Feb. 12, 2010
LOS ANGELES - Led by the nation's No. 1 overall recruit Jenna Richmond, head UCLA women's soccer coach Jillian Ellis announced the signing of seven players to national letters of intent on Friday. In addition to Richmond, who is a member of the U.S. Under-20 National Team, UCLA also landed U.S. Under-18 standouts Natalia Ledezma, Ariana Martinez and Kylie Facinelli.
"This is an outstanding class that not only features some high-caliber soccer players, but a good number of well-rounded athletes as well," said Ellis, who is entering her 12th season as head coach at UCLA. "Our focus every year is to land the best players in the country and I believe we achieved that goal yet again. This coaching staff is eager to begin working with this talented group of individuals."
Below are bios of UCLA's seven recruits listed alphabetically.
Chelsea Braun / MF / Woodside, Calif. (Woodside HS)
Honorable mention ESPN RISE All-American in 2009 ... Captain for Woodside High School and her club team the De Anza Force ... Led Woodside in goals and assists her sophomore through senior years ... Four-year team MVP ... Three-time first-team all-conference selection ... Also a three-time member of the San Mateo County Elite 11 Team ... Scholar-Athlete Award recipient from 2007-09 ... Helped her club team, the De Anza Force, to State Cup Championships in 2008 and 2009 ... The team also reached the Surf Cup Finals in 2008 ... Member of the CalNorth State Team since 2007 ... Region-IV Camp player in 2008 and 2009.
Kylie Facinelli / MF / San Diego, Calif. (Cathedral Catholic HS)
Currently in the Under-18 U.S. National Team Player Pool ... Has also played with the U.S. Under-15s ... Member of CalSouth ODP Team since 2005 ... Region-IV Team member since 2007 ... Helped the Region-IV Team to championship in 2009 ... Played club soccer for the San Diego Surf from 2001-08 ... Surf Club Player of the Year in 2005 ... Joined the So. Cal Blues in 2008 ... Invited to both the Nike Premier 50 and adidas ESP Camps ... Three-year varsity letterman at Cathedral Catholic High School ... Led the team in scoring as a junior ... Named MVP that same season ... Has helped Cathedral Catholic to a pair of league and CIF Championships ... Also helped CCHS to a Southern Californa Regional Championship in 2008 ... Graduating high school early to enroll at UCLA for the spring quarter.
Jalissa Freeman / F / Modesto, Calif. (James C. Enochs HS)
Played club soccer for the Pleasanton Rage ... Member of the CalNorth ODP State Team ... Also a Region-IV Team member ... Helped the Rage to a CalNorth State Cup semifinal appearance in 2008 ... Also a member of the Mustang Earthquakes that advanced to the CalNorth State Cup and Region-IV finals in 2006 ... Did not play high school soccer ... Excelled in both track and basketball at James C Enochs High School in Modesto, Calif. ... Lettered two years in basketball ... Second-Team all-league selection as a freshman ... First-team all-district selection as a sophomore ... Lettered her freshman year as a sprinter on the track team ... League champion in the 100m, 200m ... Also anchored 4x100 relay team ... San Joaquin Sub-Sections finalist in the 100m (12.6) ... Holds high school record in the 100m (12.4) ... Plans to skip her senior year and enroll at UCLA in the fall.
Natalia Ledezma / F-MF / La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada HS)
Has represented the U.S. at the U-15, U-17 and U-18 levels ... Currently in the Under-18 U.S. National Team Player Pool ... Starter on the U-18 Team that defeated Canada's U-20s, 5-1 in July of 2009 ... Second-Team ESPN RISE All-American in 2009 ... Member of ODP Region-IV Team since 2005 ... Starter on ODP State Team ... Won a national championship as a member of the Irvine Strikers before joining the Slammers FC ... Played varsity soccer as a freshman at La Mirada High School ... Named the team's 2006 Rookie of the Year ... Suburban League Division-lll Player of the Year in 2006 ... Attended the adidas ESP Camp in 2008 ... CIF Southern Section Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Ariana Martinez / F-MF / Moorpark, Calif. (Moorpark HS)
Currently in the Under-18 U.S. National Team Player Pool ... Represented the U-18s in a 5-1 victory over Canada's U-20s in July of 2009 in Boulder, Colo. ... Named MVP at the Surf Cup in 2009 ... Member of the CalSouth ODP Team since 2005 ... Region-IV ODP Team member since 2006 ... Traveled with the Region-IV Team to San Jose, Costa Rica in 2007 ... Helped the CalSouth Team to an ODP National Championship in 2009 ... Four-year First-Team All-Marmonte League selection in both soccer and track ... Holds high school track records in both the 4x100 and 4x400 events ... Moorpark High School Soccer MVP in 2009 ... MVP Sprinter for the track team in 2008 and 2009 ... First-Team All-Ventura County in 2009 (track) ... Plays club soccer for Real So Cal.
Jenna Richmond / MF / Centreville, Va. (Centreville HS)
Consensus No. 1 recruit in the class of 2010, earning the distinction by Top Drawer Soccer, ESPNU and Takkle.com ... 2007 and 2008 NSCAA/adidas Youth All-American ... 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Virginia ... 2009 Parade All-American ... Member of the Under-20 U.S. National Team that recently captured the 2010 CONCACAF Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala ... Also brought in with the U-20s for a trip to Germany in June of 2009 ... Represented the Under-17 National Team at the Future Stars Tournament in Auckland, New Zealand in January of 2008 ... Traveled with the U.S. Under-16s to Rio Janeiro, Brazil in December of 2007 ... Participated in both soccer and cross-country at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. ... Washington Post All-MET First-Team selection as a sophomore and senior ... Two-time All-Northern Region selection in cross-country ... Concorde District Champion in cross-country as a freshman ... Played club soccer for the McLean Freedom, leading the team to a national championship in 2006 ... Earned the adidas Golden Boot Award at the USYSA National Championships in 2006 ... National Honor Society Member ... Academic Award Recipient for both cross-country and soccer.
Crystal Shaffie / D / San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS)
Region-IV Team member in 2006, 2007 and 2009 ... Traveled with Region-IV ODP team to Costa Rica in 2007 ... Participated in the 2006 Interregional Championships in Coral Springs, Fla. and the 2009 Interregionals in Jackson, Miss. ... CalNorth ODP State Team member... Participated in USL National ODP Camp in Cocoa, Fla. in 2007 ... Played Varsity soccer at Presentation High School as a Freshman ... Three-year varsity letterwinner at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. ... Mitty Team captain in 2008 and 2009 ... West Coast Athletic League (WCAL) First-Team selection and WCAL Junior of the Year in 2009 ... Played club soccer for the MVLA Avalanche... Helped the team win CalNorth State Cup Championship in 2007 and reach Far West Regional semifinals and CalNorth State Cup Finals in 2008.