Feb. 6, 2002
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. --University of Illinois head women's soccer coach Tricia Taliaferro announced today that five outstanding individuals have signed national letters of intent to become student-athletes at Illinois beginning in the fall of 2002.
"I'm very happy about our recruiting class," Taliaferro said. "There are several players who will be able to make an immediate impact in the program. The team will be well balanced with the core group of returning athletes and the talented newcomers. We are preparing to take the next step in the development of the program."
Defender Kelly Campbell will be joining the Illini from Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Md. She was named a high school All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She was a three-time team captain of the Gaithersburg Trojan squad as well as an all-South selection. Campbell also played for the Bethesda Dragons club team that won four Maryland state championhips as well as the regional title in 1999. Campbell participated in the Olympic Development Program (ODP) where her Region I Under-16 squad was the national runner-up in 2000.
According to Taliaferro: "Kelly is a dominate and tenacious defender. I think she will have an early impact on the team. She has tremendous speed and she's technically sophisticated with a great tactical understanding of the game."
Paula Faherty is a midfielder from Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. Faherty's Bruins squad has reached the state quarterfinals each of the past three seasons as well as making a trip to the Virginia Final Four in 2000. The Springfield, Va.-native earned all-district and all-region honors as well as being named to the all-metro team by the Washington Post. She also played for the BRYC Bleu Belles and the Chantilly Hurricanes club teams. Faherty is a standout athlete in both soccer and field hockey, but has decided to focus on soccer in college.
Taliaferro praised Faherty's game saying: "Paula is a smart player with great vision and understanding. She can attack off the dribble and the pass. She's a very crafty player who can unbalance the defense to create advantages for herself and her teammates. Her focus on soccer should help her to develop in the environment that has been created here."
Christen Karniski is a co-valedictorian with her twin sister,Natasha, at Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa. Christen is a first-team all-conference and all-state tournament defender. Her Trojan squad has made the state semifinals for the past three seasons, advancing to the finals in 2000. Her Iowa Invasion club team won the State Cup in 2001. Karniski has been a member of the Iowa ODP team for five years. The team was the Region II champions in 1999 and the Under-19 squad won the Norway Cup in 2000.
"Christen has played at a high level, and she is only going to get better," Taliaferro said. "The transition from high school to college should be easy for her because of her tactical understanding of the game and her physical presence on the field."
The other co-valedictorian at Iowa City West High School is Natasha Karniski. Playing in the midfield, she is a second-team all-conference selection for the Trojan squad that has made three consecutive trips to the Iowa state semi-finals and played in the finals in 2000. The 2001 State Cup went to her Iowa Invasion club team. She has spent five years playing for the Iowa ODP team. The squad won the Region II championship in 1999 as well as taking the Under-19 Norway Cup in 2000.
Taliaferro noted Karniski's athleticism saying: "Natasha has great stamina and is developing strongly on both sides of the ball. She will be effective at putting the ball in the box to create opportunities for her teammates."
Laura Redmond is a forward from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va. She is an all-district, all-region and all-metro selection in soccer as well as earning all-district honors in cross country. She played for the Richmond Strikers and the Chantilly Hurricanes club teams as well as being a four-year member of the Virginia ODP state team and a member of the Region I pool.
"Laura is excellent at taking defenders one-on-one," Taliaferro said. "She's very crafty and creates good scoring opportunities. She has an offensive presence on the field and will be a threat to other teams' defenses.