BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Soccer has announced its 2017 signing class, composed of three forwards and three defenders, as announced by Head Coach Jason Neidell and assistant coaches Dustin Downey and Will Beddingfield on Monday afternoon.
The class features a pair of local signees in Brooke Tackett (Nicholasville, Ky.) and Tally Bishop (Nashville, Tenn.), two commitments from the state of Michigan in Paige Goodman (Lake Orion) and Ashley Leonard (Troy) and a pair of signees that expand the Lady Toppers’ reach in the United States in Victoria Mayo (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Avery Jacobsen (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Neidell on WKU’s 2017 signing class: “We are extremely excited about this recruiting class. While we signed some terrific defenders, the recruiting focus for this class was definitely on improving our attacking flair. Even the defenders in this group offer something significant on the attacking side of the ball. In addition to being terrific soccer players, all of these young ladies are excellent students and first-class individuals. Most importantly, this group is excited, passionate, and eager to join the Lady Topper soccer family and be a part of our journey!”
WKU will seek an immediate impact from their signing class as the Lady Toppers will replace six seniors from their 2016 squad, all of whom were regular starters. The Lady Toppers finished the 2016 season with a 12-6-1 record, the Lady Toppers’ most victories since also notching 12 during the 2012 campaign. WKU earned a third-place finish in the conference, the team’s best since joining C-USA prior to the 2014 season, and Neidell was named the C-USA Coach of the Year following the team’s strong year.
Tally Bishop – Forward, 5’2”, Nashville, Tenn.
A member of Tennessee’s Olympic Development Program team in 2014 and 2015, Bishop brings valuable experience to the Lady Toppers from both her high school and club careers. In addition to her ODP experience, Bishop was an invitee for the 2014 U.S. Soccer Training Center experience at the club level as a member of the Tennessee Soccer Club.
In high school, the forward starred for Father Ryan High School and lettered in soccer in each of her four years. Bishop finished her storied career with 82 goals for the Irish and tallied 29 during her senior season, leading Father Ryan to the state championship in Tennessee. A constant offensive threat with an eye for the goal, Bishop never scored fewer than 17 goals in a single season in her high school career.
Bishop will be the lone representative from the state of Tennessee on the Lady Toppers’ 2017 roster and will be the first player from Tennessee to feature for WKU since 2013.
Neidell on Bishop: “Tally is a quick and fiercely competitive attacking player who always seems to find a way to put her mark on the game. She brings great vision to the game with a very dangerous combination of dribbling and passing skills, which allow her to attack one-on-one on the dribble or bait defenders and pass. She is effective as both a goal scorer and playmaker.”
Paige Goodman – Forward, 5’6”, Lake Orion, Mich.
Goodman is set to bring extensive experience from the ODP level as she joins the Lady Toppers, having been involved in the program since 2011. A member of the Michigan ODP team from 2011-16, Goodman served as the captain of the squad in 2015-16 and has also been a member of the ODP Regional team (2011-15) and was invited to the ODP National Training Camp in 2014-15.
With her club, Nationals Union ’99 Black, Goodman helped to lead her side to both the State Cup championship in 2016 and the Disney Soccer Showcase Tournament championship in 2017.
A three-year starter at Lake Orion High School, Goodman led the Dragons in scoring during both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, serving as a captain during her final season in 2016; the forward has earned All-District and All-Conference selections for her efforts. In addition to soccer, Goodman also earned a letter in track and field as a freshman.
Goodman will join fellow freshman Ashley Leonard as signees from Michigan on WKU’s 2017 roster.
Neidell on Goodman: “Paige is a passionate attacking player who can change a game. She has good speed and strength and, most importantly, strikes a great ball from distance with the ability to bend and texture her finishing too. In addition to her attacking presence within the flow of the game, I think Paige can become a great free kick specialist and really help improve that part of our game.”
Avery Jacobsen – Defender, 5’7”, Las Vegas, Nev.
A former U.S. Club soccer national champion, Jacobsen brings nearly five years of club experience to the Lady Toppers and has been a mainstay at the ODP level since 2012.
Jacobsen has seen tremendous club success beginning with 2013 titles at the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup College Showcase Tournament and the Surf Cup Thanksgiving Tournament. From there, Jacobsen continued to excel with a Nevada State Cup championship and the Far West Regional League championship in 2014.
Jacobsen shined on the national stage, reaching the ECNL National Championships with Las Vegas Premier ECNL in Richmond, Va., in 2015 before her club career culminated in the ultimate prize, the 2016 U.S. Club soccer national championship with the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club.
A 2017 nominee for both the Gatorade Player of the Year and the Nevada Preps Player of the Year, Jacobsen has served as a team captain for Palo Verde High School since 2015, earning back-to-back defensive MVP awards and a nod on the Nevada Preps Best of Nevada All-State First Team.
Jacobsen will be the first player ever from the state of Nevada to suit up for the Lady Toppers.
Neidell on Jacobsen: “Avery is a born leader. She has a commanding defensive presence and a very good grasp on individual and team defending. On the attacking side, Avery is a composed and skilled player who serves a great ball with precision out of the back. Avery prides herself on being the start to her team’s attack.”
Ashley Leonard – Forward, 5’5”, Troy, Mich.
A four-year high school starter and star club player, Leonard will look to bring a strong attacking presence for the Lady Toppers in 2017. At the club level, Leonard helped her squad to the Disney Soccer Showcase title in both 2015 and 2017 and the State Cup championship in Michigan in 2016 as a strong player up front. Leonard’s club, Nationals Union ’99 Black, is currently ranked No. 1 in both the state of Michigan and Region II and is No. 15 in the nation.
A major offensive threat for Troy Athens High School, Leonard led the Red Hawks to three consecutive district championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as a regional championship in the 2015 season. Leonard led her team in both goals and assists in her final two seasons, tallying 43 goals and 15 helpers over that time frame, and was ranked the No. 8 player to watch in Michigan by the State Champs Network in 2016.
Leonard and fellow freshman and club teammate Paige Goodman will join junior Hannah Cady as representatives from Michigan on the 2017 roster.
Neidell on Leonard: “Ashley is a creative and technical player with a great nose for the goal. She is deceptive in and around the box, has a very quick release on her shot, and she can score with both feet. She also does a great job of bringing others into the game, making it difficult to key on her. She is very good with her back to goal, but also makes well-timed runs to get behind lines.”
Victoria Mayo – Defender, 5’8”, Fort Myers, Fla.
Not only does Mayo bring high school and club level experience to the Lady Toppers, she has also been a member of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) side Palm City FC since 2015. Mayo’s stint with the Cape Coral Cyclones included titles in the Disney Soccer Showcase (2014), the Disney Showcase Qualifier (2015 and 2016), a bracket championship in the CASL Showcase (2015) and participation in the National Premier League East.
Mayo has been recognized as a player to watch by Top Drawer Soccer and was a participant in the Florida ODP training centers in 2013 and 2014.
At South Fort Myers High School, Mayo has led the Wolfpack as a four-year starter and has served as a team captain. Mayo will join fellow Floridians Nicole Roseland and Kaylyn Bryant on WKU’s 2017 roster.
Neidell on Mayo: “Victoria is the prototype for the kind of player that we want playing a wide position in our system. She has made huge strides this year in her defending and defensive tenacity, but it’s on the attacking side where she really shines. She loves attacking on the dribble and definitely brings some attacking savviness to the game.”
Brooke Tackett – Defender, 5’9”, Nicholasville, Ky.
A member of Lexington FC, Tackett brings defensive tenacity for a Lady Topper side looking to replace three back line players. With Lexington FC, Tackett reached the 2014 state finals as well as the finals of the 2015 Disney Soccer Showcase.
In high school at Lexington Christian Academy, Tackett was named First Team All-Region during each of her four seasons and earned an All-State honorable mention nod in 2015. Not only was she a force on the field, Tackett was also recognized in each of her four seasons as an Academic All-State team member and served as a captain for the Eagles during her senior season.
The lone Kentucky native in the 2017 signing class, Tackett will join Taylor Fry, Sarah Gorham and Keely Vincent as players from the Bluegrass State for the Lady Toppers.
Neidell on Tackett: “Brooke is a player who has just touched the surface of her ability. She is a solid one-on-one defender, good in the air and has tremendous speed for her size. She will be striving to improve her technical and tactical speed, but I believe she has the drive and motivation to adapt and learn quickly in our environment.”
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