Feb. 12, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- New Mexico head women's soccer coach Kit Vela announced the signing of 12 student-athletes to national letters of intent. The class includes three of the top New Mexico prospects in Alexis Ball, Emily Simon, and Marisa Wootton. Vela adds four players from southern California, three highly talented Utah athletes and two stellar products from Amarillo, Texas round out the signing class.
"Hands down this is the deepest most talented group of freshman to join our program," said Vela. "This class is a tremendous mix of athleticism, speed, aggressiveness and sheer soccer ability to allow our program to take the next big step in its over-all development. We have just completed building a solid, winning foundation based on the seven seniors that we recently graduated, in the past six years since we've been here. It's now time to take another step towards our long term vision for this program. This is an exciting time to be part of Lobo Women's Soccer, Lobo Soccer, and the UNM Athletic department, and this is a great group of players to help us take this next huge step in progress!"
Ball joins the UNM program after leading Albuquerque's La Cueva High School to the 5A State Championship in the fall and was named the 5A All-State Player of the Year. She is a Region 4 ODP team pool player and listed among www.SoccerBuzz.com top 200 recruits. Simon is a local signee and comes to UNM as a former ODP state team player and was an all-district first team selection. Simon was also named first team all-state. Wootton becomes a Lobo after being named to the New Mexico all-state team and earned all-district first team honors the last two seasons.
Vela inks four student-athletes from the state of California, including Stephanie Hebert, Liz Lambert, Kerrin Stephan and Kate Wyrick. Hebert was named all-bay league from 2004-07 and All-CIF from 2005-06. Hebert currently plays club soccer for the So Cal Blues and led them to the 2004 National Cup Championship, the Far West Regional semi-finals in 2004 and 2005 and helped Redondo Union High School win the Bay League Championship in 2005. Steffan played four years at Millikan High School for Bruce Brown. While at MHS, Steffan was named to the second team Harry J. Moore League Dream Team, was a first team all-league selection and was named a high school heisman outstanding offensive performer from 2003-06. Lambert was a four-year varsity player under head coach Erica Rattay. She helped lead her high school team to two league championships during her career. Wyrick is an offensive threat and comes to UNM after a great high school career. Wyrick plays club soccer for Cypress Elite in southern California.
Utah standouts Stephanie Lowery, Jennifer Nielsen and Natalie Wheatley all signed with the Lobos. UNM adds three quality players who have competed against some of the top players in the state of Utah, while playing for the Celtic Storm club team. The Lobos signed three of the 10 Storm players who signed national letters of intent to play college soccer at out-of-state schools. Lowery played for Alta High School and won two state championships in 2004 and 2006. Nielsen was a first team all-region player and named the 2006 Midfield Region 4 Most Valuable Player. Wheatley is a talented soccer player and a strong defender.
Rachel Fields and Jordan Craig join the UNM program after stellar careers at Amarillo High School in Amarillo, Texas. Fields, a center midfielder, played for head coach Stacey McPherson and teamed with Craig, a forward, to lead the Lady Sandies to a 5-2 record. Both received all-district honors for their play in 2006.
|Name||Pos.||Class||Hometown (High School)|
|Alexis Ball||MF/F||Fr.-HS||Albuquerque, N.M. (La Cueva)|
|Jordan Craig||F||Fr.-HS||Amarillo, Texas (Amarillo)|
|Rachel Fields||MF||Fr.-HS||Amarillo, Texas (Amarillo)|
|Stephanie Hebert||MF/F||Fr.-HS||Redondo Beach, Calif. (Redondo Union)|
|Elizabeth Lambert||D||Fr.-HS||Lancaster, Calif. (Paraclete)|
|Stephanie Lowery||MF/F||Fr.-HS||Sandy, Utah (Alta)|
|Jennifer Nielsen||MF||Fr.-HS||Orem, Utah (Timpanogos)|
|Emily Simon||D||Fr.-HS||Albuquerque, N.M. (Sandia)|
|Kerrin Stephan||MF/F||Fr.-HS||Lakewood, Calif. (Millikan)|
|Natalie Wheatley||D||Fr.-HS||Draper, Utah (Jordan)|
|Marisa Wootton||D||Fr.-HS||Albuquerque, N.M. (Sandia)|
|Kate Wyrick||F||Fr.-HS||Anaheim, Calif. (Troy)|
Head Coach Kit Vela
Player Quotes -
Alexis Ball - "Ball is the most underrated player to come out of the state of New Mexico. She loves the game of soccer, shows it every time she takes the field and has the ability to take over a game, no matter what position she plays."
Jordan Craig - "Craig is very quick, a nasty forward who finds the back of the net any way she can; she, and club (HS) teammate Rachel Fields have made huge sacrifices to play club ball and we're excited to see her score goals at the next level."
Rachel Fields - "Fields is a crafty, hard central midfielder who has known sacrifice for playing the game she loves. She has terrific vision to play forwards into dangerous positions in the final third. She is another player with enormous "upside"!"
Stephanie Hebert - "Hebert is the first "hometown" player I've ever brought to New Mexico from Redondo Beach, Calif. She is very fast, graceful and athletic with the ability to put her opponent on their backs. I look forward to seeing her potential grow with the system."
Liz Lambert - "Lambert is a central defender who plays for one of the best youth coaches in Southern California on a highly touted club team, with some Division I experience, and could be one of the best center backs in the conference!"
Stephanie Lowery - "Lowery will outwork any opponent and make the game difficult by beating down the door in the attacking third. Lowery is another "true Lobo" player with a never quit attitude!"
Jennifer Nielsen - "Nielsen will be an enormous asset to our program and will look forward to competing against her local Utah Universities! She is an incredible athlete who will fit in very well with our aggressive style of attack!"
Emily Simon - "Simon is without a doubt one of the top defenders around, who was sought after by some bigger named schools but decided to play for her hometown team! I am so excited to bring such a talented defender from New Mexico to our program for the local crowd to cheer on."
Kerrin Stephan - "Stephan is fast, athletic and exciting. She is a true Lobo player with the heart of a lion. She is a multi-dimensional player who has played for two top Southern California premier club teams."
Natalie Wheatley - "Wheatley is a fast and courageous defender; one of the most athletic, underrated outside backs in the region. She is just the type to succeed in Lobo Women's Soccer."
Marisa Wootton - "Wootton is a local center back with a great deal of "upside", and has the potential to be an outstanding central defender!"
Kate Wyrick - "Wyrick is an outstanding athlete and a true "blue-collar" player. She is a forward coming from a highly successful club team, the Cypress elite, in Southern California, where she has scored numerous goals!"