SEATTLE – (Feb. 12) Seattle University women’s soccer has announced the signing of nine newcomers for the 2018 season. Lauren Brown, Lauren Hudson, Julia Humphreys, Gina Leete, Paige Malm, Sabrina Nava, Brianna Robles, Ariana Romero, and Claire Spadoni-Varden will join the Redhawks this coming fall.
“This 2018 signing class is full of young women who represent our team principles of character, commitment and consistency,” said Coach Julie Woodward. “They will represent Seattle University with energy and class on the field, on campus and in the community. I can't wait for August to roll around so we can get to work.”
Brown is a 5-8 freshman from Seattle. She played for Crossfire Academy and Crossfire ECNL, helping Crossfire Academy qualify for nationals twice. Brown was named WSSCA All-State First Team in 2016 at Shorecrest High. She helped the Highlanders advance to the state tournament in 2015 and 2016.
“Lauren is a goal scorer and a top-level athlete who is going to turn some heads in the WAC,” said Woodward. “She works hard, competes to win, and can play within a system but also do it on her own. Lauren will be a name people at Seattle U know in the years to come.”
Hudson is a native of Bremerton, Wash. The 5-9 Central Kitsap product was a two-time Kitsap Sun Player of the Year. She notched league co-MVP honors twice and was a first team all-state player as a junior and a senior. She played for Washington Premier FC, serving as team captain last year.
“Lauren Hudson has big-time potential to be a dominant, ball-winning center mid at this level,” said Woodward. “Her range of distribution really opens up the game. We look forward to seeing what she can bring to our team.”
Humphreys is from San Francisco, Calif. The 5-7 freshman played for Marin FC Blue, SF United FC, and SF Lions FC. She helped SF United FC win the 2015 Force Adidas Premier Showcase. As a member of Sacred Heart Prep, Humphreys was a three-year letterwinner. She picked up most improved honors as a junior.
“Julia is a technical, smart center midfielder with a very high soccer IQ,” said Woodward. “Her air game will help her compete at the D1 level right away, and her understanding of the game will make her an impact player in the long run.”
Leete is a 5-5 defender. The Phoenix native played for Sereno Soccer Club for eight years. At Chaparral High, she was her team’s captain as a senior. Leete claimed defensive MVP and was selected Scottsdale All-City in 2017.
“Gina always does her job on the field, which is exactly what we look for in a defender,” said Woodward. “She adds a lot to the attack as well, and her fitness allows her to contribute for the full 90 minutes.”
Malm is a 5-5 freshman from Spokane, Wash. The forward played for the Spokane Sounders and Spokane Breakers, helping her team win Crossfire in 2015 and 2017. At Lewis and Clark High, Malm earned All-GSL First Team honors as a senior.
“Paige always stands out because of her pace, but she is also a very high-level soccer player,” said Woodward. “She understands the game both on and off the ball, and can make an impact in different ways. Her attitude to improve and reach her full potential will lead to a lot of success at the next level.”
Nava is a 5-6 freshman out of San Jose, Calif. She played for Palo Alto Blue and Santa Teresa High. She was named first team all-league as a sophomore and second team all-league as a freshman. Nava helped Palo Alto Blue reach the regional semifinals in 2017.
“Sabrina is a natural lefty who is DI ready,” said Woodward. “Her technical ability and strength on the ball will make a big impact on our team, as we love to attack out of the back. Outside back is now a very strong, deep position on this team.”
Robles is a 5-5 forward from San Jose, Calif. She played for the California Thorns Academy and Palo Alto on the club circuit. In 2017, she helped her team win the Far West Regional Championships, NorCal NPL Championship, and Cal North State Cup. At Archbishop Mitty High, Robles helped her team win the Western Catholic Athletic League title in 2016 and 2017.
“Bri is a fantastic player who you want on the ball,” said Woodward. “She makes great decisions and can play any number of attacking positions. We have high expectations for Bri to contribute on the field right away.”
Romero, a native of Hercules, Calif., is a goalkeeper. She most recently played for the California Thorns Academy. As a member of Hercules High’s team, Romero earned all-star first team recognition in each of her four years. She won her team’s MVP award in 2014 and 2016. She had an eight-game shutout streak at one point in her high school career.
“Ari is a difference maker in goal,” said Woodward. “She trains all the time to improve her technique, and is never satisfied. Ari is incredible with her feet, and is always an option to keep possession out of the back.”
Spadoni-Varden is a 5-8 freshman from Tacoma, Wash. She most recently played for Washington Premier FC ECNL. At Kennedy Catholic High, she started on varsity for four years. In her senior season, she won team defensive MVP, helping her team go 12-0-2 in league play. She was selected All-North Puget Sound First Team twice in her high school career.
“Claire has a lot of qualities that we look for in a central defender,” said Woodward. “She is calm under pressure, comfortable on the ball, and a patient individual defender. She will add some much-needed depth in our back line as we graduate Stephanie Spiekerman and Madeline Racine.”
In 2017, Seattle U made a conference-record fifth straight appearance in the WAC Championship Game. It tallied its eighth consecutive winning record under Woodward.