Women's Soccer Signs Eight for 2006

Feb. 2, 2006

ORLANDO - UCF women's soccer head coach Amanda Cromwell announced the signing of eight student-athletes for the fall of 2006 Thursday morning. The list includes players with state, region and national team experience.

Cromwell on the class: "This class has three high school All-Americans, two youth national team players, three NSCAA state players of the year honorees, seven girls with state, regional and national ODP experience and a combined 20 club state championships and five high school state championships with four of the girls playing for the national USYSA title. We are excited for them to join our family and look forward to them helping us reach our goals of conference championships and, ultimately, an NCAA title."

Jenny Baker
Eatonville, Wash.
Eatonville HS

Named one of the top 150 recruits in the nation by soccerbuzz.com...recorded 146 goals with 70 assists at Eatonville High School in Washington...was all-time leading scorer in class 2A and third all-time in the state...twice named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Washington State High School Player of the Year and High School Girls' All-America Soccer Team (2004 and 2005)...was a four-time first team all-league and three-time first team all-area and all-state...named league MVP senior year...was named Seattle Times State 2A Athlete of the Week three-times...named The News Tribune's 2005 All-Area Player of the Year in 2005...high school team made to the state playoffs three consecutive years, winning the state title in 2005...played eight years with the club team F.C. Royals...were six-time Washington State Champions.

Cromwell on Jenny: "Jenny is a two-time NSCAA All-American and two-time state player of the year. She can score goals up front, distribute out of the midfield or even play in the back. She is a high school state champion and a five-time club state champion, so she brings that winning mentality."

Brian VanBlommestein, FC Royals U-18 Coach, on Jenny: "Here's a kid who scored 150 goals in high school and an All-American at forward and may be a better defender than she is an attacker. She's tough and plays in the middle for us doing all the hard dirty work behind our attack. Great kid who will shine at every level."

Cara Bortz
Merritt Island, Fla.
Merritt Island HS

A four-year letterwinner at Merritt Island High School...has been leading goal scorer all four years...named team MVP...three-time All-Cape Coast Conference Team...named to the Florida Today All-Space Coast Team, Orlando Sentinel All-Brevard County Team and Florida Sportswriters Association All-State Third Team...a four-year member of the Florida State ODP...also a member of Indialantic Force which was a two-time state runner-up...a member of the National Honor Society...senior class secretary.

Cromwell on Cara: "Cara has great size, speed and can strike a ball as well as anyone that we have seen. She comes from established club and high school programs and has state and regional ODP level experience. Cara is going to score a lot of goals for us and we are excited to have her."

Mike Potier, Indialantic U-18 Coach, on Cara: "Cara possesses the qualities all good strikers have. Her size and strength give her the ability to hold the ball with her back to goal, while her team gets forward. She also has incredibly quick and nimble feet which allow her to maintain possession in tight spaces and under pressure. Her deceptive pace gives her opportunities to finish which she takes with great confidence and ability."

Sarah deLeon
Lakewood, Wash.
Lakes HS

A letterwinner at Lakes High School...was named varsity MVP and received Pierce Seamount Division First and Second-Team honors...is a member of the Lancer's Honor Roll "Gold Student" (GPA of 3.7 or higher)...also received the President's Award...plays for the FC Royals Soccer Club...five-time club state champions...was a Far West Regional Quarter Finalist in 2002 and 2003.

Cromwell on Sarah: "Sarah is what you want in a center back. She is fast, strong, smart, technical, competitive and communicates well. She has anchored a club team that has played at the state, regional and national levels. Sarah has a chance to compete for playing time right away."

Brian VanBlommestein, FC Royals U-18 Coach, on Sarah: "The most complete player I know. She's fast, good in the air, and smart. She's a great leader and holds everything down in the back for us. She's just the complete package. You couldn't ask for anything more from a central defender"

Yvonne George
Winter Springs, Fla.
Winter Springs HS

A four-year letterwinner at Winter Springs High School...named to the all-conference and all-county first-teams...a member of the Michelle Akers Classic All-Tournament Team...played with the Florida ODP State Team...also ran track at WSHS where she was a state finalist for long jump and triple jump...Orlando Sentinel Athlete of the Week in December 2005...sister of current women's soccer player, Stacey George.

Cromwell on Yvonne: "Yvonne is one of the most athletic student-athletes we have ever recruited. She will compete for time on the flank in either the back or midfield. Yvonne serves a great ball with either foot and she will be handful for any opponent."

Jim Powell, IUS Elite Hayasa Coach and Coaching Director, on Yvonne: "In a sport known for its untamed beauty, Yvonne plays the role of a gazelle with an attitude."

Nikki Moore
Virginia Beach, Va.
Cape Henry Collegiate School

Named one of the top 50 recruits in the nation by soccerbuzz.com...a six-year letterwinner at Cape Henry Collegiate School...NSCAA All-American...four-time first-team all-conference selection, First-Team All-Tidewater in 2005, Second-Team All-Tidewater in 2004...varsity MVP 2002 and 2003...team was state champions in 2002 and 2004 and state runner-up in 2003 and 2005...a member of Beach FC Frye club soccer team, which was a Jefferson Cup semi-finalist in 2003 and 2004...a member of the U17 National Pool...going to Brazil with the Region I ODP team.

Cromwell on Nikki: "Nikki has it all. She is lightning fast, technical, tenacious and smart. She has played at all levels and will be an instant threat coming out of the back for us, playing in the midfield or even up top. Her years of youth national team experience give her sophistication that not many players have coming right out of high school."

Karl Greaves, VA Beach Majix Coaching Director, on Nikki: "Nikki is a very competitive player who is very good on the ball and reads the game exceptionally well; in addition, her versatility allows her to play at a high level in several different positions. She is a player who should have a very exciting career in collegiate soccer."

Brianna Schooley
Coral Springs, Fla.
Douglas HS

A letterwinner at Douglas High School in Coral Springs, Fla...recorded 38 goals with 22 assists in 2006...four-time high school state champion...a five-time club state champion, regional champion and U16 national final four...was named All-American and Florida Player of the Year by NSCAA, All-American by EA Sports High School and Miss Soccer by Florida Dairy Farmers Association...a three-time Florida All-State First-Team member...two-time Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald Player of the Year...also plays for the Florida State and Region III ODP team pool teams.

Cromwell on Brianna: "Brianna is a winner. Her club team is a five-time state champion, regional once and played in the national final four. Her high school team is a three-time state champion. Brianna sees things that others don't see, is extremely technical and can score from anywhere. If a big goal needs to be scored in a big game, Bri has always stepped up. She is one of the most competitive players we've recruited and she will be a pleasure to work with for four years."

Audrey Winslow, Florida Renegades U-18 Coach, on Brianna: "We are very pleased that Brianna has chosen UCF to continue her soccer career. We are particularly proud that she has chosen to continue her career in her home state and will continue to be a positive role model for young girls in Florida. We have coached Bri since she was five-years-old and have seen her grow into one of the most dominant players in Florida and in the southeast. We are sure that Bri will continue to make a tremendous impact in every game she plays and we wish her, her new UCF teammates and coaches the best of luck in the upcoming seasons."

Becca Thomas
Burlington, Wash.
Home Schooled

Plays club soccer for FC Royals...was a six-time club state champion...a 2004 ODP National Champion and 2005 runner-up...a member of the U14 national pool and U15 national pool...U16 state ODP team was national champions...also played for the Regional team in 2005.

Cromwell on Becca: "Becca is an intensely competitive midfielder with enormous potential. She has state, regional and youth national team experience. She has only just turned 16 so we believe her best soccer is ahead. Becca is a soccer junkie who will bring a ton of passion to each game. She is technical and can score from anywhere. We are excited to have Becca as a Golden Knight."

Brian VanBlommestein, FC Royals U-18 Coach, on Becca: "Here's a youth national team player who can break open any game and at any level. She scores goals, distributes and can strike a ball right or left footed as well as anyone we have played against. She is the hardest worker at every practice and in every match and she just loves to play the game. I'm hoping she can step in and become one of the all-time great players in a program with a very rich history."

Courtney Whidden
Palm Harbor, Fla.
Palm Harbor University HS

A letterwinner at Palm Harbor University High School in Palm Harbor, Fla...was named Pinellas County Female Player of the Year in 2005 by the St. Pete Times...a member of the Florida All-State First-Team...was the top goal scorer at PHUHS in 2005 with 29 goals...won state in 2006 and was runner-up in 2005...also plays for the Region III Premier League and Countryside Lightning.

Cromwell on Courtney: "Courtney is one of the best true goal scorers in the region. She has good size, speed and is always around the goal. She has led the region premier league in scoring for two years and her composure in front of the goal will be a great addition to our team."

John Planamenta, Countryside Lightning U-18 Coach, on Courtney: "I have had the pleasure of coaching Courtney Whidden for club and high school for the past four years. Courtney has a tremendous amount of athletic ability, can take players on with speed and is also strong in the air. Courtney is always a threat to score and her playing style is exciting to watch. She still has a lot of potential and I believe UCF will be a great fit for her at the next level."