COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Seven high school seniors signed national letters of intent to play soccer at Texas A&M, head coach G Guerrieri announced on Wednesday.
Katherine Bartley (College Station, Texas), Kimberly Castleberry (McKinney, Texas) Lyndsey Gnatzig (Humble, Texas), Chelsea Jones (Belton, Texas), Christina Navalta Carrollton, Texas), Mary Schmidt (Orange, Calif.) and Nora Skelton (Austin, Texas) will join the Aggie soccer team for the 2009 season.
“This is a very special signing class for Texas A&M,” said Guerrieri. “I think we we’re already going to be a very good team in 2009 because of all the incredible players we return from our young 2008 team, which finished the year ranked No. 7 and was a heartbeat way from advancing to the Final Four. So, we only needed to sign very special players in this class – players that could make our team really great now and in the future. We were fortunate to be able to hit on all of our recruiting targets for this class by signing great goal scorers, skillful playmakers, great defenders and exceptional athletes who are accustomed to winning and making that positive difference for their team in critical situations.
“These seven players come from five of the greatest soccer clubs across Texas and the nation. They have already received some of the best coaching that youth soccer offers and I think they are each well prepared for playing the attacking, sophisticated, free flowing and exciting style of soccer that consistently has Texas A&M in the hunt for a national championship.
“Kim Castleberry joins us from the Dallas Texans Soccer Club, where she has been the premier player in the No. 1 ranked girls’ soccer club in America. Her coach (Ryan Higginbotham) was the National Youth Coach of the Year in 2008 and he believes and teaches the same type of ideas that we believe in. He has prepared Kim to be as great as anyone in the world in her age group, and it has paid off for them. Kim was THE player that drove her Texans team to winning the USYSA National Championship last year. She was the player that was shadowed by great teams in each game at the national championship tournament and she still scored and set up big goals in every game. She is a special player.
“Lyndsey Gnatzig and Kat Bartley join a long line of great Aggie soccer players who grew up under the guidance of Coach Pat O’Toole at the Challenge Soccer Club in Houston. Players under Pat O’Toole are tough, focused and highly skilled athletes that have been able to step straight into great college programs like ours and have made big impacts on their teams. Current A&M players who grew up playing for the Challenge include Nicole Ketchum, Amber Gnatzig, Whitney Hooper, Megan Majewski, and Kat Armstrong.
“Nora Skelton and Chelsea Jones are the latest of the best players from the Lonestar Soccer Club in Austin (Texas) to sign with the Aggies, following Rachael Balaguer in 2008 and Inge Harding in 2007. Chelsea and Nora have been key ingredients in the rise of this Lonestars ‘91 team under the guidance of Coach JD Cochran and the club’s fantastic director of coaching, David “Smitty” Smith. Chelsea and Nora are difference makers.
“Christina Navalta comes to Aggieland from the FC Dallas youth club, who’s headed up by two former players of mine; her great team coach Chris Ring and the club’s director of girls coaching Chris Hayden.
“Meanwhile, Mary Schmidt is the first player that we’ve been able to sign from the Slammers Soccer Club in Southern California, which continues to develop some of the most exciting players in America under coaches Walid Khoury, Ziad Khoury and George Larson. The Slammers have won several national championships and we’re very excited to have one of their greatest leaders join our soccer family.”
For more information regarding each individual signee see the attached file or visit http://signingday.aggieathletics.com.
Name Pos. Ht. Cl-Exp. Hometown (High School) Club Team
Katherine Bartley D 6-0 FR-HS College Station, Texas (A&M Consolidated) Challenge ‘91
Kimberly Castleberry F 5-7 FR-HS McKinney, Texas (Prosper) Dallas Texans ’91
Lyndsey Gnatzig D 5-6 FR-HS Humble, Texas (Atascocita) Challenge ‘91
Chelsea Jones M 5-4 FR-HS Belton, Texas (Belton) Lonestar ‘91
Christina Navalta F/M 5-7 FR-HS Carrollton, Texas (Creekview) FC Dallas ‘91
Mary Schmidt D/M 5-10 FR-HS Orange, Calif. (Mater Dei) Slammers FC ‘91
Nora Skelton F/M 5-5 FR-HS Austin, Texas (James Bowie) Lonestar ‘91
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