Click here to check out the 2009 Minnesota Soccer Signing Day informational booklet
The University of Minnesota soccer program has announced that five players will join the Golden Gophers for the 2009 season: Olivia Bagnall (Lakeville, Minn.), Stephanie Brandt (Rochester, Minn.), Allie Phillips (Vadnais Heights, Minn.), Marissa Price (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Jessica Vork (Cloquet, Minn.).
A year after signing the seventh-best recruiting class in the Great Lakes Region and the 32nd-best in the nation, the Gophers’ 2009 class appears once again to rank amongst the nation’s best. Entering the 2009 recruiting season, the Gophers have had four straight classes ranked among the top ten in the Great Lakes Region and three straight classes ranked in the top 50 nationally.
The class boasts the 2008 Ms. Minnesota Soccer honoree (Brandt) for the fourth time in five years. The group also includes the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press Player of the Year (Phillips) and three first team Star Tribune all-metro players (Bagnall, Phillips and Price).
“Our coaching staff and our players are excited to welcome the class of 2009 to the Minnesota Soccer family. This is a talented and diverse group that will impact our program immediately,” Minnesota head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. “They are tremendous models of what we look to recruit at Minnesota Soccer - great people, fantastic players and courageous leaders with an undying passion to be the best. This is a class of Minnesota hometown heroes, and I know they are looking forward to playing their careers in front of their friends and family at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.”
The 2009 signing class will join a program coming off a regular season Big Ten championship. Last year’s Golden Gophers set a number of school records, including wins (22), winning percentage (.846), goals against average (0.45) and shutouts (17). Finishing with the best record in school history (22-4, 8-2 in Big Ten play) the Gophers advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history.
This year’s five signees with join with a group of talented returners next season. Defender Jennie Clark, a sophomore in 2008, was a first team All-Big Ten pick and a fourth team SoccerBuzz All-America selection and forward Tamara Strahota was named to the Big Ten's all-freshman team and was also a second team freshman All-America pick by Soccer America. The Gophers will also return starters Kylie Kallman, Julie Rezac, Molly Rouse and Katie Bethke from a 2008 squad that was one of only six in the country to win 20 or more games a year ago.
"It has been an honor to recruit Olivia, Stephanie, Allie, Marissa and Jessica, and to develop relationships with each of them and their families. They are great models of the championship character we ask all of our players to exhibit and each will contribute greatly to our program as players, students and leaders,” associate head coach Kate Cortis said. “We are so thankful to the coaches in the great state of Minnesota who have worked with each of these young women and have helped develop and prepare them to raise the standard here at Minnesota Soccer."