Women's Soccer Adds 11 for Next Season
CHICAGO DePaul women’s soccer coach Erin Chastain announced that 11 newcomers will be joining the program next season. Eight have signed a National Letter of Intent while three others have accepted admission to DePaul University. Chastain’s first recruiting class at DePaul goes coast to coast while maintaining traditional Chicagoland roots.
"This year’s class represents a very quality group of young women,” said Chastain. “I expect this class will come in and make an immediate impact on our level of play. These young women are all exceptional in their own right and will add special qualities to our team dynamic. Our staff looks forward to working with each individual and helping them continue to develop as players and as people.”
“We are excited to not only be able to pull from some of the top club teams and high schools in Illinois, but to also be able to diversify our team with student-athletes from some of the top club teams in the country. We went as far west as California and as far east as New Jersey.”
Midfielders Morgan Celaya and Kayla Rahon head east from California after signing National Letters of Intent. Celaya played at Valley Christian High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., where she earned CCA and WCAL first team honors. She also played on the ODP state team in 2007 and was a member of the regional pool. Her club team, Pleasanton Rage, reached the national tournament and she also excelled in track and field. Celaya was the 2003 and 2004 cross country national champion while also claiming the USATF national title in the 800 meters in 2003. Rahon, a San Diego native, played at Torrey Pines High School where she was team captain of the CIF champions. Torrey Pines also claimed the Palomar League title was ranked number one in the country. Rahon’s club team, San Diego Surf, won five Surf Cups, four State Cups and two regional titles.
“Morgan is an exceptionally dynamic attacking midfielder who will help our goal production and attack. She is very fit, determined and has a wonderful passion for the game of soccer,” said Chastain. “Kayla is an extremely talented midfielder out of southern California who will make an immediate impact on our team. She has great size and toughness and will help our team possess the ball.”
Two Ohio natives make their way to the Windy City next season after signing National Letters of Intent at DePaul. Casey Mercurio, a forward/midfielder of Cincinnati and Beth Perry, a defender, from Amelia, Ohio, join the program in August. Mercurio played at St. Ursula Academy where picked up All-Southwest Ohio and GGCL All-Conference honors. The Cincinnati Enquirer named her an All-Star honorable mention honoree while St. Ursula won the 2007 Division I state title. Her club team, Classics Hammer FC, reached the Ohio State Cup final in each of the last six years and claimed the title on four occasions. At the ODP level, Mercurio was a 2006 State team member and was in the regional pool. Perry led Mount Notre Dame to its first sectional championship and earned All-City and All-GGCL honors. She played club soccer for Ohio Elite and is a member of the Super Y-League ODP Regional team. Perry also played for the 2006 state championship basketball team at Mount Notre Dame.
“Casey is an extremely versatile player who will make an impact wherever she is on the field. She has wonderful athleticism and plays with a competitive edge,” said Chastain. “Beth is a naturally left-footed midfielder/defender out of the highly successful Ohio Elite Soccer Club. Her ability to serve set pieces separates her from the rest in the women’s game.”
Four Chicagoland standouts round out the National Letter of Intent signees as Arianna Foster, Taylor Nieling, Susie O’Connor and Michelle Scandora head to Lincoln Park next season. Foster, a forward from Barrington, played high school soccer at William Fremd. She played club soccer for Eclipse Select and Chicago Magic. With Eclipse Select, she won the U17 Midwest Regional League after winning the U16 Super Y-League National Championship and Illinois State title with the Chicago Magic. The three-year ODP State team member was also a 2004 member of the Super Y-League Regional team. Nieling, a forward/midfielder from Wheaton, was a four-year letterwinner at Wheaton Warrenville High School. The team captain picked up honorable mention All-Conference honors and the team claimed regional titles twice. While playing with the Chicago Fire Juniors, Nieling won the 2007 Fall Metro Classic and the Rockford Super Clubs championship. She was also a three-year letterwinner on the basketball team and was on the Athletic Leadership Council.
“Arianna is an exceptional athlete with great goal-scoring potential. She will make an immediate impact on our forward line,” said Chastain. “Taylor is an extremely feisty and hard-working player. She is very versatile and will compete for playing time in her first year.”
O’Connor is a forward/midfielder from Antioch who played two seasons at Antioch Community High School. A starter on the varsity as a freshman, she played as a sophomore and junior for the nationally-recognized Eclipse Select club team. Eclipse reached the USYSA Region tournament after reaching the State finals from 2002-06. Scandora, a midfielder from Wheaton, played her high school soccer at Wheaton North. She picked up All-Conference honors three times while earning IHSSCA All-State recognition as a senior. Scandora received All-Area honors throughout her career from the Daily Herald, Wheaton Leader, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. A 10-year member for the Wheaton Wings and Chicago Fire Juniors club programs, she also was a three-year starter in basketball and three-time Academic All-Conference honoree in soccer and basketball.
“Susie has great quickness and pace and will add a great dimension to our forward line,” said Chastain. “She is intense and has incredible work rate. Michelle has great size and athleticism and will immediately make great contributions in our midfield. She has a solid technical side and is dominating in the air.”
Christie Fink, Bri Santacaterina and Erika Janota have all accepted admission to DePaul University and round out the 11-player recruiting class. Finak, a Hamilton, N.J. native and midfielder, was named one of the top 20 players in central New Jersey. She played a Steinart High School and earned All-Conference honors while leading the team to two Central Jersey championships. Her club team, Hibernian Heat, was a three-time New Jersey State Cup semifinalist and is ranked as one of the state’s top club programs. Janota played at Rosary High School and is from Sandwich, Ill. The midfielder set the school’s season scoring record and earned All-Conference honors on three occasions while being a four-year starter. The Chicago Magic, Janota’s club team, is a seven-time State Cup champion and claimed the Super Y-League title in 2005 and 2006. Santacaterina, a defender/midfielder from Geneva, Ill., is the third newcomer from the Elipcse Select club program that Soccer America ranks the best club team in the nation.
“Christie is a crafty, creative midfielder who is tenacious and feisty on defense as well. She has a great work ethic and leadership qualities,” said Chastain. “Bri is a very versatile player out of the highly successful Eclipse Soccer Club. Bri has great determination and heart and is a great leader. Her relentless attitude will make a very positive impact on our team. Erika is technically sound and athletic. She is deceptively fast and has a great shot. She is very disciplined and hard-working.”
The Blue Demons open the 2008 campaign in August as they look to improve on the foundation established in Chastain’s first season as head coach in 2007.