March 3, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Having already secured the nation's No. 3-ranked incoming freshman class according to Top Drawer Soccer, the University of Notre Dame women's soccer program announced Monday it added an 11th student-athlete to this elite group when Karin Muya, a 5-6 forward from London, England (Burntwood School/Chelsea Ladies FC), signed her National Letter of Intent to enroll at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2014.
Muya will be the first English-born player to suit up for the Fighting Irish, as well as the ninth international player in program history. Previously, Notre Dame has welcomed players from Canada, Finland and Iceland, all of whom have played significant roles in the program's success, which has been highlighted by its three NCAA national championships and 12 NCAA Women's College Cup appearances.
"We're extremely excited to have Karin joining our Irish family all the way from London," Notre Dame assistant coach Dawn Greathouse said. "Karin's quickness and pace will bring a new dimension to our front line. She has the total package, as someone who is athletic and technical enough to break defenses down on her own, combined with the tactical awareness to blend so well with her teammates.
"At the end of the day, to put it simply, she's a goalscorer," Greathouse added. "You can't say enough about someone who can put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis. Her experiences with Chelsea, as well as with several of England's youth national teams including the U19s, will have her more than prepared to come in and make an immediate impact for us here at Notre Dame."
Muya is one of the rising stars in England's youth national team program, currently competing with her country's Under-19 team and most recently as part of a U19 camp in January to help identify the England roster that will compete in the 2014 UEFA European U19 Qualifiers in April (she scored a goal in the 71st minute of a friendly against the Norway U19s late in the camp, the match ending in a 4-4 draw). She will again suit up for the England U19s from March 5-13 at a three-match event in La Manga, Spain, as the Young Lions play Ireland, France and Italy in a series of friendlies.
Muya previously represented her country with several other youth national teams, beginning at the 2007 U12 Danone Nations Cup in Lyon, France.
In addition to her national team experience, Muya has risen through the ranks with the Chelsea Ladies Football Club, graduating from the club's Centre of Excellence, which she trained with since the age of 10. She also has spent significant time with the Chelsea Reserves, and late in 2013, she was recalled to the club's top team, Chelsea Ladies, which competes in the FA WSL (formerly the FA Women's Super League), the top division of women's soccer in England.
While with Chelsea Ladies late last season, Muya trained alongside veteran England National Team striker Eniola Aluko and appeared in two matches, scoring her first FA WSL goal in the 81st minute of a 3-2 loss to Everton Ladies on Sept. 1.
Muya also was a key contributor on the Chelsea Ladies' Under-17 Team that won the "domestic double" in 2011-12, winning both the league title and the FA Girls' Youth Cup trophy, the latter on penalties (6-5) against Arsenal Ladies after the teams played to a 2-2 draw.
In the classroom, Muya is matriculating from Burntwood School in London. She is the third of four children born to parents Pam and Beatrice, along with older brothers Dita and Timothy, and younger sister Naomi.
Muya and her 10 fellow incoming Notre Dame freshmen will join an experienced Fighting Irish roster that is expected to return seven starters and 23 veterans from last year's squad that posted a 13-8-1 record (7-5-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), while advancing to the third round of the NCAA Championship and finishing in the top 20 of both major national polls (14th by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America; 19th by Soccer America).
Notre Dame will be led by the versatile junior-to-be Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip), currently the captain of the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team that will compete in this summer's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada, and a first-team NSCAA All-Southeast Region and all-ACC selection, as well as the 2012 Soccer America Freshman of the Year and a 2012 third-team NSCAA All-American.
Joining Roccaro will be 2013 ACC Freshman of the Year and NSCAA third-team all-region choice, rising sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford) and junior-to-be Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove), a 2012 third-team all-conference defender, with both Andrews and Naughton playing alongside Roccaro on the U.S. U-20 National Team that won the CONCACAF U-20 Championship last month in the Cayman Islands.
Notre Dame will kick off its 2014 spring schedule at 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT) March 22 when it travels to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on defending BIG EAST Conference champion Marquette at Valley Fields. The Fighting Irish will also visit Michigan (March 30; 3 p.m. ET) before returning to campus for their final four spring matches, beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) April 2 at Alumni Stadium against the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).
After taking on Valparaiso on April 13 (1 p.m. ET at the ND Practice Field), Notre Dame will play two international friendlies to close out its spring slate, facing Haiti on April 23 (8 p.m. ET) and Mexico on April 25 (5 p.m. ET), with both matches scheduled for Alumni Stadium.
Tickets for all matches at Alumni Stadium are on sale through the Notre Dame Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 during normal business hours or going online to UND.com/tickets.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), 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.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director