Blue 95G, where she helped Trini Borunda's squad to a Puma Cup Championship and a Lone Star Showcase semifinals appearance.
Caldwell on Joseph:
"Hannah has a great attitude and is always ready to compete. She is the type of player who will push her teammates to a higher level every day."
Kuhl will join the Islanders after a strong career for Austin High School under Deena Telley. The midfielder scored 15 goals to go along with five assists in 2012, upping her career total to 34 goals. She earned second team all-district honors in 2012 after leading the team in scoring. A four-time academic all-district selection, she played her club soccer under Rob Ferguson for a very strong Lonestar FC program, helping the team finish third at the STYSA State Cup in 2012.
Caldwell on Kuhl:
"Audrey has a great personality and is an excellent student in addition to her soccer abilities. She is very technical in tight spaces and possesses a fierce shot."
Leal is another local player who is in her fourth year for John Jimenez at Rockport-Fulton. She was named the District 59-4A Offensive MVP after a junior season that saw her score 19 goals to go along with 11 assists. She was also a second team all-district selection in 2011, when she helped her team to a bi-district championship. A two-time academic all-district selection, she plays her club soccer under Pedro Flores for Dynamo CB.
Caldwell on Leal:
"Kennah is a local talent that has the potential to grow at the next level. She is quick and can navigate out of pressure."
Miller will join the Islanders after playing two years for Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., under Adam Hunter. In her sophomore year, she appeared in 25 games, scoring 26 goals and adding six assists for 58 career points to earn first team all-region recognition. She scored 44 goals in her career, helping the team advance to the national tournament both seasons and earn a pair of fifth-place finishes. A native of Thornton, Colo., she played her high school ball for Horizon High School.
Caldwell on Miller:
"We are thrilled to have Alyssa join us at the Island University. Having played at a distinguished program such as Butler, she has been thoroughly prepared to compete at the next level. We will look to her for leadership and guidance, and we believe she will bring with her an intensity on the field that will ignite those around her."
Morales joins the Islanders as a keeper after playing in the midfield for Calallen under William B. Thompson. She scored 27 goals and 18 assists as a junior, being named the team's MVP and a first team all-district player. She also led the team to the playoffs in 2012. She played goalkeeper for Dynamo Coastal Bend under Pedro Flores, helping the team finish in first place in the fall of 2012.
Caldwell on Morales:
"Naomi is a local player that has strong ties to the University and the community. Her pride in Islanders Soccer will be infectious to everyone. Look for her to compete for a spot in goal."
Olivé comes to the Island University having played for Mark Bailey at Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas. She started every game for the team, leading the squad in assists, and was named to the divisional team last year. She also has played 12 years of club soccer, the most recent season for Amanda Schmutz and Heat FC, stepping in to anchor the defense for the top club program in the state.
Caldwell on Olivé:
"Mariah is a physically gifted player, who reads the game well. She is very poised under pressure and is capable of managing the game, and therefore we will look to her to run the backline."
Stephens comes to Corpus Christi after a standout career for both Southlake Carroll and FC Dallas. In the spring of 2012, she posted a 0.21 goals against average with 9.5 shutouts for Matt Colvin's Carroll squad. She was a second team all-district in leading the team to a regional finals appearance and a 25-3-1 record. Stephens plans to major in nursing or business at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
Caldwell on Stephens:
"Tori is a strong shot stopper. We have a strong corps of keepers, and she will make a push for playing time right out of the box."