Three words to describe this class are athleticism, versatility and intelligence. All of them were highly-recruited.
“When I got here in the spring of 2007 I started then focusing on the class of 2009,” said Ireland. “It has been a process of communication with most of these players for two years.
“it is exciting to finally get them signed. It will be even more exciting in preseason when we get them on campus. They come from very good club teams. They have been well coached. They will bring new blood and new energy.”
Martika Powe, 5-foot-4, is from Indianapolis, Ind., and will play a midfield position. She was an All-State performer in 2008 for North Central High School, scoring four goals and adding five assists.
“Martika runs very well,” said Ireland. “She will probably play as a holding midfielder or an attacking midfielder. “She has good speed and is very quick. She is also very skillful and has a very high soccer I.Q. She comes from one of the top club teams in the country.”
Emily Longden, 5-5, is from Jacksonville, Fla. She will be a forward or a midfielder. She served as captain of the varsity soccer team at the Providence School in 2008-2009.
“We found her fairly late in the recruiting process,” said Ireland. “We first saw her at the Disney Showcase, a huge tournament. She is one of the most fit players I have seen in a long time. She doesn’t stop running.
“She has the engine, the speed and a lot of ability. She has very strong work ethic.”
Taylor Ann Summers is also from Jacksonville where she was a defender for the Stanton School. She is the first player Ireland ever recruited at Lipscomb. Ireland projects her as possibly an outside back or as a midfielder.
“I saw her at a tournament in Decatur, Ala.,” said Ireland. “I found out later that her parents went to Lipscomb.
“We will look at her primarily as an outside defender. She is very smart with the ball. She possesses it very well. She keeps it simple. She fits the system we are looking for. She plays on one of the top club teams in Florida. It is not a big gap between their club soccer teams and college.”
Erin Zerio, 5-6, is from Novi, Mich. She will be one of two goaltenders trying to replace former All-Atlantic Sun Conference goalkeeper Katie Shelton. She was All-Region and All-District and Third Team All-State in 2007-2008.
She recorded 42 shutouts in her four –year varsity career. She recorded a 0.44 goals against average and a 60-5-5 record overall.
“Erin is very athletic,” said Ireland. “She is very good in the goal. She is very strong. She has great hands. She has the ability to play this year for sure.
Katie Wood, a defender, is also from the Stanton School in Jacksonville. An All-State selection, she is expected to play a center back position.
“Katie is very good in the air,” said Ireland. “That is the thing we noticed right away. She is physically strong. She is dominant in the air which is something we have struggled with.
Andie Thornton, 5-7, is one of two players from David Lipscomb High School who will be part of the team this fall. She is projected to be an outside back or a midfielder. She was an All-State selection in 2007 and All-Region and All-District in 2007 and 2008. She was also the Most Valuable Defender on the 2007 and 2008 Lipscomb teams.
“Andie is very athletic,” said Ireland. “She is very quick with very good speed. We are excited about her potential.”
Ally Marler, 5-9, is from Smyrna, Tenn. She will also be competing for the goalkeeper spot. She was an All-Region pick in 2008 and was 2008 District 9-AAA Defensive Player of the Year.
“Allie has good size and is very strong,” said Ireland. “She reminds me of Katie because of her physical size. She is vocal. She has that kind of personality.
“Both she and Erin have a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.”
Courtney Williams, 5-3, is also from Indianapolis where she played for North Central High School. She will be a defender or possibly a defensive midfielder.
“Courtney is very aggressive,” said Ireland. “She has the ability to be a very good marker if we face a player that we need to mark. She is another player who is very athletic and can play in the back or in the midfield.”
Hope Proffitt, 5-5, is also from David Lipscomb High School. The three-time All-State selection (2006, 2007, 2008) has the potential to play at several spots. She was also the team captain and team MVP in 2007 and 2008. She is second in career scoring and first in career assists for David Lipscomb High School. She also holds the single season assists record.
“Hope has all the tools to be a really, really good player,” said Ireland. “She has a lot of upside.
“We will look at her as an attacking player. She is the most versatile player we have coming in.”
Kameron Stilwell, 5-6, is from Orange Park, Fla., near Jacksonville. She plays on the same club at Katie Wood and Taylor Ann. She was an All-State selection in 2008-2009 and the team captain in 2009 of her Fleming Island High School team.
“She is super aggressive with very good speed,” said Ireland. “She can play as a shutdown defender on the other team’s best forward. She can play in the midfielder and guard the best midfielder on the other team. We can also put her up top in a forward position.”