FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – On the heels of a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, Head Coach Colby Hale has announced the addition of nine players who will join the program this fall. The nine newcomers will join 22 veterans from the 2014 Razorback team that went 9-7-6 overall, 5-3-1 at home and ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference in average home attendance (1,359).
The Razorbacks welcome Madeline Barnes (Frisco, Texas/Frisco HS/FC Dallas), Ellie Breden (Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville HS/Arkansas Comets), Reece Christopherson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West HS/Sporting Blue Valley), Brianna Curtis (Evergreen, Colo./Evergreen HS/Colorado Rush), Carly Hoke (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest HS/FC United), Elizabeth Poblete (Scottsdale, Ariz./Xavier College Prep/Sereno), Katie Taylor (Tupelo, Miss./Tupelo HS/Alabama FC), Rachel VanFossen (Broken Arrow, Okla./Tulsa Union HS/TSC Hurricane) and Kellee Willer (Fort Collins, Colo./Fossil Ridge HS/Fort Collins Arsenal).
“This class has a little bit of everything,” said Hale. “I know these players are chomping at the bit to step in and compete for time right away. They play crucial roles for some of the top club and high school teams in the country. We want to keep getting more athletic and technical and I think we accomplished that with this class. Our current players have worked extremely hard to create a culture of winning and the nine student-athletes we are signing today will only enhance that. We have talked quite a bit this spring about our evolution as a program and every player adds some elite qualities and I expect this class will only enhance our direction and culture.”
The Razorbacks finished the 2014 season with a 9-7-6 mark, giving the program its first back-to-back winning season since the 2008, 2009 seasons. Head Coach Colby Hale and his Arkansas squad were also the No. 9 seed in the conference tournament and earned the program’s second consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament (second in school history). After picking up a 3-2 overtime victory at Oklahoma in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the Razorbacks fell at No. 3 Stanford, 1-0, in the Round of 32 to end the season.
The 2014 campaign was a great one for the Razorbacks, not only on the field, but also in the stands, as a program record 12,231 fans came out to support the women’s soccer team at Razorback Field in 2014. Last season’s total turnout and average game crowd (1,359) continues a rise in attendance that dates back to the 2010 season.
There were many attendance records broken at Razorback Field during the 2014 season:
– In just the second game of the season, the program set a new single-game attendance record, as 2,268 fans witnessed a 2-1 win over Oklahoma State.
– Over 1,000 fans were in attendance in eight of the nine games at Razorback Field. The lone exception came on Sept. 12 vs. Rice, where 900 people were in the stands.
– Four of last season’s crowds (Utah State, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Texas A&M) cracked the top 10 for single-game attendance in Razorback Field history.
– Seven of last season’s crowds (Utah State, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Missouri State, Auburn, Florida) broke into the top 15 for single-game attendance in Razorback Field history.
“Recruiting is such an important part of every college program,” Hale said. “We feel this class has a chance to be special. First I want to thank Ben Strawbridge and Mario Rincon for their instrumental work on assembling this class. There are so many people that have aided in the process. A few I want to thank publically are Tamesha Greenlee, Eric Wood, Dr. Henry, Rob Scott and Dr. Charles Small. We believe wholeheartedly in this University and its athletics department. To see these classes come together is pretty special”
For more information on Arkansas soccer, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.
2015 @RazorbackSoccer Recruiting Class
|Madeline Barnes||Forward||5-7||Frisco, Texas||Frisco HS||FC Dallas|
|Ellie Breden||Defender||5-9||Fayetteville, Ark.||Fayetteville HS||Arkansas Comets|
|Reece Christopherson||Midfielder||5-3||Overland Park, Kan.||Blue Valley West HS||Sporting Blue Valley|
|Brianna Curtis||Forward||5-7||Evergreen, Colo.||Evergreen HS||Colorado Rush|
|Carly Hoke||Defender/Midfielder||5-6||Lake Forest, Ill.||Lake Forest HS||FC United|
|Elizabeth Poblete||Defender||6-0||Scottsdale, Ariz.||Xavier College Prep||Sereno|
|Katie Taylor||Defender/Midfielder||5-9||Tupelo, Miss.||Tupelo HS||Alabama FC|
|Rachel VanFossen||Defender/Forward||5-10||Broken Arrow, Okla.||Tulsa Union HS||TSC Hurricane|
|Kellee Willer||Midfielder||6-0||Fort Collins, Colo.||Fossil Ridge HS||Fort Collins Arsenal|
Parents: John and Wendy Barnes
Intended Major: Exercise Science
TopDrawerSoccer.com Rankings: 4-Star Recruit … No. 138 ranked player on the IMG Academy Top 150 … No. 11 ranked player in the Texas region … No. 47 ranked forward in the country
High School Honors: 2012 Newcomer of the Year, 2012 Plano Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team … 2013 and 2014 First Team All-District
Club Honors: 2012 San Antonio ECNL All-Tournament Team … Top Drawer Top 150
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: I love to cook and bake
Favorite Sports Movie: She’s The Man
Why Arkansas? My family lives in the area, the campus is beautiful and the soccer program is on the rise.
What They Are Saying About Barnes:
“Maddie has the power and athleticism to play right away in the SEC. She can play up front or anywhere on the flanks.”
– Chris Ring, Head Coach, FC Dallas
Parents: Mark and Callie Breden
Intended Major: Business
High School Honors: Two-time All-State…NWA All-Star Team…Arkansas Preps First Team…Arkansas Preps Sophomore Team
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: I lived in Argentina for five years
Favorite Sports Movie: Bend it Like Beckham and Remember the Titans
Why Arkansas? The coaches are awesome. There are fantastic facilities and because it’s home to me. I’ve always been a Razorback.
What They Are Saying About Breden:
“Ellie is a strong, fast and powerful defender. She’s a great tackler who has a bit of a nasty side to her game. She plays with great confidence & the timing of her aerial game is second to none. She wins just about every header or challenge in the air with authority. One of her main strong points is her ability to release & get up the flank through an overlapping run or joining the attack as an outside back. As a central defender, she’s very good at communicating & keeping her back line organized. While on the ball, she is able to find teammates and is usually successful with the majority of her passes building out of the back. Ellie also is a weapon on corners, with her quality runs into the box and finishing them off with deadly headers on target.”
– Nelson Medina, Head Coach, Arkansas Comets
Parents: Jeffrey and Renee Christopherson
Intended Major: Biology
TopDrawerSoccer.com Rankings: 4-Star Recruit … No. 8 ranked player in the Heartland region
High School Honors: All-State…All-Conference…All-Region
Club Honors: ODP Region II Team 2012, All Event Team San Antonio 2012
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: I went on mission trip to Honduras
Favorite Sports Movie: She’s the Man
Why Arkansas? I love the coaches, it’s close to home, and my family can come watch.
What The Are Saying About Christopherson:
“Reece is a very clean technical midfielder with fantastic vision. With her great work ethic and her tremendous desire on the field, she will be a threat to all opponents.
– Doug McClagan, Head Coach, Sporting Blue Valley
Parents: Robert and Christina Curtis
Intended Major: Kinesiology with a Heath Science minor
High School Honors: First team All-Conference…All-State
Club Honors: National Champion
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: I love squirrels, infomercials, rap and 80’s music
Favorite Sports Movie: Happy Gilmore
Why Arkansas? Arkansas reminds me of home; it was the only school that really impacted me. I loved the campus and the staff and how devoted the school is to the student-athlete, along with all the opportunities it will allow out of college.
What They Are Saying About Curtis:
“Bri is a wonderful young lady, an outstanding teammate and an incredibly hard working player. She is a forward who with great tenacity makes the lives of her opponents difficult and with her activity makes the lives of her teammates easier. Bri’s positive attitude will have a great impact on Arkansas soccer.”
– Erik Bushey, Head Coach, Colorado Rush
Parents: Jon and Jody Hoke
Intended Major: Communications
High School Honors: 2014 State Champion…All Regional…All Sectional
Club Honors: ODP State Team, Regional Team, Boca Interregional Invitee
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: I have a twin
Favorite Sports Movie: Remember the Titans
Why Arkansas? Upon my arrival on campus, I fell in love with more than just the prospect of competing athletically. Immediately, it felt like home – a comfortable, confidence building place to work and achieve in the most developmental years of my life. From talking to academic advisors about the opportunities present at Arkansas, I feel that this university can push me to reach my full potential as a student, athlete and young woman.
What They Are Saying About Hoke:
“Carly is a workhorse who puts everything she has into every play. Her passion and dedication to soccer and her teammates make her a special player.”
– Craig Snower, Head Coach, FC United
Parents: Patrick and Amy Poblete
Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering
TopDrawerSoccer.com Rankings: 4-Star Recruit
High School Honors: Three-year letterwinner (didn’t playsenior year)…2012 Arizona State Champions…2013-2014 Defensive MVP…Mu Alpha Theta…National Honor Society…Exceptional Accelerated Science Program Student Award…Scholar Athlete Activity Award
Club Honors: 2013 U16 ENCL National Championship IMG Academy Top 150 Player, TopDrawerSoccer.com 4 star rating
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: When I’m not playing soccer, I spend my time sewing and baking
Favorite Sports Movie: Remember the Titans
Why Arkansas? Arkansas is the epitome of what I have always dreamed of my college experience being. It’s everything I envisioned as a little girl. I can push myself academically, flourish socially and improve greatly in athletics.
What They Are Saying About Poblete:
“Elizabeth has tremendous technical and tactical ability. She has consistently competed and performed at the highest levels, with her continued work ethic and pursuit of excellence she will be a top addition to the Razorbacks growing reputation.”
– Paul Taylor, Head Coach, Sereno
Parents: Scott Taylor and Heather Redwood
Intended Major: Kinesiology
TopDrawerSoccer.com Rankings: 4-Star Recruit
High School Honors: Offensive Player of the Year, Will to Win Award, All-Area Team, Team Captain, Highest GPA, Rotary Scholar, Math Award, ACT Award, Spanish Award
One Thing That No One Really Knows About You: My voice is a mix between Fergie and Jesus.
Favorite Sports Movie: Hoosiers
Why Arkansas? Arkansas’ campus has a really homey feel. I love the coaches, the other recruits and the players already on the team. I like how my team grinds to the end. I think the program is going amazing places with the right player mentality and work ethic. It was just an awesome fit.
What They Are Saying About Taylor:
“Katie has been a wonderful player during her time at BUSA the past 5 seasons. She personifies all that is good about coaching youth players who play at a high level within the club game. Katie is not only a really good player, she is also a great kid with a great attitude both on and off the field. Her dedication to drive 2.5 hours one way to practice 2-3 times per week for 5 years speaks volumes of her commitment and integrity to improve as a player. We will miss Katie at BUSA next fall but know that Arkansas gets a really good player and an even better young lady!”
– Andrew Bower, Head Coach, Birmingham United
Parents: Vince and Jane VanFossen
Intended Major: Kinesiology
High School Honors: All-Conference selection (2011-2014)
Club Honors: ECNL National Champion 2013…State Champions 2013 with PLW team
One Thing That No One Really Knows About You: My aunt is the governor of Oklahoma
Favorite Sports Movie: Kicking and Screaming
Why Arkansas? I chose Arkansas because when I visited I felt like I was at home. The atmosphere is outrageous and it makes me feel like I belong here.
What They Are Saying About VanFossen:
“Rachel is a very athletic player that can make things happen with speed and economy.”
– Jesse Williams, Head Coach, TSC Hurricane
Parents: Randy and Ranae Willer
Intended Major: Undecided
Club Honors: 2014 State Cup MVP and captain
One Thing That No One Really Knows About Me: I grew up one a farm with 1 horse, 2 goats, 3 cats and 3 dogs
Favorite Sports Movie: Miracle
Why Arkansas? When I came for my unofficial visit, I was amazed by how pretty and awesome the campus was. I just fell in love. The girls and the coaches were all so awesome, so I knew I’d fit right in.
What They Are Saying About Willer:
“Kel is a physically powerful player who has the ability to dominate in the middle of the field. She not only has the ability to shut down opposing players on the defensive side of the ball, but she also does well going forward with the ball at her feet.”
– Tracy Tate, Head Coach, Fort Collins Arsena