Cal Signs Nine Elite Players for 2008 Class

Feb. 8, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. - The California women's soccer team has signed nine talented players to National Letters of Intent, first-year Golden Bear head coach Neil McGuire announced Thursday. That group is expected to help continue Cal's rise on the national scene and will help the Bears build on their 2007 accomplishments. Last season, Cal posted a 15-5-1 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

'We're very excited to welcome this elite group of players to the Cal soccer family,' said McGuire. 'We've lost five to six starters from the 2007 team due to graduation. This incoming class, which includes several players with national team experience, will help us fill some critical roles. We lost people on defense, in the midfield and at forward, and we'll look to any number of these newcomers to step in and contribute right away. It will all depend on their preparation and what system we choose to use as to which players will see significant time as freshmen. All of them can compete in the Pac-10 and will help continue our progress on the national level.'

Here's a breakdown of this year's class in alphabetical order:

A 5-9 forward from Fair Oaks, Calif., Mariam Azimi was a 2004 U.S. U14 national team pool player and a 2005 U.S. U15 national team pool player. From 2003-05, Azimi was a member of the regional team and had the opportunity to travel to Italy. She also plays for the FC Slammers and attends St. Francis High School. At the U.S. Club National Cup Championship, Azimi netted the game-tying and game-winning goals. She also played varsity volleyball as a freshman.

Katie Benz, a 5-5 forward from Sonoma, Calif., has spent time with the Region IV ODP team and the state team. At Sonoma Valley High School, Benz is a three-time All-Empire League selection, including two first-team honors. She was her school's Co-Offensive MVP in 2006 when she posted 30 goals and earned Offensive MVP accolades again in 2007 when she netted 27 goals. Benz was a member of the Santa Rosa Soccer Club's 2007 State Cup championship team.

Danielle Brunache, a 5-9 defender, has experience with the U.S. under-17 and under-18 national teams, garnering three international caps. Brunache has received an assortment of honors at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco, including 2007 NSCAA All-American, 2007-08 West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year, and WCAL freshman and sophomore of the year. The three-time all-league pick from Belmont, Calif., led the WCAL in scoring for three years. She also won a WCAL award for scoring the most career goals in league history.

A 5-10 midfielder, Caroline Dagley was the 2007 Marin County Athletic League Player of the Year after posting 12 goals and eight assists for The Branson School. Dagley, who hails from San Rafael, Calif., brings U.S. youth national team experience to Cal. In 2005, she attended a U.S. under-15 national team camp in Carson, Calif., and was named to the 2008 Region IV team. Dagley was also a Region IV pool player in 2004, 2005 and 2007 and was a four-year member of the Cal North state team. Additionally, she helped Bay Oakes twice reach the State Cup finals and has played for the club at the U18 level for five years.

Kaitlin Paletta, a 5-6 defender from Moorpark, Calif., won a USYSA national championship while playing for the Eagles Soccer Club. From 2004-06, Paletta played for the Cal South state team and won the 2006 ODP national title. Paletta also played on the 2005 Coast Premier League and California championship team. At Moorpark High School, Paletta was a three-time first-team all-league and all-county honoree from 2005-07 and claimed three team Best Defensive Back and MVP awards. In 2006 and 2007, she was selected the Best Defensive Back of the Marmonte League.

Camellia Senemar, a 5-7 forward from Danville, Calif., was one of the top three scorers in the East Bay Athletic League while playing for Monte Vista High School. A member of the Iranian national team in 2007-08, Senemar was the leading scorer for the 2007 ODP Region IV team, helping the squad advance to the regional finals. She was also a member of the 2005-07 Cal North '91 state team. In 2007, she helped the Mustang Mavericks advance to the finals of the San Diego Surf Cup as their leading scorer. The year before, Senemar was the leading scorer for the Mavericks at the Surf Girls' Cup. She also helped the Mavericks advance to the 2007 USYSA Far West Regional Quarterfinals and to claim the 2007 CYSA-N State Cup.

Katherine Suits, a 5-6 midfielder who hails from Los Alamitos, Calif., played for the ODP Cal South state team from 2004-07 and competed at 2006 Inter-Regionals for the Region IV team. Suits contributed to the 2006 ODP national title and to three Region IV crowns. She received two first-team All-Sun Set League selections and was named the 2007 Offensive Player of the Year while playing for Los Alamitos High School. She helped her high school claim the CIF championship her freshman year. Her brother, Matt, played soccer at San Diego State and her brother, Danny, currently is a member of UCLA's soccer team.

Miranda White, the 5-6 forward/defender from Piedmont, Calif., is a three-time all-league and scholar-athlete choice at Piedmont High School. As a sophomore and junior, White led her team in goals and assists. She has helped her school to three Bay Shore Athletic League championships and to the North Coast Section semifinals in 2007. As a member of Marin FC Magic, she helped her club team to the 2007 State Cup finals. White was a member of the 2006 ODP state pool. Last summer, she went on a mission trip with her church to Malawi, Africa, and worked at hospitals, schools and orphanages.

Gina Woodward, a 5-6 defender from Glendora, Calif., was named the 2007-08 Sierra League Defensive Player of the Year and earned her third first-team all-league selection. Woodward helped the Laguna Hills Eclipse become the 2007 Surf Cup co-champions and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2007 National Cup. As a junior, she helped Glendora High School advance to the second round of the CIF playoffs for the first time in school history, for girls or boys, by scoring the game-winning goal in the first-round game against Harvard Westlake.

Cal looks to add two international players to its 2008 incoming class.

2008 Cal Women's Soccer Recruiting Class

Name Pos Hometown/Previous SchoolMiriam Azimi F Fair Oaks, Calif./St. Francis High SchoolKatie Benz F Sonoma, Calif./Sonoma High SchoolDanielle Brunache D Belmont, Calif./St. Ignatius College PrepCaroline Dagley M San Rafael, Calif./The Branson SchoolKaitlin Paletta D Moorpark, Calif./Moorpark High SchoolCamellia Senema F Danville, Calif./Monte Vista High SchoolKatherine Suits M Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos High SchoolMiranda White F/D Piedmont, Calif./Piedmont High SchoolGina Woodward D Glendora, Calif./Glendora High School

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