Girls Recruiting Insider: May 7

Girls Recruiting Insider: May 7
by J.R. Eskilson & Travis Clark
May 7, 2012

In this week’s girls recruiting insider, players from North Carolina, California, Nevada, and Michigan discuss their options with college recruiting and how they plan on narrowing their lists.

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Mary Gracin PalmerMary Gracin Palmer

Mary Gracin Palmer, Forward, CASL Chelsea
Class: 2014
Top 150 Rank: 104

A strong and hardworking forward from North Carolina, this past season has been more about recovering from a knee injury than the college search for Gracin Palmer.

However, that’s not to say she hasn’t been active, and after making a full recovery, she’s been making visits and talking to coaches and try and see what works best.

“I didn't want to get ahead of myself by thinking about colleges until I was back on track physically,” Palmer wrote in an email. “I am feeling great now.”

The recent injury has drastically impacted her college search, giving her a much deeper perspective on what she is looking for.

“When I hurt my knee I realized that your life can change in an instant,” she said. “As much as I love playing soccer I've got to be sure that the other aspects of a school are right for me too. I want to love where I am soccer-wise and otherwise.”

Having made several visits, Palmer has come away from each on with a strong impression of the programs she’s seen.

“I have been impressed with the time that the coaches spent with me and the tours that we got,” she said. “It was great getting both an athletic tour and then an academic tour.”

Now wrapping up her sophomore year, Palmer has targeted the next school year to make a verbal commitment.
“Probably in my junior year but I'm just going with when it feels right,” she explained. “I am really starting to enjoy the process now that I am back on track physically. And I think when the time is right to commit I'll know it.”


Hannah Lopiccolo, Forward, West Coast FC
Class: 2014
Top 150 rank: 39

Hannah Lopiccolo, a standout forward for West Coast FC and Tesoro High School, is enjoying the thrill ride of the recruiting process.

“It’s been exciting and scary to realize that I’m only a sophomore and I have to make this big decision so early,” Lopiccolo told “I’m honored so many schools have expressed interest [in me].”

The striker with youth national team experience said that her faith is an important part of the decision.

“I would love to attend a Catholic school,” Lopiccolo said. “Also, I’m interested in going to a Division I soccer school that has strong academics as well.”

So far, the communication channels have been open and Lopiccolo said that she has been in contact with ‘many schools.’

“It’s still early in the process, and my options are wide open,” she added. “I want to be patient and make the right decision for me. I’ll be focusing in on my top choices over the next few months. I’m not in a rush at all.”

Kelsey Thein, Defender, Heat FC
Class: 2014
Top 150 rank: 148

There are few teams in the nation that can claim as many players in our 2014 Top 150 Player Ranking as Heat FC U16.

With five players in the top150, it is safe to say Heat FC has a very talented roster. Defedner Kelsey Thein is one of those five, and also an anchor at fullback for the Nevada club.

As one of the stars from that team, Thein has attracted interest from a number of schools across the country, which she has welcomed with open ears.

“I’ve played my whole soccer career in Nevada and Southern California, I’m hoping to experience something different [in college],” Thein said. “I’ve had schools from different parts of the country express interest – schools from the Big 10, the Big 12, and the MAC.”

The defender also said she had been divided when thinking about the overall experience with the recruiting process.
“The recruiting process has brought up some mixed emotions for me,” Thein said. “On one hand, it's exciting to be playing in the ECNL events and College Showcases with college coaches watching and evaluating our play. I've always held the goal of playing soccer in college, every since I first started playing.  It is rewarding to know that my hard work has paid off, when coaches speak to my club coach about the kind of player I am, even though I may not have written to them.

“It's also exciting to go on unofficial visits to these schools and meet with athletic directors, deans of Honor Colleges, the women's soccer coaching staff and current players to find out all about their campus and program. On the other hand, it is a little scary to think that a decision I make in the near future will affect my life beginning two years from now.”

As for her long-term plans, Thein said she plans to have a career in medicine and she is making sure her potential destination has that covered.

She also loves football, and wants to land at a school that really supports its athletic programs.

Cassie Phillips, Midfielder, Michigan Hawks
Class: 2015
Possible Schools: Virginia, Notre Dame, Kentucky, UCLA, Miami(FL)(w)

Nearing the end of her freshmen year of high school, Cassie Phillips has already made a handful of visits to programs across the country.

“When looking at colleges, I am looking for a school that I feel strongly connected with. I prefer a college with a competitive soccer program that will push me to become a better soccer player and a better person,” she wrote in an email. “The academics of the school are equally important as well, and I want to go to a school that makes me feel at home.”

At the moment, I am in no hurry to make a decision. I still have plenty of other options ahead, and have several other schools I plan on visiting before I start narrowing down my search. I really want to make sure that I choose the school that fits me best.

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