Women's Soccer Signs Strong 2003 Recruiting Class

Feb. 19, 2003

BERKELEY- - The California women's soccer team has signed eight talented athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Golden Bears beginning with the 2003 season, head coach Kevin Boyd announced Wednesday.

'This is a very talented recruiting class that will be helpful in replacing the holes left by our graduating seniors,' said Boyd. 'Four of these girls have current or past national pool experience and five are currently on the regional team.'

The positional breakdown of the incoming freshman are as follows: goalkeeper: Anna Key, defenders: Nadia Al-Lami and Erin Dearaujo, midfielders: Emily Ward, Bri Wiles and Jennifer Wendell and forwards: Alivia Mazura and Katie Ratican.

In 2002, Cal finished the season with a 12-8-1 record and earned its fifth-straight NCAA tournament bid.

GOALKEEPER

Anna Key, from Oakland, is an athletic goalkeeper expected to challenge for the starting spot immediately. A student at Bishop O'Dowd High School, she has competed on the Under 14 though Under-19 National Teams and was on the regional team from 1998-2001. Key was also a USYSA All-American team member in 2000-01.

'I believe that Anna's selection to the national teams is a true indicator of her talent, ' said Boyd. 'She has great potential to be successful at the collegiate level.'

DEFENDERS

Nadia Al-Lami and Erin Dearaujo are the defenders headlining this year's class. Al-Lami, from Santa Cruz's Harbor High School, is a four-year regional team member and two-year national team member. She also participated in the adidas ESP Camp.

'Nadia is an outstanding defender with the ability to also contribute to the attack,' said Boyd. 'Her years of experience with both regional and national teams should allow her to contribute immediately.'

Dearaujo, a local athlete from the Urban School of San Francisco, is a versatile player that can play at both the defender and midfielder positions. Dearaujo has played for the Region IV team from 2000-2002.

'Erin is the best technical player in this class,' said Boyd. 'Her technical and tactical abilities make her a rare defender, as she can win balls and help orchestrate the attack.'

MIDFIELDERS

The trio of Emily Ward, Briana Wiles and Jennifer Wendell make up the midfielder positions of this class. Ward, a 2002 regional team member and 2001 NSCAA U16 All-American, can also compete as a defender. In 2002, she participated in the adidas ESP Camp and ODP (Olympic Development Program) National Camp. Ward is also an accomplished tennis player winning three Division V CIF titles at Laguna Beach High School.

'Emily's strengths are in her athleticism, technique and ability to posses the ball for her team,' said Boyd. 'She is definitely capable of playing in both the back line and in the midfield.'

Wiles, from Soquel High School, is a two-year regional pool team player and has played on a national pool team for one year. She is a four-year Cal North State Team member and is also very athletic, taking first-place in the 2002 Monterey Bay Challenge Triathlon/Sandman Triathlon.

'Briana is best described as being a student of the game,' said Boyd. 'She is in constant movement and reads the game extremely well.'

Wendell, from San Francisco's University High School, rounds out the rest of the incoming midfielders. A two-year member of the Cal North State Team, Wendell was a two-time NSCAA All-Far-West Team selection.

'Jennifer has the strength and stamina to run the field while also capable of serving a 50-yard ball,' said Boyd. 'Her strengths are her leadership, determination and power.'

FORWARDS

Alivia Mazura and Katie Ratican are the forwards showcased in the 2003 signing class. Mazura, a student-athlete at Newport Beach's Corona Del Mar High School, has not been involved in ODP in the past two years, but as captain, led her high school team to three consecutive Pacific Coast League Championships. Mazura earned high school all-league and all-CIF honors.

'Alivia is both an athletic and technical player,' said Boyd. 'She can use speed, power and aggression, or she can beat a player with craftiness and finesse.'

Ratican, from Fullerton's Troy High School, also has not been involved in ODP, but was the school's Offensive MVP in 2000 and 2001 and named a first-team all-league selection in 2000-2001. Ratican also was a city champion in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4x100 relay on the track. She also was the all-league champion in the 200m, long jump and 4x100 relay.

'Ratican possesses incredible speed and has a great ability to hold the ball and take players on,' said Boyd. 'She has been the scoring leader and highest point producer on her club team, high school team and high school league.'

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