Blue Demons Sign Four Top-Notch Recruits
CHICAGO - Erin Chastain will never be a head coach who rests on her laurels.
After leading the women's soccer team to its first appearance in the BIG EAST Championship tournament, Chastain and assistant coaches Michele O'Brien and Tina Estrada have brought in four outstanding recruits for the 2010 season.
Leading the way is Wisconsin First-Team, All-State midfielder Rebekah Roller, who chose the Blue Demons over Marquette and Wisconsin-Milwaukee and also attracted recruiting interest from national champion North Carolina and perennial power UCLA.
"Rebekah is an extremely talented attacking midfielder," Chastain said about the senior from Brookfield (Wis.) East High School. "She has the ability to strike longer passes and is also a goal-scoring threat. We love her feisty mentality and great poise."
There's a strong soccer bloodline accompanying left-footed forward Natasa Radosavlijevic of Toronto.
That's because her father, Predrag "Preki" Radosavlijevic, is the head coach of the Toronto F.C. team in Major League Soccer and a two-time former MLS Most Valuable Player. He was recently inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame.
"She's a soccer junkie who has been around the game all her life," Chastain said. "Natasa has a great soccer mind and a nose for the goal. She is great in one-on-one attacking situations and will help us with our goal scoring next season."
Natasa played most of her youth soccer in talent-laded southern California before moving to Toronto.
Local star Erin Pekovitch of Stevenson High School already has a DePaul connection, teaming up with Blue Demon freshman and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team selection Chelsea Grant on the Eclipse Select soccer club.
"Erin has a great knack for scoring and is very good in the penalty box," Chastain said about the forward who helped lead Eclipse to the 2008 national championship. "We expect her to come in and help with our goal scoring and creativity in the attacking third of the field.
"Erin comes from a club program that expects to win, and I love that mentality. We've been able to recruit the top club teams nationally."
The Blue Demons landed another Wisconsin standout when midfielder/defender Kylie Nordness signed her letter of intent.
Talk about a winner, Nordness was All-State First Team, the Greater Metro Conference Player of the Year and led Divine Savior Holy Angels to its second-straight state title. She was also selected for the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) All-Region Team.
"Kylie is a very versatile athlete who played outside back for her club team (KUFC) and central midfield for her high school team," Chastain said. "She is highly competitive and very comfortable on the ball."
Nordness will fit right in with the Blue Demons.
"I visited the school and stayed with the team, and they were all really welcoming and close-knit---which I liked," Nordness said. "Also, the coach sought me out, and she is really easy to talk to and cares for the players and the team.
"My greatest strengths would be my ability to see the entire field and make things happen. I'm a good team player and I don't give up easily."
The incoming freshmen will augment a program that is returning 10 of 11 starters from a 10-9-2 program that experienced a turnaround season in 2009. In addition, talented sophomore Casey Mercurio will return after missing last season with an injury.
"I'm really excited about this class," Chastain said. "They are bright, tough, competitive student-athletes who can come in and contribute right away. We had three freshmen come in and start right away last season."