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For Erin Gilroy, Tennessee offered up everything she was looking for a next level home.
“I decided to commit to Tennessee because I loved the city of Knoxville and felt that Tennessee was the best fit for me athletically and academically,” Gilroy told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I would like to grow as a player and student and I believe UT is where I can achieve these goals.”
A hard-working attacking force in the ECNL, Gilroy is looking to make an impact for her U16 team this season. The soccer program’s coaching staff, led by head coach Brian Pensky, also made a significant impression on her, as she quickly took to the environment she saw with the team.
“I loved the coaching staff and how all the players were close knit,” she said. “I believe Tennessee is a great soccer program that will keep improving throughout the years and I wanted to be apart of that. I am a very competitive player and I believe the SEC will challenge me to become a better player.”
Safe to say there was a bump in the road for Stephanie Shin during her college search.
She originally committed to Columbia under the old coaching staff, but when head coach Tracey Bartholomew took the reins in December, Shin got to know the new regime and came away immediately impressed.
“When I reconnected with Columbia and the new coaching staff, everything finally clicked,” Shin said. “While Coach Tracey talked about the importance of academics to a student athlete, she also stressed that she wanted to make the Columbia soccer program a very close second in terms of our priorities. Her visions to get us there reaffirmed that this school is truly just the right fit for me from every aspect.”
Shin, a top midfielder from the D.C. metro area who places an emphasis on her technical ability, said she was also eager to live close to New York City.
“There is so much about this school that I like,” she said. “It’s the right size; not too big and not too small. I suppose you either love or hate New York City but I have always loved it because of its cultural and ethnic diversity. It’s important for me to go to a school that is as diverse as most of the real world out there and NYC is the original melting pot. I love the rush of the city. When I visited Columbia I fell in love with the campus with its mixture of modern and old style architecture. I especially loved their athletic facilities and soccer field.”
Defender Emily Martin (Heat FC) committed to Texas for the class of 2016.
Goalkeeper Lauren Spencer (Michigan Hawks) committed to Hawaii Pacific for the class of 2015.
Goalkeeper Anna Tapen (FC Virginia) committed to George Washington for the class of 2015.
Midfielder Ella Bonner (Beach FC – VA) committed to NC State for the class of 2015.
Goalkeeper Jessica Yanez (Penn Fusion) committed to Tennessee for the class of 2015.
Defender Shannon Lewis (Sereno SC) committed to Paradise Valley Community College for the class of 2014.