Utah State soccer has signed eight players for the upcoming 2018 season, as announced by head coach Heather Cairns, Thursday.
"I would like to welcome the newest class of Aggies," Cairns said. "They have some special athletic qualities, well-developed skill sets and a good feel for the game, but their biggest asset as a group is their competitive spirit. We are looking forward to adding their talents to our team."
Seven of this year's signees are in-state players, including two from Cache Valley. Sammie Murdock (Providence, Utah/Ridgeline HS) and Marli Niederhauser (Mendon, Utah/Ridgeline HS) bring a local flair to the signing class, joining fellow Utah athletes Hallee Jones (Draper, Utah/Corner Canyon HS), Marren Nielsen (Orem, Utah/Timpview HS), Rachel Noel (Centerville, Utah/Woods Cross HS), Sara Noel (Centerville, Utah/Woods Cross HS) and Kelsey Salvesen (Provo, Utah/Timpview HS). Jordan Forarker (Anchorage, Alaska/South Anchorage HS) rounds out the incoming group.
Foraker joins the Aggies from South Anchorage (Alaska) High School, where she plays for Brian Farrell. Through her junior season, the forward/midfielder has scored 49 goals and added 46 assists. Alaska high school soccer season is in the spring, when she will finish her career. Foraker is a two-time all-conference honoree and earned all-state honors as a junior. South Anchorage claimed the Alaska 4A state title in 2015 and finished second in 2017. Foraker plays club soccer with Soccer Club Velocity under head coach Tim Valesko, helping the team to six state titles in the last seven years. She has also been a five-time Alaska Olympic Development Program (ODP) selection.
"Jordan is a prolific goal-scorer from the state of Alaska," Cairns said. "She has great pace and is courageous with a fine-tuned finishing ability. She will be very difficult for opposing defenses to deal with."
Jones, a Draper, Utah native, comes to Logan from Corner Canyon High School, where she played for Krissa Reinbold. The forward finished her high school career with 38 goals and 47 assists, earning first-team all-region honors each year of her career. Jones capped off her senior season being named the Utah Region 7 MVP and was named to the all-state first team after helping the Chargers to the region title. Jones spent the last three seasons playing club soccer at the Elite Club National League (ECNL) level with the Utah Avalanche under coaches Jo Barney, Amy LePielbet, Souli Phongsavath and Scott Halasz. Previously, she played several seasons for Sparta with head coach Kris Lien. Jones was also a Utah ODP selection in 2012.
"Hallee is going to be a great addition to our attack," Cairns said. "She’s a courageous risk-taker in the attacking third. She works hard to drive at the defense and creates good shots for herself and crosses for her teammates to finish."
Murdock joins the Aggies from nearby Providence, Utah, where she graduated from Ridgeline High School. She played her senior season at Ridgeline under head coach Darrin Christensen after starting her career at Mountain Crest High School. Playing both as a forward and a defender, Murdock is a three-time all-valley honoree, helping her two teams to the state tournament each season, advancing at least as far as the quarterfinals each year. At the club level, she played seven seasons for La Roca and head coaches Tim Crompton and Pancho Ovalle. She was also a seven-year regional ODP selection. Murdock graduated a semester early and joined the team for winter workouts this January.
"It has been fantastic having Sammie join us mid-year. She is a strong athlete with the potential to play several positions for us," Cairns said. "She’s getting a head start on school and in learning the Aggie way, and the experience will be invaluable in her development."
Neiderhauser, another local player, is also set to graduate from Ridgeline High School. Prior to the opening of Ridgeline, she played three seasons at Mountain Crest High School under head coach Dennis Giles. The forward scored 22 goals in her three years of high school competition, earning all-valley accolades three times and all-state honors twice. Niederhauser did not play high school soccer her senior year, as she participated in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy with her club team, La Roca. She spent seven seasons with La Roca under Pancho Ovalle and was a three-time ODP selection.
"Marli is a dangerous attacker who can play in the forward or midfield line," Cairns said. "She does a great job of knowing when to build or when to attack. Her off the ball movement is dynamic, and she possesses a very competitive mentality."
A native of Orem, Utah, Nielsen comes to Utah State after a four-year career under Eric Brady at Timpview High School. A goalkeeper, Nielsen played in nine contests as a senior, putting in 485 minutes in the net and posting five shutouts. She was a two-time all-state honoree and helped the Thunderbirds to two state semifinal finishes and a state title in 2016. Nielsen played 10 seasons for Utah FC, also under the coaching of Brady. She was also a four-time Utah ODP selection.
"Marren is a smart goalkeeper with excellent technical ability," said USU goalkeeper coach Molli Sorenson. "Her understanding of the position allows her to make the difficult save look easy."
Rachel Noel is a native of Centerville, Utah, where she is a four-year letterwinner at Woods Cross High School for head coach David Newman. The goalkeeper helped the Wildcats to a 9-2-4 record last season, where she minded the net for two shutouts. Rachel Noel earned second-team all-state honors as a junior and helped the team to a region title in 2017. She played her last season of club soccer with Kris Lien, but previously spent eight seasons with Forza under Phongsavath, Patrick Muhlberger and Ray Parkhurst. She was also a three-year letterwinner in basketball at Woods Cross.
"Rachel is quick and athletic and can make game changing-saves," Sorenson said. "She will be an exciting goalkeeper to watch at USU."
The twin sister of Rachel Noel, Sara Noel likewise comes to Logan from Woods Cross High School. A forward, she finished her career with 21 goals. She was also a two-time all-state honoree after helping the Wildcats to the 2017 region championship. She joined her sister playing club soccer for both Forza and USA. Sara Noel was also a three-year letterwinner on the basketball court.
"Sara is a special left-sided attacker with exceptional pace and a well-developed aerial game," Cairns said. "She plays with a confidence and freedom that make her unpredictable and fun to watch."
Salvesen rounds out the 2018 signing class, joining the Aggies from Provo, Utah, and Timpview High School, where she played for Brady. A three-year starter for the Thunderbird defense, Salvesen earned two all-state accolades, as well as all-region honors each year of her career. Last week, Salvesen was named the Utah Youth Soccer Association Female TOSH Athlete of the Year. She spent the last four seasons playing for Brady with Utah FC.
"Kelsey is a tough and determined defender with an extremely competitive spirit that drives her team," Cairns said. "She’s good in 1v1 situations, is a strong tackler and is confident with the ball at her feet when her team is building."
Utah State will return six starters and 13 total letterwinners to the pitch next fall. The 2018 competition slate will be announced later this spring. Last season, the Aggies finished the year with a 9-7-3 overall record, going 4-5-2 in Mountain West play.
Fans can follow the Aggie soccer program on Twitter, @USUSoccer, on Facebook at /USUSoccer and on Instagram, @USUSoccer. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at @USUAthletics or on Facebook at USUAthletics.
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