Valdosta State soccer coach M elissa Heinz signed her first recruiting class for the team’s inaugural season and it includes 22 freshmen, 3 sophomores and six juniors.
There are 12 from Metro Atlanta schools. Below are bios of those signees provided by Valdosta State.
Anna Hardin, 5-9, G, Alpharetta/South Forsyth
- Earned the Iron Eagle Award at South Forsyth… Named to All-County team… Played for AFC Lightning 93 Elite… Played for ASA Extreme 93 Black.
- Coach’s quote: “A keeper that will work hard and give her best every day.”
- Hardin’s quote on VSU: “When I first saw the school I fell in love with it. It will also be fun being on the first soccer team for Valdosta State.”
Emily Gray Powell, 5-7, F, Newnan,/The Heritage School
– Named All-Region and All-State three years running… Coweta County Player of the Year in both 2009 and 2010… Tallied 49 goals, the most goals scored in Georgia Independent School Association in 2009… Earned Golden Boot Award for most goals scored… Named team’s most valuable player 2008-10… Led team to regional championship 2008-10… Led team to state runners-up in 2009… Played for Coweta Cannons (1994-2007)… Played for AFC Lightning (2008-10).
- Coach’s quote: “Powell is a strong target player with great presence in the game. She has good vision and will do well on the field in our attack.”
- Powell’s quote on VSU: “When the opportunity came to me to play on the first ever women’s soccer team, it was a dream come true. We are going to be history in the making.”
Sydney Smith, 5-5, F/MF, Conyers/Heritage
- Led team to the State AAAA playoffs in 2008-10… Has been a three-year starter for Heritage… Earned 2010 Coach’s Award… Named to All-Region second team… Played for Rockdale Youth Soccer Association for seven years… Played for Atlanta Fire United for two years.
- Coach’s quote: “Just had recent surgery, but she is determined to get healthy and play strong for the Blazers.”
- Smith’s quote on VSU: “The atmosphere and campust at VSU is a good fit for me. The size of the university and its location is exactly what I was looking for.”
Abbi Edwards, 5-3, MF, Sugar Hill/North Gwinnett
– Earned Coach’s Award in 2008… Earned NGHS Bulldog Award in 2010… Member of the student-athlete leadership team at NGHS 2009-11… Named All-County in 2010… Captained state championship team in 2010… Played for Super Y in 2008… Played for Atlanta Fire United Elite 93 in 2008-11… Played R3PL in 2008-09… Played ECNL for 2009-11.
- Coach’s quote: “She plays like she is six feet tall. Edwards is a tenacious player who is strong and aggressive. She will be an impact player at VSU.”
- Edwards quote on VSU: “The opportunity to be a part of the beginning of a tradition made my decision to attend and play for VSU very easy.”
Alli Fay, 5-1, MF, Cumming/North Forsyth
– Led team to the CESA Classic finals in 2007… Led team to CASL Shootout semifinals in 2007… Led GYSA Athena A team to undefeated season and state championship in 2007… Played for R3PL in 2008-09… Led team to Georgia state semifinals in 2008-09… Led team to Disney Showcase semifinals in 2008… Led team to Disney Showcase Championship in 2009… Led team to a third overall ranking in the state of Georgia and 44th ranking nationally… Led team to Atlanta Cup semifinals in 2010… Led team to Las Vegas College Showcase semifinals in 2010… Four-year varsity starter… Named offensive player of the year… Played for Forsyth Rowdies Athena for two years… Played for Tophat North Athena for one year… Played for Concorde Fire Athena A/R3PL for seven years.
- Coach’s quote: “She is a player that will do her job and be consistent. She has a great personality and is a team player.”
- Fay’s quote on VSU: “Valdosta is a perfect fit from the campus to the girls on the team to Coach Heinz and Coach Foote.”
Leanne Bishop, 5-7, MF, Newnan/East Coweta
– Earned Coach’s Award in 2009… Named East Coweta’s team captain in 2011… Named AFC Lightning’s team captain… Played for Coweta Cannons in 197-2007… Played for AFC Lightning in 2008-11.
- Coach’s quote: “She is tall and works continuously. She never stops. Leanne is always involved and plays with high intensity.”
- “Bishop’s quote on VSU: I love the atmosphere at Valdosta State, and the soccer program just felt like home.”
Michelle Turner, 5-3, D/MF, Conyers/Heritage
– Named club team captain… Named second team All-Region in junior season… Played for Athens United in 2010… Played for GFC in 2009… Played for GSA in 2005-08.
- Coach’s quote: “She is small but scrappy. Michelle has good abilities with the ball at her feet.”
- Turner’s quote on VSU: “I fell in love with the campus. Once I met Coach Heinz on my visit, I knew it was the place for me.”
Shealy Kulp, 5-4, D/MF, Conyers/Heritage
– Earned Coach’s Award in sophomore season… Earned four varsity letters… Named to All-Region team in sophomore and junior seasons… Led club team to Atlanta Cup Championship in 2009… Led club team to Nike Cup Championship in 2009… Played for RYSA in 2002-07… Played for Coweta Cannons in 2001-08… Played for AFC Lightning in 2008-11.
- Coach’s quote: “Good all-around player and is very coachable. Kulp is a consistent player.”
- Kulp’s quote on VSU: “I choose Valdosta State because of its high academic standards and its tradition of athletic excellence.”
Arielle Sabina, 5-6, D, Lawrenceville/Georgia Perimeter
– Named high school team’s defensive player of the year… Named to All-County Team… Named to All-Region team at Georgia Perimeter… Named to All-Tournament Team at Georgia Perimeter… Led Georgia Perimeter to No. 3 ranking nationally… Played for GSA in 2008-09… Played for TYSA in 2004-08… Played for Georgia Perimeter College in 2009-2011.
- Coach’s quote: “She is strong and will be able to put extreme pressure on the opponents. Arielle will be a leader and potential starter. She has great knowledge of the game.”
- Sabina’s quote on VSU: “When I heard about Valdosta State having a soccer team, I was interested. But once I met Coach Heinz, I was hooked. She was enthusiastic and knew what she wanted to accomplish.”
Katie Butler, 5-4, MF, Douglasville/North Georgia College
– Named team’s Most Valuable Player at Chapel Hill High School… Named Douglas County Player of the Week in 2008… Named All-Conference in 2009… Played at North Georgia College in fall of 2010… Played for West Metro Freedom Red (Athena A) in 2004-09… Played for Douglas County Starline Flyers in 2000-04.
- Coach’s quote: “She is working to be an impact player. Katie could see time as an outside middle or left side for us.”
- Butler’s quote on VSU: “I chose Valdosta State because it offers excellent academics and the opportunity to play a leadership role on a competitive new women’s soccer team.”
Rachel Mikula, 5-3, MF, McDonough/Eagle’s Landing
– Earned the ELHS soccer Golden Eagle Award… Named ELHS soccer Athlete of the Year in 2009-10… Named to All-Region team… Named to All-County team… four year letterman in both soccer and cross country… Earned ELHS cross country Freshman Flash Award… Earned ELHS cross country Golden Eagle Award… Played for AFC Lightning in 2004-06… Played for Concorde Fire South in 2006-08.
- Coach’s quote: “She is already on campus and working to be an impact player. Rachel could get time as a forward or a middle.”
Lizzie Lohmar, 5-3, D, Lawrenceville/Collins Hill
– Earned a varsity letter in soccer in 2009 and 2010… Named to the Atlanta Fire United Elite Team, Region 3, ECNL… Played for Atlanta Fire United from U5 to U18… Played for Region 3 in 2008-09.
- Coach’s quote: “She is already on campus and will be an impact leader for the program. She brings leadership qualities and is a solid defensive player.”
- Lohmar’s quote on VSU: “I have always dreamed of playing soccer at the next level, and I feel truly honored to be able to be a part of the inaugural soccer team for Valdosta State University.”