Women's Soccer Signs 10 for 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Ladies add 10 players
for the upcoming season

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Head coach Chase Wooten and the Centenary women’s soccer team reloaded the roster with the signing of 10 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2007 season.

The diverse and athletic class has representatives from the states of Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee, with multiple players capable of contributing immediately in their first year with the Ladies.

Wooten is very complimentary of what this class of 10 players can add to his returnees for next season.

"One of our biggest recruiting achievements was retaining almost all of our 2006 team after an injury-riddled season," Wooten said. "We knew that if we could mix the returning team of 2006 with the verbal commitments of 2007, then we would be in a great place. Today we have done that."

Centenary adds four players coming off of state championship seasons, three of which are teammates with Lafayette High School in Lafayette, La.

Defenders Caroline Klara and Emily McManus, along with midfielder Jennifer Hopkins all starred with Lafayette, helping the team to the Louisiana High School State Championship a season ago. Currently, Lafayette ranks among the top regional high school teams in the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Region II Poll. Additionally, Hopkins, Klara and McManus all are members of the Cajun Soccer Club Rage, which has won two state championships.

Klara, the first of the three Lafayette players to commit, earned all-district accolades as a junior in leading Lafayette to the state championship. Identified by the Ladies coaching staff several years ago as a player to watch, Klara has developed into a very steady defender with great presence in the air. According to Wooten, Klara should be looked upon to solidify the backline in her freshman season.

McManus is described by Wooten as a very fast outside defender who is also a steady defender. Looking to earn minutes immediately at outside fullback, McManus was named to the all-district team as a junior, leading Lafayette to the state title and winning two state club championships with the Cajun Soccer Club Rage.

Hopkins plays in the central midfield, earning all-district honors three times. Named to the 2006 All-Acadiana Team, Hopkins is viewed by Wooten as a blessing to Centenary’s young midfielder, seeing the field already at a Division I-level and creating for those around her.

Also leading her team to a state championship last season, defender Catie Depew earned all-region as a junior and all-district as a sophomore. The district defensive MVP in 2006, Depew helped Katy Taylor High School in Katy, Texas to last season’s Texas High School State Championship, described as a quick central defender with excellent closing speed and tackling ability by Wooten.

Forward Katie Valdez comes to Centenary after earning all-district honors her final three seasons of high school named team MVP as a junior with Alief Taylor. Playing for the Houston Dynamos, Valdez is a member of the Texas U-23 state team, with a knack of finding the ball in the box and scoring goals. According to Wooten, Valdez is a very dangerous player going forward with the ball, possessing great speed and creativity with a great work rate.

Candace Rushing, plays for Cordova High School, in Cordova, Tenn., as well as the Memphis Mercury of the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPSL). Bringing instant credibility to the Ladies ability to score, according to Wooten, Rushing earned all-district as a junior and senior. Named Cordova MVP last season, Rushing captained her high school team for both her junior and senior seasons, named to the "Best of the Preps" team in 2006.

With the ability to play both outside defender and outside midfielder, Shelby Epperson earned all-district honors as a freshman while playing for Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas. A member of the D’Feeters club team, which advanced to regionals in 2005, Epperson is looked as a composed and technical player with a wealth of experience. According to Wooten, she will be looked upon to contribute immediately at either an outside mid or outside defender.

A defender from Cy-Fair High School and a member of the Houston Dynamo club team, Cassie Suttle earned all-district as a sophomore and junior. Captaining Cy-Fair as a senior, Suttle also excels at track and field, holding three school sprinting records. Helping the Dynamo to a No. 6 national club ranking, Suttle is viewed as a hard-working player with the ability to run with anyone in the country. Suttle will see time at outside defender and be looked upon to attack on the wings with her speed.

Midfielders Elizabeth Sweatt and Chelsea Cardwell both play for the Tejanos Soccer Club in Texas, adding depth to the Ladies midfield next season.

Captaining Flower Mound High School as a senior, Cardwell earned all-district honors as a sophomore. According to Wooten, Cardwell has the ability to anchor the Centenary midfield with her hard-nosed style. Looked as a wonderful addition to the team, Cardwell will also bring a toughness and ability to score to the Ladies. She was a standout player with the Tejanos Soccer Club.

Sweatt, from Colleyville High School in Colleyville, Texas, earned all-district honors as a junior. Captaining of her high school team, Sweatt is described as a player with great field vision and speed. According to Wooten, she has the ability to find her teammates’ feet and combine.

With such a large class of 10 players, Wooten said the coaching staff was looking for a group with a bit of diversity.

"We knew we needed some depth after last season’s endless injury list and many things fell into place to pull off a class of this size and caliber," Wooten said. "They will certainly be the future of our program."