Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 7 - The Southern Utah University women’s soccer program announced its 2014 recruiting class this week. The group is made up of eight incoming freshman, including three student-athletes from the state of Utah.
“Each year our goal is to improve. This is measured in so many different ways, but one really terrific example of our progress can be found in our recruiting classes,” stated SUU head coach Becky Hogan. “This group of players we just signed adds depth, talent, and competitive drive. Each and every player we are bringing in has a deep love of the game and will go above and beyond to help this team achieve its highest goals.”
The incoming class at SUU includes NLI signees Haley Adams of Mesa, Ariz.; Megan Bolding of Salt Lake City, Utah; Payton Bonino of Brighton, Colo.; Abbie Flandro Bountiful, Utah; Jessica French of Alberta, Can., Ally Thimsen of Broomfield, Colo. and Niki Voulgaris of Long Beach, Calif. The Thunderbirds also add Madi Cutler of Logan, Utah who has been accepted to the university and will join the team for the upcoming season.
Haley Adams finished her playing days at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Ariz. as the program’s all-time leader with 61 career assists. She also racked up 39 career goals and was a three-time all-conference selection. The 5-3 midfielder was a member of the Sereno 2013 U16 ECNL National Championship club and led the team with in assists. Adams was also invited to participate in the Las Vegas, Western Region Player Development Program in 2013.
Adams is also fluent in Spanish and has worked as an in-school tutor for the past three years. She has also served as a special education aid for students with autism. Her goal is to become an elementary school teacher in Spain.
Coach Hogan on Adams – “Haley’s soccer IQ and vision is outstanding. You can go an entire game and Haley will not commit a single turnover. Her deft passing skills compliment a patience on the ball that is unparalleled. She reminds us of YaYa Gomez and the thought of those two playing together in the midfield leaves us giddy with anticipation.”
Megan Bolding picked up multiple all-state awards from both the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune while competing at Highland High School in Salt Lake City. The 5-8 forward was a four-year letter winner for the Rams and was named the team captain during her senior season. Bolding also competed for the Black Diamond Soccer Club.
Bolding was awarded to the Principal’s Award Honor Roll all four years at HHS where she carried a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the National Honors Society. She is also actively involved in her church and is an accomplished pianist as she holds a superior rating from the National Piano Federation Competition.
Coach Hogan on Bolding – “Megan is an imposing forward who possesses speed, agility, and tremendous athleticism. She scores goals off determination and hustle. She will not hesitate even if it means putting the other player in the back of the net along with the ball.”
Payton Bonino was an all-conference performer at Brighton High School in Brighton, Colo. and helped the Bulldogs to a playoff appearance last season. The 5-5 forward led the state of Colorado with 26 goals. She also competed for the Westminster AFC of Colorado.
Bonino also excelled in the classroom, ranking among the top-ten students of her class and being named all-state academic team. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers as a peer counselor.
Coach Hogan on Bonino – “As you watch Payton play, she has the ability to mesmerize you with her speed and desire to score. There is no resting or relaxing for defenders when Payton is on the field. She is an athletic force with a precise and sharply honed goal scoring skill set.”
Madi Cutler helped Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah to four consecutive state tournament appearances as a varsity starter during her prep career. The 5-4 midfielder was a member of Forza FC where she competed alongside her future SUU teammate Abbie Flandro and captured the Albion Championship.
Cutler served as team captain for the Mustangs and is a recipient of the Regents’ Scholarship. She has made the honor roll every semester at MCHS and is a member of the National Honors Society. She also volunteers as a peer tutor.
Coach Hogan on Cutler – “Madi brings to the table a diverse skill set which allows her to be a multi-faceted threat to opposing defenders. She demonstrates great patience and aptitude while playing back to goal, but she will also face up and go at people 1 v 1 and beat them regularly.”
Abbie Flandro joins the Thunderbirds from Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah where she helped the Vikings to four straight tournament finals appearances and captured the state title in 2012. The 5-7 midfielder was a two-time 5A all-state performer and averaged one goal per game during her senior season. Flandro competed for Forza FC and spent three years in the Olympic Development Program.
Away from the field, Flandro volunteers teaching local elementary school and junior high students about drugs, alcohol, bullying, abstinence and depression. She is also an honors student and served as a Viking Master, volunteering to help fellow classmates, at VHS.
Coach Hogan on Flandro – “Abbie is a quintessential box-to-box midfielder who combines a tireless work rate with an exceptional soccer IQ and deft skill on the ball. She is a set-piece specialist who will put the Thunderbirds on the board time and time again with her crafty serves and direct shots on goal.”
Jessica French marks the first international recruit for Coach Hogan, coming to Southern Utah from her home in Alberta, Canada. The 5-7 defender competed for Scottish United and was invited to the National Training Center Program. She captained the Alberta Team to a bronze medal finish at the Canadian national championships.
French was named the Female Athlete of the Year at Vimy Ridge Academy where she also served on the student council.
Coach Hogan on French – “Jessica is a technically talented player who has the ability to play out of the back and start the attack for our team. She is a dangerous maestro with her accurate passing and ability to pick apart the opponent.”
Ally Thimsen is a multi-sport at Broomfield High School in Colorado, serving as the captain of the basketball team, qualifying for state as a track athlete, earning all-conference recognition as the kicker for the football team and of course starring on the soccer team. The 5-8 forward captained the ’96 Girls Broomfield Blast and was named the Colorado State Cup MVP.
Thimsen made the honor roll all four years of high school and is a member of the National Honors Society. She is also the editor for her school’s yearbook.
Coach Hogan on Thimsen – “Ally’s ability to get end line and serve a quality cross, or beat a defender and play a dangerous ball in behind is exceptional. A relentless attacking player, she will slice and dice an opponent over and over and over. We look forward to her rattling off many assists in her career.“
Niki Voulgaris was a four-time all-league performer at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. The 5-9 defender also competed as a member of the Strikers FC ECNL.
Voulgaris has made the principal’s honor roll all four years of at Wilson and spends time volunteering with youth soccer players.
Coach Hogan on Voulgaris – “Niki is also an extremely talented technical player who will fly forward to join in the attack. She can deliver a pinpoint ball into a midfielder’s feet and sprint past her opponent before they even know what has happened. She is a joy to watch play because of that element of surprise she has.
In total the signing class includes three midfielders, three forwards and a pair of defenders who are all expected to contribute to the already young and talented Southern Utah team.
In the words of Coach Hogan:
“On and off the field this recruiting class helps push our program to greater heights. With our goal of improving every year, this incoming freshman group certainly accomplishes that feat. One can only imagine the additional boost that they will inject as they actually arrive for pre-season camp in August.
Our staff is very much looking forward to the challenges of having a roster jam-packed with talent. As many of my colleagues on campus have said to me, ‘it is a good 'problem' to have’.”