UW Women's Soccer Team Signs Six Standout Prep Players

Feb. 15, 2001

SEATTLE - Six stellar high school student-athletes, including Canadian National Team member Clare Rustad, signed letters of intent to attend the University of Washington, head coach Lesle Gallimore announced on Thursday.

Rustad, a native of Saltspring Island, B.C., earned five caps for international appearances as a midfielder with Team Canada. The final recruit to officially commit to the Huskies, Rustad signed her letter after returning from Morocco following a pair of exhibition games with the Canadian nationals. Prior to joining the senior national team, Rustad played with the under-18 and U-20 national teams. She was named the 1999 athlete of the year at Gulf Island Secondary School.

'Clare is strong and can be a great ball-winner in the midfield,' Gallimore said. 'She is one of Canada's bright, young stars and it is our job to help her reach her goal of competing for Canada in the 2003 World Cup.'

The lone in-state signee is Nicole Martinez, the 2000 Gatorade state player of the year from Redmond High School. Martinez amassed 47 goals and 25 assists during her prep career.

'We felt she was the best senior in the state this year,' Gallimore remarked. 'Nicole has terrific speed and athletic ability. She is a versatile player that we intend to use initially as a defender.'

Another Northwest recruit is Portland, Ore. standout Cassie Giles from St. Mary's Academy. An all-league selection during her last three seasons, Giles led the team in scoring her senior year. She earned second-team all-state acclaim in 2000.

'Cassie is a smooth soccer player with a calming demeanor. She has great ability with the ball and tremendous vision,' said Gallimore. 'She can become a top Division I playmaker.'

A trio of players from California complete the Husky recruiting class, including Kelley Schweighart, Kelli Smith and Kim Taylor. Schweighart lettered four years at Torrey Pines High School and led the team to CIF championships in 1999 and 2000. A member of the San Diego Surf, Schweighart helped her club team to the 2000 U-17 national championship and received the Adidas Golden Boot award.

'Kelley has great technical and tactical speed. She works very hard during a match and is very goal dangerous, both from a scoring and assisting standpoint,' Gallimore said.

Smith, a product of Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, twice garnered first-team all-state and all-county honors. She helped Carrillo to a state runner-up effort during three of her four seasons.

'Kelli is a tough player with a tremendous work rate,' said Gallimore. 'She is skillful and is able to attack well out of the back. She is also is a very good central midfielder.'

Taylor, from Chaminade High School in Woodland Hills, was the league offensive MVP and a first-team All-CIF selection her senior season. She helped lead Chaminade to four Southern Section Division Championships, two in Division III and two in Division IV.

'Kim is an extremely dangerous forward that we will rely on heavily to pick up where Tami Bennett and Theresa Wagner left off with regards to accumulating points,' Gallimore explains. 'She is very strong and powerful, with loads of potential to be a great collegiate soccer player.'

The six signees seek to help fill the void left by the departure of six seniors, including Washington's all-time career scorer Tami Bennett (34 goals) and playmaker Theresa Wagner (26 assists).

The Huskies are coming off the finest season in their 10-year history, posting an 18-3 record in 2000. They won their first ever Pacific-10 Conference championship and received the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Washington advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time before falling 1-0 to eventual Final Four qualifier Portland.

'We really feel that what we lost in experience, we gained in talent,' said Gallimore. 'The players coming in are talented enough to come in and have an immediate impact next year and we needed that.'

Washington Women's Soccer Letter of Intent Signees

Cassie Giles
Midfielder, Portland, Ore. (St. Mary's Academy / Lake Oswego Sting)

Nicole Martinez
Defender/Midfielder, Woodinville, Wash. (Redmond High School / F.C. Elite)

Clare Rustad
Midfielder, Saltspring Island, British Columbia (Gulf Islands Secondary / Nanaimo Premeir)

Kelley Schweighart
Midfielder/Forward, Solana Beach, Calif. (Torrey Pines High School / San Diego Surf)

Kelli Smith
Defender/Midfielder, Santa Rosa, Calif. (Maria Carrillo High School / Pleasanton Rage)

Kim Taylor
Forward, Woodland Hills, Calif. (Chaminade High School / North Huntington Beach Magic)

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