NC State women's soccer adds six for 2016

February 8, 2016

The NC State women’s soccer team became significantly stronger recently with the completion of head coach Tim Santoro’s 2016 class, a group of six talented players which features impressive domestic and international success.

Santoro’s class includes Grayson Cameron (GK – North Carolina), Tziarra King (MF – New Jersey), Kia Rankin (FWD – Maryland), Kristina Schuster (D – Germany), Michaella van Maanen (MF – Virginia), and Ricarda Walking (MF – Germany). In addition to the significant high level USYSA and ECNL club success, as well as, ODP and National Team experience possessed by the American signees, the two German players possess experience playing for one of the world’s top clubs (Bayern Munich) and in one of the world’s top leagues (Frauen Bundesliga).

“Because of how early recruiting cycles work, we have targeted this 2016 class since the day we arrived in Raleigh a few years ago,” Santoro said. “Every position is addressed and done so at a high level. We put in a lot of time and effort to get this group to Raleigh and we are satisfied with the results.

“This class is another important step to help make NC State a very competitive ACC program. The 2016s, combined with our returning players, get us closer to the roster makeup we envisioned and closer to taking the next step with this program.”

Grayson Cameron | GK | Hickory, N.C. | Carolina Rapids

Olympic Development Program (ODP) First Team player from 2011-14 … Invited to ODP National Training Camp (Phoenix) in 2013 … Played five years of club soccer for Carolina Rapids, for three of which she was a team captain … Her club team earned North Carolina State championships on three occasions … In 20 State Cup tournament games she recorded 19 shutouts with a goals against average (GAA) of 0.10 … While playing three years of high school soccer for Hickory, allowed just 17 goals in 65 games over the course of three seasons … During all three seasons she earned All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State honors … During her junior season, she recorded 20 shutouts in 22 games and posted an astounding GAA of 0.09 … Father played college soccer at Elon … Has 10 relatives—including both parents—who graduated from or currently attend NC State … Plans to major in Sport Management.

“Grayson will add competition and depth to our goalkeeping position,” Santoro said. “She’s long and athletic, commands the box in the air, has good foot and hand distribution, and good leadership capabilities. We’re excited to add her to this very important position.”

Tziarra King | MF | Sicklerville, N.J. | Winslow Tigers

Played club soccer for Winslow Tigers (NJYS State Soccer Champion, USFF State, Regional, and National Futsal Champion and USYF Atlantic Regional Futsal Champion) … Also played club soccer with the 2015 US Club Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion and 2015 NEWSS Champion Princeton SA IGFA 97/98 Tigers NPL … Twice selected to the United States Youth Futsal National Team (U16 in 2014 and U18 in 2015) and competed internationally in Toronto and San Jose (Costa Rica) … Was team captain with her 2015 Futsal club … A 2015 Esmark All-American as a high school soccer player for Winslow Township High School … Named a First-Team All-South Jersey striker in 2014 and 2015 … Earned NJ.com All-State First-Team honors in 2015 … Set a record at Winslow as the all-time leading scorer (both girls and boys) with 105 career goals and 36 assists … During her high school senior season, scored 51 goals and added 14 assists to lead the entire state of New Jersey … As a high school junior, scored 37 goals and added seven assists, one time scoring five goals in a single playoff game … Earned a place on the school Honor Roll all four years … Member of the National Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta National High School Mathematics Honor Society … Was a track and field state champion in 2014 in both the indoor and outdoor 4x400 … Father played collegiate basketball … Mother is a pharmacist … Two brothers are both former collegiate soccer players … The “T” in her name is silent and she goes by the nickname “Zee.”

“Zee is a complete player who is extremely gifted technically and is off the charts athletically,” Santoro said. “She’s a very competitive and driven person who will add a lot to the team makeup. Her dribbling, vision, and passing, as well as ability to score goals from the midfield, will inject a lot into our attack.”

Kia Rankin | FWD | Bowie, Md. | Maryland United FC

Named the 2015 Gatorade Maryland High School Girls Player of the Year … Invited to Nike National Training Camp in the summer of 2015 … Participated with the Maryland ODP from 2010-12, qualifying for the Region 1 Regional Pool in 2011 … Club side Maryland United FC (formerly Freestate SC) qualified for the ECNL playoffs from 2012-15 and was the Ohio Valley Champion three times … High school team went undefeated for two straight seasons and won three conference championships … Two-time NSCAA All-American (2014 and 2015), two-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro First Team (2014 and 2015), and two-time All-State First Team (2014 and 2015) …  All-Metro Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year in 2015 … Scored 21 goals and recorded 19 assists as a high school senior to help lead McDonogh to a third straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title. … During her final two seasons, recorded 46 goals and 37 assists … Her high school teams posted a cumulative record of 58-5-2 … Plans to major in Industrial Engineering or Business at NC State.

“Kia has all the qualities of a top-level striker,” Santoro said. “She scores goals and creates chances with the ball and her movement. She is also a tenacious defender in transition. She’s the type of player in this position that we’ve needed and will be a handful for teams to defend.”

Kristina Schuster | DEF | Polling, Germany | Bayern Munich

Member of an undefeated Bayern Munich side in 2014-15 which won the Frauen Bundesliga title … Made her full Frauen Bundesliga debut with Bayern Munich in September 2014 during a 2-1 victory over SC Freiburg … At the age of 17, scored a goal in the 81st minute of her August 2014 debut with Bayern during 1-1 draw vs. Paris St. Germain … Won German Cup with Bayern II in 2013 and 2014, captaining team in 2014 … Played with Bayern II in the Bundesliga B, the top German division for U17 female teams … Joined Bayern Munich in 2011 at the young age of 14.

“Kristina has a great pedigree from one of the top clubs in Europe,” Santoro said. “She has captained Bayern’s youth team to a lot of success and had first-team experience with the club. She can play anywhere across the back line right away, but her skills as a two-way flank player really stand out.

Michaella van Maanen | MF | Woodbridge, Va. | Fredricksburg FC

Played six years on the Virginia District ODP Team and five years on the Virginia State ODP Team … Was a VYSA National Finalist during her time with ODP … Played club soccer with PWSI Courage, NVSC, and Fredericksburg Football Club (most recent) … During her club career, earned two State Cup championships, two WAGS Top Flight championships (2013 and 2015), one US Club Soccer National Championship, and titles at the Jefferson Cup, CASL Girls Showcase, and Disney Showcase all in the same season (2015) … Plans to major in Graphic Design or Business at NC State … Older brother plays college soccer at the University of Mary Washington.

“Michaella is just a soccer junkie,” Santoro said. “She has great instincts for the game, is clean technically, and has the innate ability to attack either by passing, dribbling, or shooting. Her strengths fit this recruiting class perfectly and she will be a fun player to have on the field."

Ricarda Walkling | MF | Hannover, Germany | Bayern Munich

Played for German U16 and U17 National Teams and is currently a member of the German U19 National Team that advanced to the UEFA European Championships in Slovakia (Summer 2016) … Member of an undefeated Bayern Munich club in 2014-15 which won the Frauen Bundesliga title … Made nine appearances in Frauen Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2013 … In October 2013, made her debut with Bayern at age of 16 in a German Cup match, scoring a goal in the 89th minute of a 5-2 win over BV Cloppenburg … Won German Cup with Bayern II in 2013 and 2014 … Played with Bayern II in the Bundesliga B, the top German Division for U17 female teams … Joined Bayern Munich in 2010 at the young age of 13.

“Ricci will make an immediate impact in our midfield,” Santoro said. “She claimed a spot in the first team of one of the world’s best clubs at such a young age and is a major part of the German National Team program. It will be fun for everyone to see this type of player at NC State and in the ACC.”

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