Talented Soccer Recruits Bolster Blue Demons
Feb. 9, 2011
CHICAGO – The talent level of the women’s soccer program at DePaul just keeps going higher and higher.
Five top-notch recruits will add their considerable skills to the Blue Demons’ quest of earning a place in the upper echelon of the BIG EAST Conference.
Leading the way is one of the fastest players in the program’s history, Sarah Gorden of Conant High School.
In addition to excelling at the club soccer level and leading Eclipse to the Region 2 semifinals and six Illinois State Cup championships, Gorden finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles as a sophomore in 2009 and ninth in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2010 IHSA state track meet. She also qualified for the state meet in the 4x100 relay as Conant wound up 15th.
“Sarah is an exceptional talent, and we are so lucky she chose DePaul,” said coach Erin Chastain. “She is an outstanding one-on-one defender and has a level of pace that sets her apart from any player in our conference.
“She has played at the highest level and is accustomed to competing and winning against some of the best teams in the country.”
Both of Gorden’s parents, Jeff and Sue, are DePaul alumni, and dad competed in cross country during his days at Lincoln Park.
A high school and collegiate soccer standout in Minnesota, Chastain used her connections to attract two versatile athletes from her home state.
Amber Paul in an All-State selection from Rogers (Minn.) High School who had 78 goals and nine assists in her career while leading Rogers to the state championship in 2010. She was All-State honorable mention as a sophomore. Paul also led her club team to three USYS Minnesota State Cup championships. Paul was selected for the Region 2 team and represented her region at a tournament in Holland.
Goalkeeper Megan Pyrz led Chastain’s alma mater, Wayzata, to the 2009 high school state championship and an undefeated season en route to garnering All-State honors. The repeat All-Stater helped Wayzata finish as the state runner-up last fall.
“Amber is a wonderful midfield player who is extremely technical, great in the air, very physical and has a nose for the goal,” Chastain said.
“Megan is a winner in every sense of the world. She is great on crosses, extremely dedicated to her strength and fitness and will be a great presence for us in goal.”
Another big-time winner joining the Blue Demons in the fall is two-time All-State selection Nikki Condit who led Milwaukee Catholic Memorial to the state title in 2010. The NSCAA/Adidas All-Region forward recently competed with the Region 2 team at the inter-regional tournament in Florida.
“Nikki is one of the toughest and most competitive players we have ever recruited,” Chastain said. “She can play on the right or left side and has developed a nose for the goal while playing at a very high level with FC Milwaukee.”
The fifth recruit to sign a national letter of intent with DePaul is Glenbrook South High School defender/forward Nina Kodros, who led the Titans to fourth place in the state last year. The honorable mention All-Stater played her club ball with FC United.
“Nina is extremely athletic, feisty and can play in the back or up top. She is very tough to beat one-on-one and is also a relentless attacker who covers a tremendous amount of ground.”
The five recruits along with the return of Grant from a season-ending injury will enhance the Blue Demons’ chances of qualifying for the BIG EAST semifinals in the fall.
“We are so excited about our class of 2011,” Chastain said. “It’s great to see that each class we bring in is getting better and better.
“We know they will do great things for our soccer program and in the BIG EAST.”