MARTIN, Tenn. – Coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in program history, The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team has reloaded with five new signees to the 2013 fall roster.
Skyhawk head coach Phil McNamara has announced the signings of Shelby Coleman (Lascassas, Tenn.), Haley Klages (Franklin, Tenn.), Aoife Lennon (Armagh, Northern Ireland), Abby Masters (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Ellie Myrick (Knoxville, Tenn.). All five will enter the 2013 season as freshmen to the UT Martin program.
McNamara on Signing Class: “I would like to thank Leslie Gillies and Chris Penn for their efforts in recruiting this exciting class. They have worked hard on this class and have been instrumental in securing these players for UT Martin. I would also like to congratulate our current players – they are for sure the face of our program. They visit, host, and talk to recruits usually at a critical period in the process. Our kids do a fantastic job selling the benefits of a program such as UT Martin. It also needs to be said that the quality of our players on and off the field is a huge factor for attracting players in the first place. We would not have the interest of these quality recruits if we did not have an excellent product on the field.”
“This year’s class has all the credentials to not only support a conference championship team but the talent and ability to take us to a new level. These players offer all the assets required to prove successful at the college level. These players will force fantastic competition within our squad and therefore making us a better team. This class covers every position on the field, except goalkeeper. We only graduated two players from last year’s team, therefore, this class is average in numbers but quality from top to bottom. I see four out of the five starting immediately this fall. I love what this class offers – excellent talent and ability, above-average athletic ability and simply good kids from great families. We cannot wait to get started with all of these fantastic players.”
Shelby Coleman, D, 5-6, Lascassas, Tenn. (Oakland HS)
Coleman comes to UT Martin from Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Playing under head coach Jeff Boynton, she helped the Patriots tally a 12-5-3 regular season record in 2012. Playing at the 7-AAA level, Coleman was part of an OHS squad that outscored its opposition by a 65-16 margin in 2012, generating 10 shutouts. As a senior, she found the back of the net three times and added three assists for the Patriots. Coleman was a 2011 all-state performer, two-time all-area first team recipient (2011-12) and the 2011 D7-AAA Defensive Player of the Year. She helped OHS to a regional championship in 2010 and a district title in 2011.
At the club level, Coleman played for the Strikers (2002-07), Brentwood Soccer Club (2009-12) and the Tennessee Soccer Club (2012-13). Playing alongside fellow Skyhawk signee Haley Klages, Coleman won a state championship in 2005 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2009 USYS Region III Championships.
McNamara on Coleman: “Shelby is a Tennessee standout – she has amazing athletic ability, including being blessed with fantastic pace. A championship program must provide players every recruiting year with pace in the women’s game. Shelby will immediately take our team to a new level in that category. She is a defender by trade, with excellent vision and reading of the game. She is also a very difficult player to beat one-on-one, which of course includes her recovery pace. Shelby enjoys not only stopping forwards from playing, but enjoys to dribble and distribute the ball as an attacking defender. She is a great defender that will push for starting time as a freshman.”
Coleman on UTM: “I chose UT Martin for several reasons. First, the soccer coaches and success of the team. I also liked the campus and that the school is fairly close to home.”
Haley Klages, D, 5-4, Franklin, Tenn. (Centennial HS)
Klages joins the Skyhawks out of Centennial High School, where she prepped under head coach Sandy Pollock. Klages was a 2012 All-District 11-AAA defender for the Cougars, concluding an outstanding career in which she started all four seasons.
Klages played club soccer for the Brentwood Soccer Club Premier ’95 squad and the Tennessee Soccer Club after it merged with the Tennessee Futbol Club. She played club soccer with incoming UT Martin signee Shelby Coleman and current Skyhawk sophomore Jaclyn Heckle.
McNamara on Klages: “Haley is a player that will offer our team options in different positions. She is a player with exceptional versatility, which every team needs to be successful. Haley’s greatest asset as a player is her work rate capacity. She has a great engine to run all day, an important asset for the college level. Haley has a nice balance of athletic ability and technique to become a quality college soccer player. Haley is a very consistent player that will give 100 percent every time she steps on to the field. She is a player that will add intensity to our team.”
Klages on UTM: “The college size was perfect for me. I had an amazing soccer opportunity at UT Martin.”
Aoife Lennon, MF, 5-10, Armagh, Northern Ireland (St. Catherine’s College)
McNamara traveled to his home country to find Lennon, who brings a wealth of international experience to the Skyhawk program. Lennon played for head coach Ryan White at St. Catherine’s College, where she earned 2011 Sports Girl of the Year. During the club season, she plays for the accomplished Newry City Ladies squad, who was the Division 4 League
Cup winners in 2011 and Division 3 League Cup winners in 2012.
Lennon has been selected to play for the Northern Ireland Senior International team in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 qualifiers. She was named Player of the Match in international friendlies against Germany and Malta in the 2012 U19 qualifiers.
McNamara on Lennon: “Aoife Lennon is a member of the Northern Ireland full National Team, which speaks for itself. She is a player that will add excellent experience and knowledge of the game to our program. Aoife is well known for being a ball winner in the middle of the field, especially in the air. Aoife will prove an exciting attacking threat off set plays. She is a player with fantastic vision, possession skills, and passing distribution. Aoife strikes the ball extremely well, which will provide opportunities from greater distances, along with exciting shooting capabilities. She is a player with the potential to take our team to a new level. We expect Aoife to challenge for OVC honors.”
Lennon on UTM: “The reason I have chosen UT Martin is because it offers me a lot – the standard of play is very high and that’s what I want. I want to be challenged every week as well as improve and I believe this will happen at UT Martin. The coaches have been very helpful to me and are giving me an opportunity I can’t wait for.”
Abby Masters, MF, 5-3, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Huntington Beach HS)
Masters recently wrapped up a successful run at Huntington Beach High School, where she played for head coach Raul Ruiz. This past season, she helped the Oilers finish with an 8-7-6 record and a berth in the Southern Section Division-I playoffs. She was a second team All-Sunset League performer in 2010 on the pitch.
Along with her soccer talents, Masters was also an accomplished field hockey player. She was a two-time all-league player while leading HBHS to the 2012 CIF championship. Her mother and sister both played field hockey at the collegiate level at Missouri State University.
McNamara on Masters: “Abby Masters is simply an excellent soccer player. She is a player we expect will dictate our team’s style of play. When we watch Abby play, her body language reads ‘give me the ball.’ She is an attacking central midfielder with exciting vision and ability to pick defenses apart. Abby has a great first touch and dribbling skills which will encourage possession for our team. Abby has a lot of talent to not only provide opportunities for our forwards but she will score goals also. Goals from midfielders are essential for a championship team. Abby has enjoyed the experience of playing on a top national club in West Coast FC, which will automatically provide that winning mentality required for success at the college level. She is a little firecracker on the field and an exciting player to watch. “
Masters on UTM: “It is a school where I could easily picture myself for four years and a place where I knew I would really enjoy the people I was with.”
Ellie Myrick, F, 5-6, Knoxville, Tenn. (Hardin Valley Academy)
Myrick prepped at Hardin Valley Academy, where the Lady Hawks amassed a 26-9-5 record over the past two seasons. Playing under head coach Mike McLean, she has garnered back-to-back first team all-state accolades by the Knoxville News Sentinel newspaper. She was named the District 3-AAA Forward of the Year in both 2011 and 2012.
Myrick scored 32 goals and added 12 assists in 2012, leading HVA to the Region 2-AAA semifinals after a 13-5-2 record. The previous season, she tallied 22 goals and 11 assists while helping the Lady Hawks to a 13-4-3 mark and a District 3-AAA championship and another Region 2-AAA semifinals appearance.
McNamara on Myrick: “Ellie Myrick was actually our first commitment for this class and is without question one of the best players coming out of the state of Tennessee this year. She’s a player that will add pace to our forward line. Ellie offers a different dimension to our team, being that she has a sweet left foot. We expect and look forward to many different possibilities to our overall attacking abilities with the tools and skills Ellie offers. She is a great athlete with fantastic one-on-one ability. Ellie will be an immediate impact player for our program and one that will challenge for OVC honors. Ellie will score goals and create scoring opportunities for our team. She is a player with outstanding potential.”
Myrick on UTM: “I chose UT Martin because I think it is a great fit for me. I love the team and Coach McNamara.”
UT Martin has notched its best two seasons in program history in 2011-12, shattering 14 school records en route to a 27-13-5 combined record for a .656 winning percentage. The Skyhawks have enjoyed a 19-4-1 OVC record (.813 winning percentage) in the past two years. This fall, the team will work towards breaking the OVC all-time record for the most consecutive titles (four).
The 2013 signing class will start their UT Martin careers with a home game against Big 12 Conference powerhouse Oklahoma State on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. Oklahoma State is coming off Elite Eight appearances in 2010 and 2011.