Feb. 5, 2014
Boca Raton, Fla. -
Florida Atlantic University's women's soccer team announced the signing class for the 2014-2015 academic year. The following women have committed to joining the Owls: Madison Caldwell, Alex Mastrobuono, Anna Brusco, Gina Davis, Samantha Lujan, Amanda Lodge, Tori VanHootegem, Jade Rhodes and Alyssa Skryd.
"The FAU Women's Soccer 2014 recruiting class covers all of our positional needs. With New Zealand internationalist Lucy Carter and transfer Sydney Drinkwater arriving for the spring semester, the young ladies that sign today bring quite a collection of talents to Boca Raton," said Head Coach Patrick Baker. "We have a vision of what our team and program should look like and we are one step closer to that after today."
Caldwell, an AP Scholar from Bartram Trail High School, was named All-Conference, All-County and All-State and Rookie of the Year as a freshman. She also earned All-County and All-Conference honors in track and broke records in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays and the 200 and 400 meter races.
"Madison played very well at the 2013 FYSA State Cup Final Four, and that was the beginning of our recruitment process with her. She has exceptional speed and can unbalance a defense pretty quickly," Baker said. "She was our first FAU 2014 commitment and for that I am forever thankful, because she took a step of faith when a number of other young ladies wouldn't."
Mastrobuono, a midfielder from Hagerty High School, was senior captain and helped her team become district champions in both 2012 and 2013. She was named Most Valuable Striker in 2011 and Most Valuable Midfielder in 2010. She also played club soccer for the FKK U18 White.
"Alex takes her academics and soccer very seriously. She believes in hard work and doing more, not less. She was our second commitment in the 2014 recruiting class and shares our vision of building something special here," said Baker. "Her speed and quickness make her a threat from a number of different positions and she has great composure around the face of goal."
Brusco, who has played soccer for 12 years, attended Cardinal Mooney High School and helped her team earn the district championship three out of four years. She was team captain as a senior and named to the All-Area All-Star team in 2014. She was also the winner of the President's Cup in 2011 and held the record for the highest number of points scored in the Sarasota-Manatee area.
"Anna is a very talented wide player, and that will showcase well in our system of play. She has athleticism, speed and plays at a very high level," Baker said. "Anna plays well against the touch line, gets up and down the line and has a great range of service. We were looking for players to attack the perimeters of opponents' defenses and feel she will help us there."
Davis, an AP and dual enrollment student from Mitchell High School, was a varsity letter recipient all four years and served as team captain in her senior season. She has attended the regional finals twice and placed third with the West Florida Flames at ECNL Nationals. She also participated on the 2010 Florida State ODP "A" Team.
"Gina can play anywhere across the back line and centrally or wide in the midfield. Her quickness and speed standout, along with her ability to play at high level," said Baker. "Her club and high school teams have enjoyed a great deal of success and we are looking for her to bring that winning mentality to FAU."
Lujan played soccer all four years at Gulliver Prep High School and helped lead her team to the state championship in 2010. She also played travel soccer since she was 9 years old and volunteered with the Special Olympics. She is very versatile and plays forward, midfield, and defense.
"Sammy has come on as of late and we are excited to have her join our soccer family. She can play up top or centrally in the midfield and has shown great versatility in a number of attacking positions," said Baker. "As a forward, her ability to bring others into the game is quite impressive. We believe she can come in and contribute to our attack right away."
Lodge, a former student at Eastern Florida State College, was the second leading goal scorer in 2013 and helped lead her team to a Region 8 Championship and an NJCAA national tournament appearance. While attending Fleming Island High School, Lodge had three state final four appearances and was a U.S. Club Soccer National Champion in 2010.
"Amanda is going to be a welcomed addition to our front line here at FAU and will give us an immediate scoring threat," said Baker. "She shows a willingness to defend as much as she wants to attack and has a high work rate. We hope she continues to create quality chances for herself and for her teammates like she did at the junior college level."
VanHootegem, a defender/midfielder from A&M Consolidated High School in Texas, played with Challenge Soccer Club and served as team captain from 2010-2013. She helped lead the club to the 2012 USYSA Regional Quarterfinals. She was also a varsity letterman in track and was a district medalist in the 4x200 relay.
"Tori has a dual background in soccer and track which makes for a pretty good combination. Tori's ability to close down attackers, cut down angles and get into attackers is very good," said Baker. "She likes to get up and down the flanks which is great within our system of play. We realized she is a talented student-athlete that we would be fortunate to have at FAU."
Rhodes, who played backfield for Eastern Florida State College, helped lead the team to its NJCAA State and Regional Championship wins in 2012 and 2013 and was selected first team 2013 NJCAA Region 8. She also played with numerous soccer clubs including the Chelsea Ladies Reserve Squad, which won the Chelsea Ladies Reserve Cup in 2012.
"The first time I saw Eastern Florida State College play was during last year's run to the 2012 national championship game and Jade was so impressive," said Baker. "Jade's play making ability and range of services will be an added bonus to our back line. As we continue to become a better passing team, she will fit into our style of play very well."
Skryd, from Palm Harbor High School, was a center midfielder on the varsity soccer team and ran track all four years of high school. She helped lead her high school squad to a number of district and PCAC championships and the regional playoffs. She also plays with the Tampa Bay United Premier Soccer club and helped the team reach numerous tournament championships and a current state ranking of No. 3.
"Alyssa is skillful and talented player that can play both central and wide in the midfield. She possesses a great touch, is a very good passer and has tremendous vision. We feel she can come in and contribute right away with her skill set," said Baker. "Alyssa has the makings to be a very good midfielder and we look forward to her joining our soccer family."
FAU women's soccer will begin its 2014 season in the fall. The schedule is still to be announced.