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Speed is one aspect of Kelsey Gilbert’s game that helps her stand out on the soccer field.
A tough, tenacious and athletic defender, Gilbert likes to use her pace to get into the attack and help her team find a way to score goals. At the same time, she is able to recover and handle the pressure other teams throw at her.
The New England native didn’t have to look far from home for the ideal collegiate package.
“After visiting many schools and programs, I decided to commit to Providence because it offers me what I am looking for both academically and athletically,” Gilbert told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “Their soccer program is part of the Big East Conference, which is very strong and offers me the chance to play close to home.”
While not known for its soccer prowess historically, she found plenty to like about the program and the direction it is heading in under head coach Sam Lopes.
“On my first visit I could see there was a very positive atmosphere and it was obvious that all the players really enjoyed being there,” Gilbert said. “I am very impressed with coach Sam Lopes, coach Bak, and coach Pinhancos. Their communication with me has made me very comfortable with my decision, they have made it very clear where they see me fitting in with their vision for this team. Coach Lopes has very high expectations for his players both on and off the field and I am excited for the chance to both meet and exceed those expectations.”
The size of a school matters to most recruits as well, and it was yet another trait that fit what Gilbert was looking for in the ideal university.
“Providence is a smaller campus in a beautiful setting with a great sense of community,” she explained. While visiting the school and attending some games it was obvious how much the student body and staff support their athletes. It didn't take long for me to realize that Providence is the perfect place for me to play soccer and also get an incredible education.”
Briana Denny, Defender, FC Pride
A team captain on her FC Pride club team, Briana Denny found the right college for her without looking out of state.
“I committed to IUPUI because I felt at home,” she told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I loved all the players and the coaches and the way they made me feel part of the team even though I wasn't yet.”
The current crop of players she saw on campus was a tight-knot group, an environment that she is eager to be a part of down the road.
“I liked how close the girls on the team were and how highly they spoke of the coaches and how much respect they had for them, like family would,” Denny said. “They always work to get better and as a team.”
Defender Aliya El-Sabeh (Michigan Hawks) committed to Saginaw Valley State for the class of 2015.