Women's Soccer Signs Four Prep Standouts

Feb. 4, 2009

SEATTLE - The University of Washington women's soccer team signed four prep standouts to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, head coach Lesle Gallimore announced.

The four players who will join the Huskies for the 2009 season are defender/forward Louise Albin (Shoreline, Wash.), midfielder Kelsea Brajkovich (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), midfielder Kellie Welch (Los Altos, Calif.) and forward Jessie Young (Surrey, British Columbia).

While the Huskies lost just five players and no full-time starters from last season's team which went 15-6-1, Gallimore is excited about the specific needs the four players will fill.

'Without having too many seniors leaving our team, we set out in 2009 to improve our squad with very specific qualities and weren't looking necessarily for quantity,' Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore said. 'With this foursome we accomplished our goals. We have added four extremely athletic and versatile players to our Husky family. All four can play on the left or right side of the field comfortably, all four can play two or three positions successfully and all four have the athleticism to compete in the Pac-10, which is arguably the best women's soccer conference in the country. In addition to their athletic accomplishments, all four young women are outstanding students and will add to the competiveness of the student-body at Washington.'

Albin, the only in-state player of the four recruits, comes to Washington from Shorewood High School where she was a four-time First Team All-WesCo South selection and was named to the Everett Herald All-Area First Team in 2008. A two-time team captain, Albin also excels in the classroom where she carries a 3.6 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale).

'Louise is a very technical player who has a great sense of the game of soccer. She will fit in well with our possession-oriented style of play,' Gallimore said. 'On the other side of the ball, and what originally attracted me to Louise as a player, is that she absolutely loves to defend. She has a natural tenacity, fight and competitiveness that make her a force defensively.'

Brajkovich comes to Washington from La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where she has been a two-time All-Tri-Valley League selection. She is also a member of the powerful Real So Cal club team, which she helped win the Surf Cup twice and the National Cup in 2008. She also carries a 3.9 GPA (4.0 scale).

'Kelsea can flat out run. The more we watched her, the more we liked her. She will physically be able to step in and give us quality minutes and depth in the wide positions,' Gallimore said. 'She is very sure-footed and serves the ball well. She will be able to consistently create scoring opportunities for her teammates and herself. Kelsea is an extremely motivated person and loves a challenge. She will quietly go about competing with her teammates until she has earned a starting spot and can't be taken off the field. I love her drive and passion for soccer, school and life.'

A Los Altos High School product, Welch has led her school to three-consecutive league championships and one sectional championship. She was named second-team All-League her freshman and sophomore seasons and is currently a captain as she competes in her final season at Los Altos. She was a member of the MVLA Mercury for eight years, leading the team to several championships, and now plays for the DeAnza Force.

'Kellie has huge potential and comes from a playing background where not only did she develop tremendous skills, but tactically she is an extremely intelligent player,' Gallimore commented. 'She understands the offensive and defensive roles of every position on the field and, if needed, could fill just about every role. One of our tasks early on is to figure out where Kellie can help us the most.'

Young will join the Huskies in 2009 after a successful career at North Surrey Secondary School and with the Surrey Breakers Athletic Association club team. She has been the captain of the Surrey Breakers Athletic Association the last two years, leading the team to a fifth-place finish at the Canadian Nationals in 2005 and a sixth-place finish in the prestigious Surf Cup in San Diego in 2006. She carries a 3.7 GPA (4.0 scale) at North Surrey Seconday, where she played two years of soccer.

'Jessie isn't a big player, but she plays big. She is feisty and quick-footed. She is fun to watch in the attack as she is a crafty one-versus-one artist,' Gallimore said. 'She has great stamina and can get up and down the field well in the wide channels, as well as serve dangerous balls into the box. In recruiting her, I can tell she is going to be a player who brings a ton of personality to the team and is going to add to the positive team chemistry we already have on a fairly young squad.'

The Huskies will return more than 80 percent of their scoring from 2008 next season, including their top two scorers - junior Veronica Perez and freshman Kate Deines. Perez was an All-Pac-10 and All-West Region selection, leading the Huskies with 31 points, while Deines scored the second-most goals (7) by a freshman in UW history en route to being named to the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team and Soccer Buzz Magazine's Freshman All-America First Team. As a team, UW produced one of the best single-season turnarounds in NCAA history last season, going 15-6-1 and advancing to the NCAA Second Round after a 5-13-1 season in 2007.

WASHINGTON WOMEN'S SOCCER LETTER OF INTENT SIGNEES
Louise Albin
D/F, 5-10, Shoreline, Wash. (Shorewood/Northwest Nationals)

Kelsea Brajkovich
MF, 5-7, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (La Reina/Real So Cal)

Kellie Welch
MF, 5-4, Los Altos, Calif. (Los Altos/DeAnza Force)

Jessie Young
F, 5-4, Surrey, British Columbia (North Surrey Secondary/Surrey Breakers Athletic Assoc.)

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