HOUSTON – The University of Houston Soccer team and Head Coach Diego Bocanegra are happy to announce the addition of 10 players for the 2018 season. Natalie Anderson, Emma Clarke, Sydni Dusek, Cassidy Formanek, Morgan Goode, Koral Hughes, Kayla Izaguirre, Blake Johnson, Reid Morrison, and Miranda Urbizu have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Houston Soccer program.
“We are very excited to announce 10 tremendous additions to our Cougar family,” said Bocanegra. “As a group they will increase our team speed, technical ability, athleticism, soccer IQ and overall competitiveness on the field. More importantly, each of these student athletes understands the culture of the program and they are ready to live up to the standards of #HTownHustle!”
Anderson is a forward and three-year letter winner out of Cedar Creek, Texas. She attended Cedar Creek High School where she earned First Team All-Region, First Team All-District, Honorable Mention All-Region, and Academic All-District honors. Anderson has spent time on the Texas ODP team, as well as the Nike ID2 Camps. Outside of soccer, Anderson earned the President’s Academic Excellence Award and was named to the honor roll several times. She has also spent time volunteering for the Central Texas Food Bank and Coats for Kids.
“Natalie is a smart and versatile midfielder/forward,” said Bocanegra. “Her soccer savvy and ability to combine with her teammates in the final third is incredible. She will add a different component to our attack.”
Clarke comes to Houston by way of Christchurch, New Zealand. The defender has several years of international playing experience, earning her first cap against Papua New Guinea at the age of 17. Clarke played on the U20 World Cup Qualifying New Zealand team, as well as the New Zealand OFC U19 squad. Clarke was named the best defender for Canterbury in 2016 and helped lead St. Margaret’s College to a 13-1 overall record, including a regional championship.
“Emma is an accomplished defender with youth international experience,” said Bocanegra. “She has the rare combination of total athleticism, deft touch and great understanding of the game. We expect her to make an immediate impact. Her presence on the back line will give us multiple options of how we can line up tactically. She will help to anchor the back line defensively as well as allowing us to attack more through our defenders”
Dusek comes from Katy, Texas, where she is a midfielder and three-year letter winner at Katy ISD. Dusek is a two-time First Team All-District honoree, two-time Academic All-District selection, Honorable Mention All-Region pick, 2017 Offensive MVP and two-time team captain. Outside of soccer, Dusek is a member of the National Art Society, Syrian Memory Project, and Hurricane Harvey Clean Relief efforts.
“Sydni is a player that is just starting to realize her potential,” said Bocanegra. “She shows great finesse in the attack and has greatly improved her ability to win the ball on defense. As a two-way player, she will have the ability to play in multiple roles within our midfield.”
Formanek arrives to Houston from Denver where she was a three-year starter at defender at Evergreen High School. She was a First Team All-Conference selection, First Team All-State Selection, and a two-time Second Team All-State selection. Formanek earned Phoenix ODP All-Tournament Team accolades this past season as well as becoming a North American Cup Champion after playing with the her club team, Colorado Rush ECNL.
“Cassidy is a tough, hard nosed competitor that will help solidify our defense,” said Bocanegra. “She reads the game well, tackles hard and has the ability to organize the entire back line. She is calm, skillful and understands angles of support, which will allow us to build out of the back.”
Goode is a defender from Katy, Texas, where she was a three-year letter winner at Seven Lakes High School. Goode closed out a decorated career, earning First Team All-District, Academic All-District and I-10 Shootout All-Tournament accolades. Her team was crowned district champions in 2016. Outside of Seven Lakes High School, she has also spent time playing with the Albion Hurricanes ECNL. Academically, Goode is a member of the National Honor Society, Best Buddies, Interact Club and the Spanish Club.
“Goode is a converted attacker who is now playing outside back,” said Bocanegra. “She is comfortable going forward and will add depth and an attacking element to our defenders.”
Hughes is a native of Austin, Texas, and three-year letter winner at Anderson High School as goalkeeper. Hughes was a First Team All-District selection (2016) and Second Team All-District (2015), having also spent time playing for the Dallas Sting ECNL, Sting Austin and the Lonestar Soccer Club. Outside of soccer, Hughes is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Leadership Council. She is also active in the Austin Community, volunteering at the Foster Dogs for American Brittany Rescue, Foster Angels of Texas and the Congenital Heart Walk.
“We are excited to add a goalkeeper of Koral’s quality,” said Associate Head Coach Blair Quinn. “She is a physical goalkeeper with great size. One of the things we love most is how passionate she is about goalkeeping and how hard she trains to improve. The level of competition for playing time at the goalkeeper position will increase dramatically upon her arrival.”
Izaguirre comes to Houston from Pearland, Texas, where she is a three-year letter winner at Pearland High School. Izaguirre notched 35 goals and 20 assists in three seasons at Pearland. She is a three-time First Team All-District honoree, I-10 Shootout All-Tournament honoree, Newcomer of the Year, Varsity Most Valuable Player, and Team Captain. Outside of soccer, Izaguirre is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, to go along with her participation in the Colon Cancer Run, Houston Food Bank, and Harvey Relief efforts.
“Kayla is a crafty, technical midfielder forward,” said Bocanegra. “She is a hardworking, selfless player that will provide depth in multiple attacking positions.”
Johnson is a forward who comes to Houston from Jacksonville, Fla., where she was a two-year starter at Bishop Kenny High School and forward for the Jacksonville Armada FC. Johnson is the recipient of the Golden Boot award and Most Valuable Player accolades, holding the record for most goals scored at IMG Academy. She was selected for the Jacksonville Olympic Development Program (ODP) as well as a member of the United Soccer Alliance U-18/19 team.
“Blake is a proven goal scorer with tons of pace,” said Bocanegra. “She has the ability to get in behind the defense, provide service, and get on the end of crosses. She is a player that will help us stretch the game and provide another option to our attacking group.”
Morrison is a defender from Dana Point, Calif. where she was a three-year letter winner at Unified School District high school. She has earned various accolades that include: two-time First Team All-League, 2014 Athlete of the Year, two-time leading scorer on her team and 2014 President’s Cup National Championship. Morrison has spent time playing for the West Coast ECNL and West Coast Development Academy team. Outside of soccer, Morrison also played volleyball, and was awarded for Academic Excellence, Scholar-Athlete and Student of the Month.
“Reid might be the most versatile player in this signing class,” said Bocanegra. “Although she mainly plays as a center back/holding midfielder, she has spent lots of time as a forward when her team needs a goal. She strikes the ball as well as any player at this level and I could see her filling multiple roles.”
Urbizu is a forward from San Marcos, Texas, and a three-year letter winner at San Marcos High School. She is a two-time First Team All-District, Second Team All-District, First Team All-Region, Second Team All-Region, and District Most Valuable Player. In three years at forward she tallied 106 goals and 62 assists. A multi-sport athlete, Urbizu also competed in basketball, track & field, power lifting and cross country. She was a member of the National Honor Society, Leo Club and Student Council to go along with volunteer work at her local food bank.
“Miranda is an explosive and relentless forward/winger,” said Bocanegra. “In addition to scoring goals, she has the ability to constantly put defenders under pressure. This pressure often leads to turnovers in the attacking third and in turn leads to more goals. Her passion for the game and work ethic will be a huge asset to our attacking group.”
Houston will open its six-match spring schedule on March 3 at the Carl Lewis Complex when it takes on Houston Baptist and UTSA.
The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 athletic season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball home games. To purchase a Shasta Pass, click HERE. Fans that purchase a Shasta Pass will enter the game on a VIP List at the entrance to each sport facility. Please bring a Photo ID.
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