March 10, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The defending national champion University of Portland women's soccer team has signed five high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, coach Garrett Smith announced on Thursday. The class consists of a Canadian National Team member, two U.S. Under-17 National Team up-and-comers and a pair of club and high school teammates from Federal Way, Wash.
The five-member group has received early acclaim as the No. 8 class in the nation according to Soccer Buzz's preliminary recruiting rankings.
"This group is a good mix of offensive-minded players," Smith said. "With our core group of defensive players being juniors and seniors, it was important to bring in some offense. These recruits are goal-scorers, which is exactly what we had in mind."
Sophie Schmidt (Abbotsford, B.C., Canada/WJ Mouat Secondary School) is the latest highly-touted Canadian to join the Pilots roster, and rated as one of the top international recruits according to Soccer Buzz. Schmidt is a midfielder/defender on the Canadian World Cup Team, playing alongside former Pilot and two-time reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner Christine Sinclair. The 17-year-old already has 13 caps with the full team and two goals. Schmidt is also the captain of the Canadian U-20 National Team, where she made her debut in November of 2004.
"Sophie enters with a wealth of international experience," said Smith. "She began her national team career at a young age and she will be ready to play when she gets to campus. Sophie is the only defensive-minded recruit among this group of five."
Schmidt plays on the club level for the Vancouver Whitecaps, which recently signed Sinclair and former UP standout Tiffeny Milbrett. She scored one goal in five games for the Whitecaps in 2005. Schmidt previously played for the Abbotsford Rush club team in 2004.
Kendra Chandhoke (Morrison, Colo./Heritage HS) is rated as the No. 7 individual recruit by Soccer Buzz in the nation and has participated with the U.S. Youth National Teams since 2002 and is currently a member of the U-17 squad. A National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Youth All-America in 2005, Chandhoke was also a member of the U.S. U-17 adidas All-Star Team. She has traveled to Brazil with the U-17s and been with the Region IV team to Costa Rica in the last two years.
"Kendra is a proven goal-scorer at the U-17 level," Smith noted. "She will be a known freshman by the end of next year. She is very smooth up front and I'd expect to see her contribute early and often."
A four-time first team all-state selection - twice at Mullen and twice at Heritage High School - Chandhoke also guided her club teams to multiple state titles. Originally a member of the Colorado Rush, Chandhoke joined Real Colorado in 2004 and has led Real in scoring since.
Michelle Enyeart (Hemet, Calif./Hemet HS) joins Chandhoke as an emerging U.S. national teamer. Enyeart has participated in U-16 and U-17 camps for the last two years. Enyeart plays club soccer for the defending national champion Laguna Hills Eclipse. She was awarded the Golden Boot Award in leading the Eclipse to the 2005 U.S. Youth Soccer Championship. Enyeart also helped the Cal South Olympic Development Team to a third place finish at the 2005 ODP Nationals and was again awarded the Golden Boot Award.
"Michelle is a hard-nosed attacker," said Smith. "You want her with the ball going at a defender when you need a goal. Her and Kendra offer different dynamics as scorers, but both can put it in the back of the net."
Megan Sweeney (Federal Way, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) and Janelle Jacka (Federal Way, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) have been high school and club teammates for the FC Royals, which has won six of the last seven Washington state club championships and advanced to the Region IV quarterfinals in both 2002 and 2003. The duo also led Bellarmine Prep to the 2004 Washington State High School title and a runner-up finish in 2003.
Sweeney has captained the Royals for the last two seasons, after joining the team in 2002. She attended the 2003 ODP Regional Camp and played one season with the Washington State ODP team. A midfielder by nature, Smith was impressed by her work ethic.
"Megan is someone that you can't help but notice on the field," he said. "She plays hard and makes things happen."
Jacka has been a member of all six Royals' state titles and has been with the squad for seven seasons. She was a two-time All-Narrows League selection at Bellarmine and also excelled for two seasons as a track star. Jacka was a Washington State 4A semifinalist in both the 400M and 4x400M team relay as a sophomore, before focusing on soccer in the spring of her junior and senior seasons.
"Janelle is a very athletic and speedy offensive player," Smith said. "She has great pace and is a proven winner. I think both Megan and Janelle will be great fits with our program."