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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Scanning storylines on soccer's signing day

By Chris Ackels

Laura Liedle
Laura Liedle (in blue) is part of an all-instate class for reigning NCAA champion Stanford.
It’s the Big Day for thousands of athletes across the country. Some sign their Letter of Intent in front of television cameras on national networks; some sit at a table in their high school gym; some on the kitchen counter between mom and dad. But it is equally special for all of them, and today is filled with stories and accomplishments for athletes nation-wide.

The ESPNHS Class of 2012 Verbal Commitment List for Girls Soccer includes more than 900 student-athletes commited to more than 250 colleges. The list is produced entirely from information submitted by players, coaches and parents. We’ve taken a look at that list, and highlighted a few stories of note for the Big Day.

Teammates for life

Maddie Nelson and Maddie Trebesch have more in common than just their first names. They both attend Woodbury (Woodbury, Minn.), they both play for Minnesota Thunder, and they have both committed to Creighton for next fall. Nelson and Trebesch have been teammates in high school of four years, teammates on the club team for longer than that, and are about to embark as teammates again down in Omaha, Neb.

They’re not the only ones. A number of club-and-high school teammates will continue to play together at the next level:
Michelle Busse and Kaitlyn Lopez: Ironwood Ridge (Oro Valley, Ariz.), Tucson SA, committed to Arizona
Brooke Heidemann and Whitney Peterson: Rocky Mountain (Meridan, Idaho), FC Nova, committed to Boise State
Victoria Abnathy and Kacy Scarpa: George Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.), Lakeland FC, committed to Florida State
Kelsey Celline and Hunter Filippo: Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), FC Bucks, committed to La Salle
Shannon Collins and Maisie McCune: St. John’s College (Washington D.C.), McLean Strikers, committed to Maryland
Honeye Heydari and Shelby Jordan: University School (Jackson, Tenn.), Collierville SA, committed to Mississippi State
Katie Curtis and Molly Ong: Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.), KCFC, committed to Missouri-Kansas City
Katelyn Almeida and Tera Trujillo: Flintridge Sacred Heart (Flintridge, Calif.), Real So Cal, committed to New Mexico
Caitlyn Donovan and Monica Trickett: Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.), CASL Chelsea, committed to Charlotte

(More than just) Teammates for life

Madison and McKenzie Meehan have been confused for one another since birth. The identical twins have been teammates on and off the pitch ever since they were kids. “They’ve done everything together, their whole lives,” says their father John Meehan, also the manager for Scorpions U17. McKenzie leads the nation in high school scoring, notching a whopping 80 goals during her senior season at La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.). It’s no surprise who leads the nation in assists … her sister Madison.

The twins have both committed to Boston College for this fall, a move that articulates their soccer skill and their academic success. “They’re both very good students, and they knew at BC they would be challenged in every way,” says John Meehan. “In the end, this is what they really wanted.” Boston College gets the duo to cap off a strong recruiting class from six states.

Surf sending players nation-wide – literally

San Diego Surf players will span more than 5,000 miles this fall as they head out to play at colleges literally across the country. Jackie Friedman will travel more than 2,500 miles to attend Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., while her teammate Erica Young will head to Honolulu to play for Hawaii.

If any club could connect the dots between Dartmouth and Hawaii, it would be the Surf. Sarah Adams and Neela Mohen are headed to Georgetown in Washington D.C., Nicole Sherwin is off to Northern Arizona, and other Surf players are headed to Idaho, Montana, and Michigan. Nearly a dozen Surf players are staying in state, and four will be close to home at San Diego and San Diego State.

Oh Canada!

The ESPNHS Class of 2012 Verbal Commitment List includes 22 players from Canada, headed to 16 different colleges in the U.S. New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has a particularly close connection, taking three players from the Burlington Heat of Burlington, Ontario. The Heat account for more than 10 of these U.S.-bound players, and head coach Casey Downey says it’s not uncommon for his squad to send players south of the border. “Our whole schedule is based around showcase tournaments in the U.S.,” says Downey. “Our top teams are competitive with the top U.S. teams, and our girls do well at the college level.”

Angela Cutaia of the Heat has committed to Texas-El Paso (UTEP) for this fall, an unlikely move that brings her 1,600 miles south of her Burlington home. Downey said Cutaia earned the scholarship after sending in a tape to the coaches at UTEP. The tape travelled by UPS from a rival team in Calgary, then Cutaia sent it from Ontario to Texas. What has brown done for you lately?

Great place to visit, but …

The state of Colorado has two top-level ECNL teams, some of the most competitive in the country. Real Colorado and Colorado Rush account for 26 Division 1 commitments today, sending players to programs across the country. But of those 26, just two are staying in state. Heather Ward (Colorado Rush) will stay close to home by attending the University of Colorado, and Fran Garzelloni (Real Colorado) will attend University of Denver. The other 24 players from those two programs are headed elsewhere, from West Virginia to Texas to Washington State. The University of Colorado draws more from California than any other state for this year’s class.

Folks from North Carolina, on the other hand, seem to like where they’re at. CASL Chelsea is sending 17 players to Division 1 schools this year, and 13 of them will stay in state. CASL sends four players to Charlotte and four to N.C. State today, and even those leaving the state remain on the east coast. It’s a similar story for Michigan Hawks, as 10 of their 15 Division 1 commitments will stay in the Wolverine State.

What does it take to win a National Championship?

ND = National Draw

Notre Dame has one of the largest classes on our list, as 10 players have reported a verbal commitment to become Fighting Irish. The unique part is that those 10 players come from 10 different states. Even more interesting is the fact that none of them are form Indiana. The Irish draw from eastern seaboard states such as New York and New Jersey, they have strong commits from the Midwest states such as Illinois and Michigan, and they reach hotbeds like Dallas, Texas and Southern California.

Notre Dame won the NCAA National Championship in 2010 with a roster that represented 12 states and Canada. The path to success for the Irish seems to come from a national recruiting base, and a broad scope to look for top players.

In their own backyard

For 2011 NCAA National Champion Stanford, it is a very different approach. Our list includes eight commitments for the Cardinal, all of whom come from California. Stanford has recognized the wealth of talent in their own backyard, and this year’s class includes players like Laura Liedle and Maya Theuer from San Diego Surf, Sarah Cox and Katie Donahue from Slammers FC, and a handful of other Californians.

Stanford won the 2011 NCAA title with a roster that was majority California girls. The team loses just four seniors next fall and will add a surplus of talent from the Golden State.

Want to submit a commitment? Email the player’s name, graduation year, position, hometown, high school, and club team to Chris Ackels at