Cougar Soccer Inks Eight for 2023 Freshman Class
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State soccer head coach Todd Shulenberger announced eight signees with National Letters of Intent to play for the Cougars next season, Wednesday afternoon. The eight incoming Cougs are: Liya Brooks (Eugene, Ore.), Naomi Clark (Parker, Colo.), Elliotte Kortus (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho), Reagan Kotschau (Centennial, Colo.), Nat Lewis (Queen Creek, Ariz.), Megan Santa Cruz (Burbank, Calif.), Alena Watts (Marietta, Ga.), and Georgia Whitehead (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho).
"We are so excited to announce our 2023 class at Washington State University," Shulenberger said. "We focused on our needs all over the field, which we feel will help make an immediate impact to our program. These players have been in youth national championship games, state championships, and some have competed at the national team level both in the U.S. and internationally. These players come from all parts of the US – Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, California, Georgia, and Arizona. Welcome ladies!"
Liya Brooks | Goalkeeper
A senior out of Eugene, Ore., Brooks has minded the nets at the highest levels of club and country soccer, including the 2021 Surf Cup College Cup National Championship, and call ups with the Jamaican U-17, U-20, and Senior National Teams. Brooks is currently training with the Reggae Girlz ahead of a pair of friendlies with Paraguay. In September, she earned her first senior team callup after starting at the U-20 CONCACAF Championships last spring. Brooks arrived at South Eugene High School prior to her junior season, after her freshman and sophomore seasons at Moanalua High School in Honolulu. She led the Hawaii Surf Soccer Club to the 2018 Best of the Best Surf Cup Championship and repeated the title run with the club in 2019. In addition, Brooks is a 4-time high school honor roll recipient and intends to major in psychology or communication.
Naomi Clark | Midfielder
Entering her senior season at Grandview High School, Clark looks to build on a junior campaign where she led the Grandview Wolves to the 5A Colorado State Championship, netting a hat trick in the title match, including the game-tying and game-winning goals. Clark was named the 2022 5A Colorado Player of the Year, and First-Team All-State as Grandview posted a perfect 7-0 league record and 17-1-2 overall record last spring. Clark tallied a team-best 20 goals during the 2022 season and added three assists for the Wolves. In last spring's state title game, Grandview met Broomfield and faced off against soon-to-be Cougar teammate Reagan Kotschau, with Clark securing the 3-1 victory for the Wolves.
Elliotte Kortus | Forward
A two-time 5A Inland Empire League co-MVP and the 2021 Idaho Girls Soccer Gatorade Player of the Year, Kortus joins the Cougs after a successful two years at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Over two seasons with the Timberwolves, she tallied a team-leading 53 goals and 46 assists, alongside fellow Coug signee Georgia Whitehead. During her junior season, Kortus led the Timberwolves to the Idaho 5A State Championship, scoring 27 goals, en route to earning state player-of-the-year honors. As a senior, Lake City finished third at the 5A State Championships, falling to eventual runner-up Centennial. Prior to her junior season, Kortus moved from Seattle, where she helped Seattle Academy of the Arts and Sciences become 1A Washington State Champions during her freshman season. Kortus was also named the 2019 1A King County Rookie of the Year.
Reagan Kotschau | Midfielder
A standout at the club and high school level, Kotschau was named the ECNL U17 National Player of the Year in August after a successful season as Real Colorado's leading scorer. As a two-time ECNL All-American, Kotschau led Real Colorado to the 2022 U17 National Championship and has been selected for the ECNL National Selection Game each of the last two years. Competing for Broomfield High School, she is a two-time First-Team All-Front-Range-League selection as the Eagles' leading scorer and led the team to the 2020 5A Colorado State Championship. Last spring, Broomfield met Grandview in the state title game and faced off against soon-to-be Cougar teammate Naomi Clark. Off the field, Kotschau is a two-time academic all-state honoree.
Nathalie 'Nat' Lewis | Forward
Nat Lewis will arrive in Pullman as a four-year varsity starter for Casteel High School in Queen Creek, Ariz. The senior forward is a three-time Northwest Region Player of the Year by AZPreps365.com and helped the Colts win the 2022 5A State Championship with a 14-1-3 overall record. Since her freshman season, Lewis has earned all-district honors, and last season picked up Academic All-State Honorable Mention recognition. Lewis intends to major in veterinary sciences at WSU. She is also the daughter of retired NFL Pro Bowl safety Michael Lewis.
Megan Santa Cruz | Midfielder
Santa Cruz signs with WSU as a two-time First Team All-Sunshine League midfielder out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Since her freshman season, she has led the Knights in scoring, and led Notre Dame to a 15-4-3 record her junior season, and a second-place league finish. On the club side, Santa Cruz competes for the LA Surf. As the club's leading goal scorer for three season, she featured in the Surf's club showcase, netting the game-winning goal. Santa Cruz is also part of the US Youth National Team pool. Santa Cruz intends to major in business at Washington State.
Alena Watts | Defender
Watts joins the Cougs out of Marietta, Ga., as a standout defender for Lassiter High School. Watts led the Trojans to the 2022 6A State Championship, while holding state opponents to just two goals throughout the tournament. Lassiter finished the season with a 16-0-4 record and a perfect 5-0 record in 5A Region 6. As a sophomore, Watts earned all-conference First Team honors and repeated in her junior season. On the club side, Watts competes for United Futbol Academy and was named to the 2022 U17 ECNL Girls Southeast All-Conference in August. Last February 2021, she was called up for the US U17 Youth National Team Virtual Camp. Watts is also a member of the National Honor Society with a 4.2 GPA and intends to major in computer science at WSU.
Georgia Whitehead | Defender
A two-time 5A Inland Empire League co-MVP, Whitehead joins the Cougs after a successful two-sport career at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. On the pitch, Whitehead led the Timberwolves 2021 5A Idaho State Championship, alongside fellow Coug signee Elliotte Kortus. Beginning her freshman season, Whitehead earned all-conference newcomer of the year honors, adding all-league honors as a sophomore with nine goals as an outside back. Entering her junior year, Whitehead repeated all-league honors and picked up her first MVP recognition as she scored 18 goals and posted 15 assists en route to the state championship. As a senior, Lake City finished third at the 5A State Championships, while Whitehead added a team-high 26 goals and 20 assists. She repeated as a three-time all-Inland Empire League selection, two-time league MVP, and picked up 5A Idaho all-state selection for a second consecutive season. Away from soccer, Whitehead also exceled on the track as a two-time state champion in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays. Whitehead is a member of the Lake City honor roll with a 4.0 GPA and intends to major in sport management at WSU. Whitehead is also the granddaughter of former WSU football coach Jim Walden.