BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Head Coach Jason Neidell has added four more early signees to
the WKU Soccer roster in addition to the seven previously announced players last
week. Ashley Kobylinski (Mesa, Ariz.), Afton Schraml (Colorado Springs, Colo.),
Emily Speidel (Carmel, Ind.) and Sydney Ernst (St. Louis, Mo.) are set to head for
The Hill this fall, with all four set for roles in the defensive half of the field.
Speidel and Ernst are both defenders, while Kobylinski and Schraml will play between
the posts for the Lady Toppers.
WKU will seek an immediate impact from its newest freshmen as the Lady Toppers seek
to replace three graduating seniors, all of whom drew starts in nearly all of WKU’s
matches during the 2018 season. The Lady Toppers are coming off a 5-8-4 campaign and
finished the season strong, earning at least one point in five of the last six
matches against C-USA foes.
Ashley Kobylinski – Goalkeeper, 6’1″, Mesa, Ariz.
A standout goalkeeper at both the club and high school level, Kobylinski brings a
wealth of experience to The Hill. She has spent time with Arizona’s ODP team in both
2017 and 2018, including captaining the squad during a trip to Paris to represent
the United States. Her club squad, AZ Arsenal, has been ranked first in Arizona,
second regionally and fourth nationally during her time with the team.
Kobylinski earned the Overachiever Award with AZ Arsenal for three straight seasons
from 2016-18 and claimed the Arizona Youth Soccer Association State Championship in
both 2017 and 2018. AZ Arsenal also reached the Region IV final in 2018 and claimed
second place in the USYSA National League. Kobylinski has been a key piece in three
other championships for AZ Arsenal, including the 2017 Surf Cup, the 2017 FWRL
Desert Premier League and 2018 Jefferson Cup.
In high school, Kobylinski played three years at Gilbert High School under Head
Coach Ben Holzer and was also a four-year letterwinner in track and field. Named the
Team MVP as a freshman, Kobylinski has also been named the AZ Central Academic
All-Star of the Week in recognition for her performance both on the field and in the
Neidell on Kobylinski: “Ashley is a very spirited and intelligent young lady, as
well as an athletically gifted goalkeeper with great range.”
Afton Schraml – Goalkeeper, 5’11”, Colorado Springs, Colo.
WKU’s second goalkeeper in its early signing class, Schraml brings championship
experience from her time spent with the Pride FC Predators at the club level.
Beginning with the Presidents Day Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2015, Schraml
helped to lead the squad to titles at the Rush Denver Cup (2015) and the U15/U16
Colorado Youth Soccer Association Super League (2015 and 2016). In addition to the
championships, Schraml has also finished as the runner-up in the Colorado State Cup
(2015 and 2016) and the Surf Cup in 2018.
As a three-year starter under Head Coach Gary Douglass at Liberty High School,
Schraml was named Second Team All-City in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and claimed the honor
of being named to the Academic All-State First Team in 2018-19. Schraml was also a
member of the Lancers team that received the Academic Team Championship award in
Neidell on Schraml: “Afton is a talented goalkeeper who possesses a terrific
combination of athleticism and technical ability.”
Emily Speidel – Defender, 5’8″, Carmel, Ind.
Hailing from the same high school as rising Lady Topper senior Chandler Backes,
Speidel has competed at a high level for both her club and high school programs
throughout her career. Beginning at Carmel United SC where she was a member of two
state championship teams, Speidel then moved on to FC Pride, where she has won an
additional two state championships, the US Club National Championship in 2014 and a
USYS National League divisional championship in 2017.
FC Pride also reached the Youth National Championship semifinals in 2016 and 2017,
and Speidel has served as a team captain for the squad during the 2017-18 and
A four-year letterwinner and two-year starter at Carmel High School under Head Coach
Frank Dixon, Speidel has twice been honored as an Indiana Soccer Coaches’
Association All-State selection, earning Second Team honors in 2017 before following
up with First Team accolades in 2018. After captaining the Greyhounds to the 2018
Indiana 3A state championship, Speidel was selected to the 2018 High School
All-American Game representing the West Team. In addition, she was selected to the
United Soccer Coaches’ All-Central Region Team and received the prestigious honor of
landing a spot on the organization’s All-American Team.
Speidel closed her high school career with 13 goals and 14 assists in 75 matches
played for Carmel.
Neidell on Speidel: “Emily is one of the top players coming out of Indiana this year
and brings a wealth of experience to our back line.”
Sydney Ernst – Defender, 5’6″, St. Louis, Mo.
The final member of WKU’s early signing period, Ernst has been a member of the St.
Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club since 2014 and has reached the ECNL national
playoffs in each of the last four seasons. Ernst has also been named to the Player
Development Program, in which she competed in 2014-15, and to the US Soccer Training
Program in 2015-16.
In high school, Ernst has been a member of the squad at St. Joseph’s Academy, a
nationally-ranked high school program, and has excelled in the classroom as well as
on the field, being named to St. Joseph’s Academy honor roll every year since 2015.
Neidell on Ernst: “Sydney is a fast and athletic defender who is great in the air
and loves to compete.”