Team inks four top recruits
Dan Tapetillo | Tuesday, February 15, 2005
After winning the national title just two months ago, the Irish have announced four outstanding national letter-of-intent signees.
These players will join an experienced and talented team, as the Irish lose only starting central backs Melissa Tan-credi and Gudrun Gunnarsdottir to graduation.
This recruiting class is comprised of three national-team players, including midfielder Brittany Bock, who was recently rated by womensworldfootball.com as the world’s top female soccer player for her age group.
Bock is currently completing her senior season at Neuqua Valley High School after not playing high school soccer her junior year. She chose to compete with the Under-18 team from the Chicago Magic boys club, rated the nation’s top youth program. Bock also earned the 2003 Golden Boot Award after helping Team Illinois win the 2003 ODP national title. This team included Irish players Jen Buczkowski, Kim Lorenzen and Jill Krivacek.
Coach Randy Waldrum had only words of praise for the recruit.
“We had her tagged as one of the top players. She was the one that we felt like was the player we really wanted to get after,” Waldrum said. “She sees the field so well, and she is good at making the game happen. She can find other players. She can score goals. She is definitely one of the better players in the country coming out this year.”
In addition to Bock, the class includes defender Carrie Dew, midfielder/defender Kerry Inglis and midfielder Rebecca Mendoza.
Dew joins the Irish after helping La Costa Canyon High School win a pair of CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) state titles. Current Irish freshman Ashley Jones was co-captain with Dew on the 2004 national championship team. She is also a three-time NSCAA All-American (’02-’04) who has played with the U.S. Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 teams. Her club team, the San Diego Surf, is ranked as the nation’s top women’s club program according to Soccer America. Dew is currently the team’s captain and has helped them win three state titles.
“We really had to spend time finding backs [with the loss of Tancredi and Gunnarsdottir] and the more we saw her play, we knew she was the answer,” Waldrum said. “She is dynamite in the air and she is going to be one that we are counting on to step in and play.”
Inglis has also been receiving attention as she was recently chosen as a finalist for Indiana player-of-the-year award. Inglis joins the team with the experience of playing for the ODP Region II team, the Fort Wayne Citadel club and the Nelson Snider High School team where she holds a school record with 215 career points (84 goals, 47 assists). She also is rated by StudentSports.com as the nation’s seventh best defender and was also on its first team fall All-America team for 2004.
“She is going to be one of those players with a lot of versatility,” Waldrum said. “She is a great athlete and physically ready to play where she is right now. She has a tremendous upside and hasn’t even begun to peak.”
Mendoza, meanwhile, joins the Irish after making her debut with the Mexican National Team. One of her teammates on national team was former Irish defender Monica Gonzales, captain of Mexico’s 2004 Olympic quarterfinalist team. She also plays for the Dallas Sting, one of the nation’s top club programs. She totaled 77 goals and 58 assists in her first three seasons at Garland High School.
“Her ability on the ball is extremely high,” Waldrum said. “She is going to be a lot of fun to watch because she can do a lot with it. She brings a different level to us.”
Waldrum anticipates this year’s recruiting class to help and achieve the same level of success the Irish found this past year.
“They are all playing on teams that have won championships so they are all coming from successful backgrounds and are highly competitive kids,” he said. “You always want your veterans challenged everyday and these four are really going to push our championship team to keep competing.
“What helped us win the championship was our depth and they’ve just added to it. So we’ve got a good shot at competing [for another national title] next season.”
u Also joining the Irish will be two prep-All Americans from the 2004 freshman class who did not play last season, forwards Kerri Hanks and Susan Pinnick. Hanks opted to compete with the Under-19 World Championship and Pinnick is returning from a season-ending injury suffered in a summer car accident.