McGuire announces six in 2016 signing class

by California Athletic Communications
February 4, 2016

California women’s soccer has signed six standout student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, head coach Neil McGuire announced Wednesday. The class is headlined by a pair of United States youth internationals, forward/midfielder Abigail Kim and midfielder Mia Corbin, who both hail from the state of Washington. Also in this strong class are Canadian youth international midfielder Avery Lakeman, as well as California natives; midfielder Maggie Bell, forward Kayla Fong and midfielder Ana Gil.

“We are very pleased with our 2016 signing class,” head coach Neil McGuire said on Thursday. “First and foremost these women are committed academically and are excited to be coming to our great university. Secondly, having lost many highly talented players to graduation, it was important that we added players who had similar skill sets. In this class we have added players with high soccer IQ’s and skill. They are also blessed with great speed, energy and competitiveness. We look forward to seeing them grow alongside their new teammates here in Berkeley."

Kim is a member of the U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team player pool, after having been called in to multiple camps in 2015. She is a two-time state champion at the club level with the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club, and also helped guide her Seattle Christian high school team to the 1A state title as a senior this past fall, while being named the Class 1A’s Most Valuable Player in the process.

“Abi is blessed with exceptional speed and explosion,” McGuire said of Kim’s inclusion in the class. “With that type of skill set, she can be very dangerous in the final third. Along with her athletic abilities, she brings a good 1v1 mentality and a skill set that will allow her to be a threat from in front of, as well as behind the defensive line."

Corbin, another Washington native, was teammates with Kim at the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club and was a two-time state champion alongside her fellow signee. She was selected as a Gatorade National Player of the Year nominee this past year, as well as named the 2014-15 Female Athlete of the Year by NBC King 5 for her performances with her soccer and softball programs at Tahoma high school in Washington.

“Mia is an exciting attacking player who can penetrate with the pass or dribble,” McGuire added. “She has a wonderful feel for the game and can either create for herself or others. She is a powerful shooter from distance and an aerial threat on set pieces."

Lakeman, an Edmonton, Alberta, native and member of the Canadian youth national team set-up, represented her country at the 2014 U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, as well as at the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Championships with the U-17 squad. Her ability to work tirelessly on both ends of the field is a very welcomed addition to the Cal program.

“Avery is a seasoned midfield player with a great soccer IQ and feel for the game,” McGuire said of Lakeman. “She is conscientious on both sides of the ball and a committed competitor. Her passing game and composure will be a nice addition to our program."

Bell, a Granite Bay, California, native joins the Bears after playing her club soccer for Placer United Soccer Club for the past decade. She spent three of those years participating in the ODP program. An early enrollee in Berkeley, Bell played three seasons at Granite Bay high school on the varsity team, where she was an All-Sierra Foothill League MVP during her sophomore season, and was a First Team All-League selection as both a sophomore and junior. She tallied a total of 26 goals in 42 career appearances for the Granite Bay Grizzlies.

“Maggie is an outstanding athlete with a gifted left foot,” McGuire continued. “She can play anywhere on the left flank, as well as in the center forward role. Maggie can create for others but can also score goals. In choosing to enroll at Cal early, she has showed her commitment to excellence."

Fong, a Belmont, California, native was a member of the De Anza Force soccer club, and played her high school soccer at Carlmont high school. She helped the Force to a national championship in 2013, as well as third place finishes in 2014 and 2015. She was named to the TopDrawerSoccer ECNL Best XI in 2013, and averaged 24 goals and seven assists per season for the past three years.

“Kayla is a renowned goal scorer who has an innate ability to find ways to put the ball in the back of the net,” McGuire said. “She is comfortable with both feet, which makes her very difficult to defend inside the 18-yard box."

Gil, a San Diego native, heads to northern California to join the Bears’ program. A tremendous club pedigree from Surf Soccer Club that includes multiple State and National Cup Championships, culminated in 2014, when she helped lead Surf to an ECNL national title; topping 78 other foes. Gil was also a four-year varsity standout at Vista high school.

“Ana is a fierce competitor and a talented midfielder who has the ability to impact the game in several ways,” McGuire added. “Ana is tenacious in the tackle, has great passing range forward and also understands how to dictate the tempo of the game very well."

The six new additions to the program bolster a team that has reached the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament in 12 consecutive seasons and produced a number of professional players on both the domestic and international level, which recently has included U.S. Women’s National Team superstar Alex Morgan, New Zealand Football Ferns’ starter Betsy Hassett, Liverpool Ladies players Katrin Omarsdottir and Nina Pedersen, as well as Rachel Mercik (FFC Turbine Potsdam), Genessee Daughetee (Montpellier Hérault), Emily Kruger (KR Reykjavik) and most recently, the No. 10 overall pick in the National Women’s Soccer League, Samantha Witteman (Orlando Pride). In 2015, Cal boasted the 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year in Arielle Ship and produced a 13-6-3 record, falling in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Read more about the six Cal signings below.

Name: Abigail Kim

Position: Forward/Midfielder

Hometown: Vashon, Wash.

High School: Seattle Christian HS

Why She Chose Cal:
“Ever since I was young my dream was to play soccer at a high level college. I survived a difficult early childhood in Liberia in West Africa and growing up in an adopted family has kept me looking for the bigger picture in life -- things that can only be accomplished with a great education. The University of California, Berkeley was my top choice because it combines everything I have hoped for; a great soccer program, excellent academics, and an amazing campus in a beautiful location. It is a perfect fit for me, and one that I hope will help me achieve even greater goals.”

High School:
Attended Seattle Christian HS in Seattle, Wash. … Class 1A Most Valuable Player as selected by the Washington State Soccer Coaches Association as a senior in 2015 and honorable mention as a junior … Member of the Star Times All-Star team in 2015, as selected by the Seattle Times … Helped lead Seattle Christian to the 1A state title, having scored 41 goals in 20 matches … Nisqually League MVP as a freshman and Offensive MVP as a sophomore.

Club:
Played under Viet Nguyen at the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club alongside fellow signee Mia Corbin … Guided team to the 2013 and 2014 state championships … Was invited to play with the United States U-18 women’s national team this past year.

Personal:
Born in Liberia and grew up with an adopted family in the Seattle area … Also competed in track and field for Seattle Christian, helping the team to three consecutive state titles … Enjoys community service endeavors and was a volunteer server for community meals for the homeless at the Vashon Island Interfaith Council on Homelessness.

Name: Mia Corbin

Position: Midfielder

Hometown: Maple Valley, Wash.

High School: Tahoma HS

Why She Chose Cal:
“I chose Cal because I loved the environment; not only did I choose a place with a great education factor, but I also chose a team that works together and is a family that pushes one another to get better every day with the goal of winning a National Championship. I wanted to be a part of a program that not only makes me better for my future but one where the team benefits as well.”

High School:
Attended Tahoma HS in Maple Valley, Wash. … Gatorade National Player of the Year Nominee … Named the NBC King 5 High School Athlete of the Year in 2015 after her junior year, contributing to the success of Tahoma’s soccer and softball programs … South Puget Sound League Co-MVP and First Team selection as a senior in 2015 … Named All-Area First Team in all four years in both soccer and softball.

Club:
Played under Viet Nguyen at the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club alongside fellow signee Abigail Kim … Played as a Discovery Player for Crossfire Premier Soccer Club in 2015 and helped lead the team to a second place finish at the National Cup … Helped Pacific Northwest Soccer Club to two state championships and a second place finish at regionals … Member of the U-19 U.S. women’s national team player pool … Member of Elite Player Development (EPD) and Olympic Development Program (ODP) for five years.

Personal:
Two-sport student-athlete in high school; excelling on the soccer field, as well as the softball diamond … Tremendous academically as well, posting a 3.96 grade-point-average … Plans to study kinesiology … Very active in community outreach, volunteering at the Federal Way Food Bank over the course of the last six years.

Name: Avery Lakeman

Position: Midfielder

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

High School: Jasper Place HS

Why She Chose Cal:
“I chose Cal because I loved the environment; not only did I choose a place with a great education factor, but I also chose a team that works together and is a family that pushes one another to get better every day with the goal of winning a National Championship. I wanted to be a part of a program that not only makes me better for my future but one where the team benefits as well.”

High School:
Attended Jasper Place high school in Edmonton, Alberta.

Club:
Played for the Edmonton Drillers … Represented her native Canada in the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica … Member of the U-17 team that won the silver medal at the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Championships in Jamaica … Debuted for her country with the U-17’s at the age of 15.

Personal:
Born and raised in Edmonton … Started playing soccer at the age of three in the Windsor Park Community League … Enjoys music, playing drums, running, hockey and reading.

Name: Maggie Bell

Position: Midfielder

Hometown: Granite Bay, Calif.

High School: Granite Bay HS

Why She Chose Cal:
“Cal offers everything I am looking for out of a collegiate experience; from being the number one public university in the nation academically, to being one of the top soccer programs in the country, it really is a dream come true. I was immediately drawn to Cal’s program with their possession style of play and ‘good soccer mentality’. Cal being a member of the PAC-12 and getting to face talented opponents week in and week out was another positive factor for me. Besides the soccer aspect, Berkeley is also an unbeatable location, with great weather and its unique urban environment, it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Both the team and coaching staff made me realize what an amazing program Cal has to offer and there is no place I’d rather call home during my collegiate years.”

High School:
Attended Granite Bay high school in Granite Bay, California ... Scored 26 goals in 42 appearances for the Grizzlies during her three years of varsity competition … Enrolled early at Cal, forgoing her senior season … Named the Sierra Foothill League’s most valuable player as a sophomore … All-League First Team selection as both a sophomore and junior.

Club:
Played for Placer United Soccer Club … Member of the club for the past 10 years … Spent three years with the Olympic Development Program with the Cal-North State team, as well as the Region IV team.

Name: Kayla Fong

Position: Forward

Hometown: Belmont, Calif.

High School: Carlmont HS

Why She Chose Cal:
“My family has a fairly long history with the university, but the main reasons why I decided to attend Cal are simple: it has a highly competitive Division 1 women’s soccer team and is widely considered the best public university in the nation. Although the soccer team is consistently ranked nationally and has appeared in the NCAA tournament for 12 consecutive years, meeting the coaching staff for the first time convinced me that Cal was the right place for me. I admired that Coach McGuire had built a reputation for leading successful teams both on and off the field. It was evident that the coaching staff had done their homework, as Coach McGuire was very familiar with my soccer style, system, strengths and areas for improvement. I was also very familiar with the teams that Coach (Chris) Lemay had coached, as his Surf teams were always highly rated and considered the class of the competition. Academically, the colleges at UC Berkeley are highly regarded, especially in my areas of interest; Biological Sciences and Business Administration. I’m really looking forward to bonding with my teammates, making new friends and interacting with the unique and diverse student population at Cal. Not only do I consider Cal to be located in one of the best areas of the world, staying in the San Francisco Bay Area will also allow opportunities for my family and friends to see me represent the university on the pitch. Both my parents and my brother graduated from Cal and I am proud to be continuing that tradition. Go Bears!”

High School:
Attended Carlmont HS where she was a four-year starter varsity team … Co-Captain for the last three years (2014-2016) ... Named Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) Freshman of the Year in 2013 ... Team’s top goal scorer for three consecutive years and named Carlmont’s Offensive Player of the Year (2013-2015) … Voted to the All-Peninsula Athletic League First Team (2013, 2015).

Club:
Played for the De Anza Force … During the last three years in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), she led the team in scoring, averaging 24 goals and seven assists per year ... Helped lead the Force to become National Champions by winning the ECNL Finals in 2013 … Named to the ECNL National Finals Best XI by TopDrawerSoccer that season … Helped the Force make the ECNL finals in 2014 and 2015, finishing in third place both years ... Led the Force to Surf Cup Championships in 2008, and both 2010 and 2011 … Won the Norcal State Cup Finals for the last seven consecutive years. Participated in the ECNL National Camp in 2014, the Norcal Premier Soccer 98 Girls State Pool PDP from 2011to 2013, U.S. Club Soccer id2 camp in 2011 and 2012, as well as the U.S. Training Center - Northern California camps from 2011-2013.

Personal:
Both parents and her older brother have graduated from Cal.

Name: Ana Gil

Position: Midfielder

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

High School: Vista HS

Why She Chose Cal:
“I chose the University of California, Berkeley because it is considered the best public university in the country. I want to be a physical therapist and Cal’s learning institution has the academic programs to assist me in achieving my goal and Cal’s biology program is prestigious and ranked one of the highest programs in the country. In addition, Cal is part of the PAC-12 and its sports programs face the stiffest competition in the country. I love the fact that I will be part of Cal’s women’s soccer program facing arguably the best competition in the United States. The Cal campus is absolutely beautiful. The nature surrounding the campus is breathtaking and I honestly can’t ask for anything better. The location, academic facilities, athletic department, the rich history, friendly school atmosphere and women’s soccer program is what left a great impression on me. I completely fell in love with Cal, and I cannot wait to spend the next four years in such a great environment. GO BEARS!”

High School:
Attended Vista HS in Vista, California, where she was a varsity player for all four years … Scored 11 goals and tallied 11 assists in 62 career appearances for the Panthers … Had a career-best four assists as a senior this past fall.

Club:
Played for the prestigious Surf soccer club in San Diego … Began her club career at Surf in 2008 with a State Cup championship and followed up with another in 2009 … Helped lead the team to National Cup titles for three consecutive years (U-10, U-11 and U-12) … Helped lead the team to an ECNL national championship in 2014 … Member of ODP Region IV team.

Trending Videos
 
IMG Top 150 Rankings
see full ranking:
Boys Girls

Club Rankings HQ