Feb. 13, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
University of Notre Dame head women's soccer coach Randy Waldrum announced Wednesday that six student-athletes have chosen to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Fighting Irish, signing National Letters of Intent to enroll at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2013. Collectively, Top Drawer Soccer has ranked the Fighting Irish Class of 2013 as the No. 3 incoming freshman class in the nation.
Morgan Andrews, a 5-9 midfielder (Milford, N.H./Milford HS/FC Stars of Massachusetts), Kaela Little, a 5-9 goalkeeper (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley HS/TSC Hurricane), Rilka Noel, a 5-4 forward/midfielder (West Bloomfield, Mich./Marian HS/Michigan Hawks), Kaleigh Olmsted, a 5-4 forward (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS/Challenge SC), Cindy Pineda, a 5-7 midfielder (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield East HS/Sockers FC Chicago) and Sandra Yu, a 5-4 midfielder (Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit HS/Cleveland Internationals), each made their official commitments to Notre Dame by submitting National Letters of Intent during the current signing period that began Feb. 6.
In addition, there are likely to be other student-athletes who will be part of the Notre Dame women's soccer incoming class of 2013, once their offers of admission have been accepted and received by the University.
This year's Fighting Irish class features a host of youth national team standouts and highly-decorated student-athletes, led by Andrews, the nation's No. 1 player according to Top Drawer Soccer, who was the 2012 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year (and is a favorite to repeat that honor in 2013) and also served as captain of last year's United States Under-17 National Team that won the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and competed in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup last fall in Azerbaijan.
In addition, Yu is ranked 30th in the current Top Drawer Soccer club player ratings, while Little joined Andrews at last week's U.S. Soccer Under-20 National Team Camp in Carson, Calif., playing alongside their future Notre Dame teammates (and rising sophomores) Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove HS) and Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip HS). What's more, Pineda suited up for Mexico both at last year's CONCACAF U-17 Championship (Mexico finished third) and the U-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan, and she now is a key contributor for the Mexican U-20 National Team.
"I'm extremely excited about this incoming class," Waldrum said. "This class, along with last year's class, gives us two straight years of unbelievable talent, and I believe every single player in this latest group could come in and play for us right away -- they are that good! However, what I think is most important is that they will come in respectful of the team we already have, and will be the best teammates possible. They will be fantastic for our team chemistry and I'm already looking forward to having them here on campus for the first day of fall practice (Aug. 7)."
Three-time national champion Notre Dame returns 10 starters and 22 veterans from last year's squad that posted a 16-6-2 record, while advancing to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the 15th time and winning a share of the BIG EAST Conference National Division title. The Fighting Irish will be led by Roccaro, the 2012 Soccer America Freshman of the Year and BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, as well as a third-team NSCAA All-American and first-team all-conference pick, along with two-time second-team all-BIG EAST midfielder (and rising senior) Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit), 2012 second-team all-conference forward (and rising sophomore) Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) and Naughton, a third-team all-BIG EAST defender. Notre Dame will kick off its spring schedule next month before turning its attention to summer training and preparation for the 2013 season, with the full schedule expected to be announced late this spring.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccer or @NDsoccernews), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
A capsule look at the newest additions to the Notre Dame women's soccer program follows:
MORGAN ANDREWS, 5-9, Midfielder (Milford, N.H./Milford High School/FC Stars of Massachusetts)
Awards/Honors/Rankings: Ranked No. 1 in the 2013 Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player ratings (five-star ranking; No. 1 in Northeast Region) ... ranked 1st in the 2013 ESPNHS 150 ... 2012 Gatorade National High School Soccer Player of the Year (first New Hampshire athlete in any sport to receive the honor, and one of only 13 recipients to earn the Gatorade national award as a junior in their respective sports, an elite list that includes NBA Player of the Year, multi-time NBA All-Star and 2012 Olympic gold medalist LeBron James (chosen for award as junior in 2002) and former Notre Dame two-time All-America women's soccer forward Melissa Henderson (2007) ... the 10th incoming Notre Dame student-athlete to bring a Gatorade National High School Player of the Year award to campus, a select group that includes (besides Henderson) current women's basketball senior Skylar Diggins (2009), current men's soccer senior Dillon Powers (2009), current cross country/track & field freshman Molly Seidel (2012) and former women's soccer standout Vanessa Pruzinsky (1999) ... three-time Gatorade New Hampshire Player of the Year (2011-13) ... 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) High School Player of the Year ... 2011 NSCAA Youth Player of the Year ... three-time NSCAA Youth All-America selection (2010-12) ... two-time NSCAA High School All-America pick (2011-12) ... 2011 ESPNHS All-America choice ... four-time NSCAA High School New Hampshire Player of the Year (2009-12) ... 2012 Robert A. "Red" Rolfe Award recipient as New Hampshire Female Athlete of the Year (selected by New Hampshire Union Leader), an award previously won by such notables as Olympic gold medalists Bode Miller (skiing) and Jenny Thompson (swimming) ... two-time New Hampshire Player of the Year selection by Nashua Telegraph and New Hampshire Union Leader (2011-12) ... four-time Nashua Telegraph first-team all-star choice (2009-12) ... four-time New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) first-team all-state pick (2009-12) ... two-time New Hampshire Union Leader Athlete of the Month selection (July/October 2012) ... featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" section on Nov. 19, 2012 ... earned 2012 NSCAA (Media) Writing Award for her contribution to The Equalizer (an online women's soccer publication) with an article entitled "Impossibility Is Nothing" (part of a series of blog entries she wrote covering her journey with the 2012 U.S. U-17 Women's National Team at the CONCACAF U-17 Championships in Guatemala, which the Americans won to earn a spot in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup).
National Team Highlights: Has been a mainstay with several U.S. Soccer youth national teams since 2008, when she debuted with the U-14 Girls National Team ... has risen through the U.S Soccer YNT ranks, participating in various international tournaments, friendlies and/or camps for the U-15, U-17, U-20 and U-23 national teams, serving as a captain for the U-15 squad in 2010 and the U-17 team in 2011-12 ... took part in U-23 camp in October 2011 (was youngest player invited at age 16), when she was coached by (among others) then-U.S Women's National Team coach Pia Sundhage ... made U-20 camp debut in February 2013 ... named to U.S. U-20 roster for 2013 Twelve Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain (to compete March 1-12) ... started 19 times during 2012 U-17 cycle (including 15 international matches), posting two goals and two assists (all during international play) ... most recently captained U.S. squad at 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan, with Americans finishing in three-way tie for first in group with five points but eliminated on goal differential (started twice, resting for group match vs. Gambia) ... captain of victorious U.S. team at 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Championships in Guatemala, as Americans outscored five opponents, 26-0 (started every match, had goal and two assists in tournament) ... captained U.S. U-17 side to 2012 Ten Nations Tournament crown in La Manga, Spain, despite playing against other national teams at U-19 level (started all three matches, scored goal vs. England) ... one of five finalists for 2011 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year award -- was only high school player among the five finalists, which also included Notre Dame two-time All-America forward (and U.S. U-23 National Team member) Melissa Henderson.
Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)/Olympic Development Program (ODP)/Club Team Highlights: Played for New England Mutiny in Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite during summer 2012 (one goal, two assists while starting seven matches) ... member of Region I ODP team in 2008 and 2009, participating in the ODP Thanksgiving Interregional Tournament in Florida both years ... played club soccer for eight years with FC Stars of Massachusetts, leading various age-group teams to both the USYS National Championship Series and ECNL National Championship semifinals twice ... 2011 USYS National Championship "Best 11" selection for U-18 age group (was age 16 at time of tournament) ... selected for 2011 ECNL International Tour Team that competed in England (team comprised of top 17 players in ECNL that year) ... earned invitations to the 2010 and 2011 ECNL/id2 National Camps ... invited to 2012 ECNL/id2 National Camp and chosen for 2012 ECNL International Tour Team, but had to decline due to conflict with U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team participation (Eastern European tour) ... 2010 ECNL Las Vegas and Winter Showcase All-Event Teams.
Prep & Personal: On track to graduate from Milford High School in Milford, N.H., this spring ... served as team captain and has been everyday starter on varsity team since her freshman year ... piled up 114 goals and 53 assists during her prep career, setting school and conference records for career goals ... led MHS to its first state title (Division II) as senior in 2012, when she chalked up team highs of 31 goals and 18 assists (80 points) despite playing only 15 matches because of time missed due to U.S. National Team obligations ... averaged staggering 5.33 points and 2.07 goals per match with five hat tricks as a senior ... upon return from U.S. Soccer duty, led team to 14 consecutive victories and a 16-3-1 final record, culminating with 2-1 win over Souhegan High in the state final (she scored both goals to help secure the championship) ... will be the first New Hampshire native to play for the Fighting Irish ... member of the National Technical Honor Society ... honor roll student ... daughter of Michele and Mark Andrews ... brother, Michael, formerly participated in Teach For America and remains on faculty at the same inner-city school in Boston as teacher and track & field coach ... brother, Matthew, is a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret who recently was deployed to Afghanistan.
Did You Know?: Played final two seasons on Milford High School football team, earning first-team all-state honors in 2011 as placekicker (career-long field goal of 33 yards in game, but has connected from up to 50 yards in practice) ... showed incredible versatility by beating two different teams in two different sports in two different towns on same day (Nov. 10, 2012) -- scored five goals for MHS soccer team in 8-0 win at Manchester West, then kicked game-winning 33-yard field goal to help Division III Milford upset Division I Nashua North, 24-21 ... spent one season (2011) with MHS track & field team, garnering honorable mention all-state recognition in the shot put ... MHS student government representative ... member of state championship "We The People" U.S. Constitution, History and Debate Team ... has founded and directed her own charitable organization called "Kicks For Cans", where she and area high school soccer players and coaches offer children free soccer training in exchange for a non-perishable canned food items that is donated to area food banks ... volunteers as mentor and youth soccer coach/trainer with Nashua World Cup and FC Stars of Massachusetts club programs, specifically focusing on goal-setting, healthy lifestyles and improving their game ... has participated in Milford High School theater program.
Waldrum on Andrews...
"Morgan is arguably the best player in the country. As the captain of our U-17 Youth National Team, she possesses all the qualities that a coach looks for in a player. She is very gifted technically, meaning her skill level is extremely high. She can disguise passes, control the ball under enormous pressure, she is a creative player, and she has the physical tools to change a game. Her soccer IQ is very good, and her decisions with the ball are so advanced. Morgan will come in and make an impact for us right away. What's more, I believe Morgan will fit in very well with her teammates, because she has great leadership qualities and always puts the team first. I'm extremely excited about her coming to Notre Dame, and I know our fans are going to enjoy watching her play."
KAELA LITTLE, 5-9, Goalkeeper (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley High School/TSC Hurricane)
Awards/Honors/Rankings: Ranked No. 121 in the 2013 Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player ratings (four-star ranking; No. 5 in South Region) ... 2012 Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year ... Two-time NSCAA Oklahoma Player of the Year (2011, 2012) ... Two-time NSCAA High School All-America selection (2011, 2012) ... two-time NSCAA High School All-Regional choice (2011, 2012) ... 2012 Tulsa World All-Metro Player of the Year ... two-time Tulsa World All-Metro Team pick (2011, 2012) ... two-time all-district selection (2011, 2012).
National Team Highlights: Selected for U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team camp in February 2013, competing alongside fellow signee Morgan Andrews and future Notre Dame teammates Katie Naughton and Cari Roccaro ... participated in U.S. Women's National Team Youth Goalkeeping Camp in 2012.
ODP/Club Team Highlights: Member of Region III ODP Team from 2010-12 ... chosen for Region III ODP international touring team that competed in Barcelona, Spain, in spring 2011 ... spent club soccer career with TSC Hurricane, helping lead powerful program to three Oklahoma state titles (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11), as well as 2010-11 Region III crown and regional runner-up finishes in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2011-12 ... in 2010-11, team finished as USYS National Runner-up and won USYS National League (U-16 Red) ... finished third in USYS National League in 2009-10 ... reached first round of 2011-12 ECNL Nationals ... won 2010-11 Disney Showcase and Sub-Regional Premier League ... between 2010-11 Sub-Regional Premier League, USYS National League and Region III championship, team went combined 23-0 with remarkable plus-82 goal differential, not allowing single goal in Premier League (+40) or regional tournaments (+23) -- Little appeared in 17 of those matches, and recorded 17 shutouts, while finishing the entire 2010-11 club season with 0.41 GAA ... 2011 USYS National Championship and Region III (southern regionals) Golden Glove recipient ... member of 2011 USYS National Championship "Best 11" team ... competed in 2010 and 2011 ODP Thanksgiving Interregional Tournaments ... took part in 2011 ECNL/id2 National Camp.
Prep & Personal: Will graduate from Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, Okla., later this year ... second goalkeeper in as many years to join Notre Dame program from state of Oklahoma (Edmond resident Elyse Hight became first-ever Fighting Irish player from Oklahoma when she suited up last year) ... is in the midst of her senior season at Bishop Kelley (soccer is spring sport in Oklahoma) ... in three years at BKHS (did not play varsity soccer as freshman after transferring), has piled up 27 shutouts and allowed just 23 goals in 46 career prep matches ... as senior, allowed 13 goals in 13 matches thus far ... as junior in 2011-12, played in all 17 matches, leading team to 17-0 record and Class 6A state title (plus regional and district crowns) -- recorded 12 shutouts with 0.412 goals-against average (seven goals allowed) for BKHS team ranked among top 20 nationally in all major prep polls, including No. 3 spot by ESPN RISE ... as sophomore in 2010-11 (first varsity season), appeared in 16 of 17 matches (missed one due to ODP team commitment), helping Bishop Kelley to 16-1 record and Class 5A state title (along with regional and district championships) -- collected 15 shutouts with miniscule 0.188 GAA (three goals allowed) ... during 2011 Class 5A state tournament, team did not allow a single goal, a first in Oklahoma high school girls' soccer history ... despite sitting out the 2009-10 season as a transfer, was part of Bishop Kelley squad that won Class 5A state, regional and district titles ... daughter of Melanie and Richard Little ... has younger brother, David.
Did You Know?: Has already achieved tremendous success at numerous levels of competitive soccer despite challenges brought on by being a Type I diabetic (was diagnosed when 16 months old) ... an avid reader ... traveled to Costa Rica last summer to attend her uncle's wedding ... enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity ... interested in studying sports medicine at Notre Dame.
Waldrum on Little...
"Kaela is our second player in two years to come from the state of Oklahoma. She has continued to grow as a player every year we have watched her play, as shown by her recent invitation to the U.S. U-20 National Team Camp, where she played alongside Morgan Andrews and two of our returning sophomores in Cari Roccaro and Katie Naughton. Kaela is one of the top goalkeepers in the country, and may well be our most athletic goalkeeper since LaKeysia Beene back in the late 1990s. Kaela will certainly come in and compete to play right away. She actually plays for a coach (Troy Tokarchik) who was one of my players when I coached at Tulsa. Kaela has a great field presence and communicates very well. She also has the ability to dominate in the box, and that's an area we want to improve in with our goalkeepers."
RILKA NOEL, 5-4, Forward/Midfielder (West Bloomfield, Mich./Marian High School/Michigan Hawks)
Awards/Honors/Rankings: Ranked No. 113 in the 2013 Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player ratings (four-star ranking; No. 9 in Great Lakes Region).
National Team Highlights: Part of U.S. Soccer Girls National Team Under-14 and Under-15 player pools in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
ODP/Club Team Highlights: Member of Region II ODP Team since 2010 ... part of Region II ODP team that competed in Costa Rica in 2011 (was named MVP of tournament played there) ... played for Michigan ODP squad since 2008 ... spent club career playing for powerful Michigan Hawks program ... helped Hawks to MRL, regional and state cups, as well as ECNL National Championship final-16 appearance in 2012 ... participated in Puma Women's Elite Showcase in 2011.
Prep & Personal: Slated to graduate this spring from Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. ... helped MHS to Division II state title in 2012 ... daughter of Marie and Rilck Noel ... has two brothers, Chris and Patrick ...will be seventh Michigan native to play for Notre Dame, and the first since Mia Sarkesian (1998-2001).
Did You Know?: Works closely with Summer in the City, a non-profit organization formed with partnership in Detroit during past decade ... with that organization, she has spent much of her time in Detroit's gardens as part of The Greening of Detroit project (converting empty lots into community gardens, giving local residents healthy food options through growing fruits and vegetables, as well as beautifying the neighborhood) ... also has participated in painting murals and playing with younger school children through programs created by the Summer in the City organization.
Waldrum on Noel...
"Rilka is a player we've had on our radar for some time now. She is a very versatile player for the Michigan Hawks, and we think that bodes well for her here at Notre Dame. She is very skillful, plays a very attractive passing game, and has a great soccer IQ as well. I'm impressed by how composed Rilka is with the ball, and that composure is going to allow her to play in multiple positions for us. I also love her attacking mentality, but more importantly I love the fact that she really enjoys playing a possessional style. She is going to make an impact right away for us, and she will fit in very nicely with our current team and our current style of play."
KALEIGH OLMSTED, 5-4, Forward (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands High School/Challenge SC)
Awards/Honors/Rankings: Ranked No. 144 in the 2013 Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player ratings (four-star ranking; No. 19 in Texas Region).
Club Team Highlights: Earned spot on 2012 ECNL San Diego Event All-Tournament Team ... competes for same Houston-area club program (Challenge SC) that produced current Notre Dame senior forward/midfielder Rebecca Twining.
Prep & Personal: On track to graduate this spring from The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, Texas ...team plays spring schedule (currently 9-1-2 this season, including I-10 Shootout title) ... helped TWHS to 2010 Class 5A state championship ... piled up 10 goals and 10 assists that season ...will be one of five Texas residents on 2013 Notre Dame roster, along with Twining (Houston), juniors Jennifer Jasper (Fort Worth) and Taylor Schneider (Southlake), and sophomore Glory Williams (Dallas).
Waldrum on Olmsted...
"I've watched Kaleigh for some time now and she has grown so much as a confident player. She is very deceptive with her speed and quickness, and she loves to run at people with the ball. Where I think she will help us the most is she is always dangerous in terms of creating for her teammates, or actually putting herself into great scoring positions. We really need a player that can do this for us consistently, and Kaleigh seems to fit that mold very well. She will come in and make some important contributions, just like this whole class will, and she should fit in well with our returning forwards Crystal Thomas, Anna Maria Gilbertson, and Lauren Bohaboy."
CINDY PINEDA, 5-7, Midfielder (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield East High School/Sockers FC Chicago)
Awards/Honors/Rankings: Earned all-sectional and East Aurora All-Tournament team honors as sophomore in 2010-11.
National Team Highlights: Has become a key contributor for Mexico's youth national teams ... most recently has joined Mexican U-20 Women's National Team roster for 2013 cycle ... suited up for Mexico at 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan (did not face a U.S. side that includes fellow Notre Dame signee Morgan Andrews) ...started all three matches for Mexico at U-17 WWC, earning corner-kick assist on country's lone goal in competition (1-0 win over New Zealand) ... participated with Mexico at 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Guatemala, helping team to third-place finish and qualification for U-17 WWC (appeared in all five matches, starting four times and scoring goal in group-stage win over Bahamas) ... will be fourth Notre Dame women's soccer player in school history to have experience with Mexican National Team program (either before or after tenure with Fighting Irish), joining a group that includes Monica Gerardo, Monica Gonzalez and Rebecca Mendoza ... previously part of U.S. Soccer U-14 and U-15 Girls National Team player pools in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Club Team Highlights: Plays for Sockers FC Chicago club program that also has produced current Notre Dame rising sophomores Katie Naughton and Crystal Thomas ... previously played for Chicago Fire Juniors club ... won 2010 Disney Showcase and 2011 MRL Premier Division titles with Chicago Fire Juniors ... also competed in USYS National League in 2011-12.
Prep & Personal: Preparing to graduate later this year from Plainfield East High School in Plainfield, Ill. ... best season came in 2010-11 when she piled up team highs of 21 goals and 11 assists ... led PEHS to regional title in 2011-12 and East Aurora Tournament crown in 2010-11 ... daughter of Gloria and Victor Pineda ... older brother, Victor, plays for Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer (MLS) as its first homegrown player and one of its youngest (currently age 19); he also is presently part of U.S. Soccer U-20 National Team player pool (after prior stints at U-17 and U-18 levels) ... younger brother, Mauricio (15), plays for Chicago Fire Academy U16s (academy is youth club affiliate for MLS franchise) ... continues tradition of outstanding talent matriculating to Notre Dame women's soccer program from Illinois (specifically Chicagoland area) ... will be one of four Chicago-area products on 2013 Fighting Irish roster, along with junior Sammy Scofield and sophomores Katie Naughton and Crystal Thomas ... excellent student who has maintained better than 5.0 grade-point average (adjusted) throughout high school ... earned high honor roll status all four years of high school ... member of French club and National French Honors Society ... chosen as Illinois State Scholar for 2013-14 by Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).
Did You Know?: Has appeared on local Spanish-language television channel (Univision) as the youngest of its "Lideres en Accion" (Leaders in Action) ... has interest in pursuing a career in health care or sports medicine/physical therapy fields.
Waldrum on Pineda...
"Cindy has played for several Mexican Youth National Teams and participated in the U-17 Youth World Cup along with Morgan Andrews. Cindy is a very skillful central midfielder with great vision and playmaking ability. She is also very dangerous on set pieces and will bring a bit of flair to her play. She is strong, has good size and a great soccer brain. Cindy will contribute right away to our team, and will compete with a very good midfield next season. I've watched her for over two years now, and it's great to see the progress she has made. There's a good chance our fans may get a sneak peek at Cindy, as she will play against us this spring when Mexico comes back to town to play the Irish on April 5 at Alumni Stadium (7 p.m. ET kickoff)."
SANDRA YU, 5-4, Midfielder (Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit High School/Cleveland Internationals)
Awards/Honors/Rankings: Ranked No. 30 in the 2013 Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player ratings (four-star ranking; No. 1 in Great Lakes Region) ... two-time Gatorade Ohio High School Player of the Year (2010, 2012) ... two-time NSCAA Youth All-America Team pick (2011, 2012) ... 2012 NSCAA High School All-America choice ... 2010 ESPNHS first-team All-America honoree ... 2012 Miss Ohio Soccer by Ohio Soccer Coaches Association (OSCA) ... 2012 Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Touchdown Club Player of the Year ... three-time selection to Cleveland Plain Dealer "Best of the Best" Team (2009, 2010, 2012) ... named ESPNHS National Player of the Week (2010).
National Team Highlights: Has been regular in the U.S. Soccer youth national team system since 2009 ... chosen for player pools at the U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-18 levels, most recently taking part in June 2012 camp with U-18 Women's National Team.
ODP/Club Team Highlights: Member of Region II ODP Team from 2008-12 ... played in ODP Thanksgiving Interregional Tournaments in 2008, 2009 and 2010 ... joined ODP Region II roster for 2008 trip to Costa Rica ... also a regular on the Ohio North ODP Team since 2008 ... played final club soccer season (U-18s) with Cleveland Internationals after previously competing with Cleveland FC through U-17 level.
Prep & Personal: On track to graduate this spring from Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio ... tallied 53 goals and 50 assists (156 points) during prep career, despite missing all but seven matches as a junior (2011) with injury ... had personal-best 18 goals as both sophomore (2010) and senior (2012), and personal-best 20 assists as a senior (along with 17 assists in sophomore season) ... led Walsh Jesuit to 2010 ESPN RISE national championship, as well as state championships in 2010 (Division I) and 2012 (Division II) ... school also earned four regional titles and reached state semifinals each of her four prep seasons (2009-12) ... hails from same high school as recent Notre Dame graduate and standout forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (a third-team all-region and NCAA College Cup All-Tournament pick in 2010 after leading Fighting Irish to their third national championship), as well as the Tulisiak sisters, Kelly (1998-2001) and Kate (2001-04) ... followed much same high school path as Augustin (two state titles, one national title, All-America honors and Gatorade state player of the year award), and even finished tied with Augustin on Walsh Jesuit's career points list ... daughter of Barbara and Gerard Yu ... has older brother (Jason) and three older sisters (Nicole, Ashley and Cheryl) ... along with Augustin, other recent notable Ohio natives who played for Notre Dame include Maple Heights product Amanda Cinalli (2004-07) and Brecksville resident Courtney Rosen (2006-09).
Did You Know?: Played one season of varsity basketball (as freshman in 2009-10 alongside older sister, Cheryl), helping Walsh Jesuit to Division II state semifinals ... in spare time, enjoys volunteering at local nursing home and with Salvation Army ... also has served as mentor and coach for local youth soccer players ... would like to study pre-med at Notre Dame.
Waldrum on Yu...
"Another member of our U.S. Soccer youth national team system, Sandra is a very dynamic midfield player. She is a tireless worker in midfield, and has all the playmaking qualities that we look for here at Notre Dame. She is skillful, very intelligent, and has great vision when she has the ball. Sandra will certainly come in right away and have the opportunity to play an important role on an already-talented team. I'm so excited to have her as a part of our program, as we've been watching her for a few years now. She is a great fit for our team chemistry and will have those off-the-field qualities that we look for, such as leadership, sportsmanship, and a commitment to excellence. Her technical abilities will allow us to continue to develop our possession style, and I look forward to working with her."
2013 NOTRE DAME WOMEN'S SOCCER LETTER OF INTENT SIGNEES
NAME POS. HT. HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB
Morgan Andrews M 5-9 Milford, N.H./Milford HS/FC Stars of Massachusetts
Kaela Little GK 5-9 Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley HS/TSC Hurricane
Rilka Noel F/M 5-4 West Bloomfield, Mich./Marian HS/Michigan Hawks
Kaleigh Olmsted F 5-4 The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS/Challenge SC
Cindy Pineda M 5-7 Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield East HS/Sockers FC Chicago
Sandra Yu M 5-4 Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit HS/Cleveland Internationals
-- ND --