Barrera signs seven to 2011 NLI class
GREELEY -- Northern Colorado soccer coach Tim Barrera officially announced today the signing of seven high school seniors to National Letters of Intent for the 2011 season.
Ambree Bellin, Marissa Cooper, Angie Csaszar, Juliana Grover, Katie Miller, Megan Speed and Maddie Yoswa all put pen to paper and will join the Bears this fall. All but one originally hail from Colorado, with Miller at first calling Southern California "home" before relocating to the Centennial State.
"We are all excited about this class," Barrera said. "I think this is a well-rounded group that can help the Bears right away. The things that really stand out about this class immediately are the overall speed, athleticism and versatility we are adding to our program. All of these players have great speed and can play multiple positions for us."
The seven new players will join a Northern Colorado program that returns eight starters from last year's team, which finished 10-6-3 overall and 3-2-2 in the Big Sky.
Those 10 wins are the most for Northern Colorado since making the jump to the NCAA Division I level, and the Bears qualified for the Big Sky Championship in 2010 for just the second time in school history before falling to Northern Arizona in the semifinals.
Bellin (Fort Collins) played her high school soccer at Fossil Ridge High School, alongside current Bear Laura Wayland. She also played club soccer with fellow incoming freshman Megan Speed. She also was a member of the Colorado Olympic Development Program team, coached by Barerra. During her senior year, she was named to the All-Front Range Conference Second Team.
Cooper (Centennial) was team captain for Eaglecrest High School and helped lead her club team to a Surf Cup Championship as well as the Las Vegas College Showcase Championship. She played her club soccer with fellow recruit Katie Miller. She was also named to the All-Centennial Conference First Team as a senior.
Csaszar (Littleton) was a two-sport star at Heritage High School, winning the state title in the 400-meter relay to go along with her successes on the pitch. She also played club soccer for Colorado Storm '93 Royal and Colorado United White.
Grover (Littleton) helped lead the Chatfield High Chargers to the 2010 Colorado State Championship by scoring the game-winner in the finals. She is also a nine-time state qualifier and holder of three school records in track and field.
Although originally from San Diego, Miller player her high school soccer at Niwot High. She was also a member of the Colorado ODP team that won a National Championship in 2010.
Speed (Fort Collins) was a member of a Fort Collins High squad and played alongside Bellin in club soccer. She was also a member of the 2010 Colorado ODP squad, coached by Barrera, which won a National Championship. As a senior, she was named to the All-Front Range Conference First Team.
Yoswa (Arvada) was a part of a Grandview High team that won a state championship during her freshman campaign. She comes to the Bears after becoming one of the top-scoring attacking midfielders in the state, while earning a spot on the 5A All-Colorado Team as a senior. She also played her club soccer with fellow recruit Juliana Grover.
Below is Barrera's take on each of his new recruits.
BARRERA ON BELLIN
"Ambree is an athletic defender who can play anywhere across the back line. She is vocal and reads the game well and versatile enough to play inside or outside in the back or in the midfield."
BARRERA ON COOPER
"Marissa is a very athletic goalkeeper. She is a very good shot-stopper with a strong voice and presence. Marissa is strong and fast off her line and a solid leader in the back."
BARRERA ON CSASZAR
"Angie can play just about anywhere on the field. We will probably play her somewhere in the midfield with her best position as probably a defensive midfielder. She can cover a lot of ground with her speed and is a true two-footed player. I have seen her play forward, outside back and all of the midfield positions."
BARRERA ON GROVER
"Juliana is an athletic and strong forward with good size who can fly and really cause problems for opposing back lines. She has a high work rate and is one of the fastest players in Colorado."
BARRERA ON MILLER
"Katie is very athletic, a great tackler and is very good in the air. We plan on playing Katie in the center of the midfield but she can play anywhere. Katie is a very dynamic player, originally from San Diego."
BARRERA ON SPEED
"Megan is a tall physical defender who is great in the air. She can play either as a centerback or as an outside back. She is another in the long line of Fort Collins players that have joined the Bears."
BARRERA ON YOSWA
"Maddie has played all over the field in her career. She played high school soccer with Brittany Dunn and Alexsys Tamayo so I have been watching Maddie since she was a freshman. She was a forward back then and has played outside back for her Rush club team. This year she was one of the leading scorers in the state as an attacking midfielder. Maddie is a very technical player who can score a lot of goals."