SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Soccer announced the addition of 10 new student-athletes for the 2016 season today. The incoming Utes are Ella Ballstaedt, Haylee Cacciacarne, Holly Daugirda, Ireland Dunn, Kristin Fairbairn, Isabel Jones, Natalie Kump, Tavia Leachman, Carly Nelson, Natalee Wells.
“We are signing a group of players that fit the values of our program, believe in what we are doing and have connected with our team and each other,” head coach Rich Manning said. “It has been a real treat to get to know these dynamic young women and their families.
They will bring great energy to a team that is already hungry and hard at work. It is a large group as we had to replace some key seniors. We expect them to be ready from the get-go. There will be heavy competition within our team for playing time and this should make us even better.
Haylee Cacciacarne - Defender - Layton, Utah - Davis High School - La Roca.
The Deseret News’ Ms. Soccer 2015 led the Darts to a 20-0 season and a second-consecutive 5A state title.
Cacciacarne was also the Standard Examiner’s All-Area Most Valuable Player and the anchor to the dominant back line of the Davis defense, which recorded 14 shutouts including three in four playoff games, and only eight goals on the season. She was named the No. 1 player in the state by MaxPreps and was also named to the All-America Watch List by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Cacciacarne is also a two-time Salt Lake Tribune First Team honoree and was also a TopDrawerSoccer.com Fall All-Star. She led La Roca to 2015 Nationals and a Desert Premier League title after earning the Region IV championship and reaching the Utah State final three-straight years.
“I chose Utah because of its strong academic reputation and the fact it competes in the Pac-12 Conference,” Cacciacarne said. “It’s a winning combination!”
She is the daughter of Clint and Michelle and has three siblings, Tyler, Londyn and Crew. Cacciacarne enjoys working out and being outdoors. She also lettered in track during high school.
Holly Daugirda - Defender/Forward - Salt Lake City - Skyline High School - Utah Avalanche.
Invited to play for the United State U-19 Women’s National Team, she was named Utah’s NSCAA Player of the Year in 2015 and recently earned the Gatorade Player of the Year award.
The Deseret News 4A MVP led her team to a state title this season and three-straight finals appearances. She was also named the Region 7 MVP the last three years for the Eagles.
Daugirda was a Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune All-State performer for the past three seasons. She scored 29 goals this season, the most in 4A and fifth-most in the state, as well as 77 for her career. Daugirda was named a TopDrawerSoccer.com Fall All-Star, named to the All-America Watch List and ranked as the No. 45 forward in the nation. MaxPreps also ranked her as the No. 4 prep player in the state.
“I chose Utah because of Coach Manning and the rest of the coaching staff,” Daugirda stated. “I also really wanted to stay close to home and the university has a great reputation for the emphasis and support it provides to student-athletes’ success. I was also blown away by the outstanding facilities on campus.”
She is the daughter of Joe and Lynne and has two siblings, Joey and Elisa. Daugirda’s entire family attended Utah. Her career goal is to become a surgeon and she takes part in Community of Caring and works with American Sign Language. A member of the Honor Roll all four years of high school, she enjoys art, travel and hiking.
Ireland Dunn - Forward - Kaysville, Utah - Davis High School - Utah Avalanche.
The 2015 Deseret News 5A Most Valuable Player, Dunn scored 17 goals this season and 57 for her career to lead Davis to a national championship. TopDrawerSoccer.com also named her to the All-America Watch List.
Dunn has been called up to the U18 U.S. Women’s National Team and is a product of UYSA Soccer, playing for the Utah Olympic Development Program for the past five years. She was named the 2014 5A MVP by the Salt Lake Tribune and played for the West squad in the 2015 High School All-American Game in Raleigh after being named a TopDrawerSoccer.com Fall All-Star.
Named the No. 1 player in the state by MaxPreps and ranked one of the top 150 recruits in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com, Dunn also made the Region IV ODP Championship All Tournament Team the last two years.
“I chose Utah because of Coach Manning and the chance to play in the Pac-12 Conference,” Dunn stated. “It has a top medical program which I plan on majoring in and it’s a local school for me. I know playing here and learning from this coaching staff can make me a better player.”
She is the daughter of Rick and Dana and has four siblings, Lexi, Chelsea, Destiny and Brode. Dunn enjoys hiking, biking and socializing and was diagnosed with diabetes at 10 years of age.
Tavia Leachman - Defender - Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach Poly High School - Beach FC.
Ranked as one of the top 150 players in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com, she scored 11 goals this season in just seven games and had 30 for her career.
Leachman led Long Beach Poly to three-consecutive Moore League titles, as well as berth in the CIF semifinals this past season. The 2015 Offensive Player of the Year, Leachman was a three-time All-League selection and was named to the Press Telegram’s Dream Team as well as being selected First Team All-CIF.
Her club team was ranked No. 1 in the country after winning the SCDSL, where they have been undefeated the past three seasons. She helped lead her squad to a spot in the USYSA National Championship game three times in the last four years, winning it all in 2014.
“I chose Utah because I know I will get a great education while playing in a fantastic conference,” Leachman said. “It really feels like my home away from home.”
She is the daughter of Scott and Debra and has two siblings, Christopher and Erica. Leachman enjoys playing sports, going to the beach and hanging out with family and friends.
Carly Nelson - Goalkeeper - Lindon, Utah - Timpanogos High School - Celtic Storm.
A Deseret News two-time First Team All-State goalkeeper, she helped Timpanogos reach the 4A state title game for the last three seasons. For her efforts, she was named Team MVP the last two years.
Nelson’s club team Celtic Storm, earned the state title the last five seasons and she was a finalist in the 2015 Region IV Championship.
“I chose Utah because it is close to home and it is a really good school,” Nelson said.
She is the daughter of Eric and Joy and has three siblings, Emily, Holly and Kimberly, with the latter two attending Utah. Nelson plans to major in psychology and was a member of PACK in high school. She enjoys singing, snowboarding and playing guitar.
Ella Ballstaedt - Forward - Midway, Utah - Wasatch High School - Utah Celtic
She scored 40 goals during her career, including 13 during her senior season for the Wasps, and helped lead them to the state semifinals in 2015. She is ranked as one of the top 10 prospects in the state by MaxPreps after playing forward and midfielder during her prep career.
A Deseret News First Team selection this past season, she was also a Salt Lake Tribune All-State honoree. With Utah Celtic, she served as the team captain and led it to three-straight state and DPL championships while ranking in the top 10 nationally.
“I have dreamed of playing soccer at this level since I was little, and I could not see myself playing anywhere else,” Ballstaedt said. “To be playing in the Pac-12 at Utah is an unreal feeling. The coaches are awesome because they want you to succeed in all that you do, whether it’s academics or athletics. I love Salt Lake City because it is so beautiful and the campus is amazing. I grew up in a small town so I have always wanted to live in a city. Combine that with the great educational opportunities and it is just incredible.”
She is the daughter of Joseph and Kristi, and has two siblings, Cooper and Hawk. Ballstaedt comes from a large Utah family with 11 members having attended the university. An Honor Roll student with a GPA in the top 10 percent of her classmates, she enjoys playing the ukulele, long boarding, snowboarding and paddle boarding. Ballstaedt also lettered in basketball at Wasatch and organized soccer clinics for young girls each summer. She also volunteers with “Pipeline To A Cure,” an organization that raises money to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Kristin Fairbairn - Midfielder/Forward - Surrey, British Columbia - Elgin Park Secondary - Vancouver Whitecaps - Surrey United SC
Fairbairn spent three years with the BC Provincial Team at the National training Center. She also captained the Canada West U14 All-Star team and U18 Surrey United squad. Wells was named her school’s MVP and the league’s top defender as the team won the Provincial Cup.
“I chose Utah because it was a perfect environment for me,” Fairbairn said. “It will help me compete at the highest level athletically while getting a great education. This amazing team and coaching staff has made me feel like part of a family. Asking me why I like soccer, is like asking someone else, ‘why do you like to breathe'. Without it, I would not feel alive.”
She is the daughter of Keith and Andrea and has one sibling, Alex. Fairbairn would like to pursue a degree in sports medicine in order to be a physiotherapist. She lettered in volleyball and was an honor roll student at Elgin Park Secondary.
Isabel Jones - Goalkeeper - Sandy, Utah - Alta High School - Utah Avalanche
A Deseret News All-State performer the past two seasons, she led Alta to the state quarterfinals in 2015. With five saves this past season and 15 for her career, Jones was ranked as the No. 12 recruit in the state of Utah by Max Preps.
A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Jones was also named to three-consecutive First Team ODP spots while helping Utah Avalanche reach the ECNL National Finals.
“The University of Utah is the place for me to become my best as a person, student, and athlete,” Jones said. “It is a very competitive program with awesome coaches and a positive atmosphere.”
She is the daughter of Dow and Katy and has four siblings, Weston, Tanner, Katrina and Sadler. Her cousin, Dee Dee Nelson played women’s tennis at Utah and her dad also graduated from the "U". Jones enjoys wakeboarding, skiing and hiking.
Natalie Kump - Midfielder - Calgary, Alberta - Edge School for Athletes - Calgary Foothills - Elko High School (Nev.)
In her one season at Elko, she scored 33 goals in 21 contests. Kump was named First Team All-Area, All-League, All-State, League MVP and Offensive Player of the Year as she led her squad to the Nevada state quarterfinals.
“I chose the University of Utah because it is a great academic institution,” Kump stated. “The school is in a great location for me because it has great outdoor recreation and is close to my hometown. I admire the team dynamic of commitment to becoming better every day and the support and encouragement that the players have for one another. I am very excited to play in the Pac-12 and proud to become a part of the Ute family.”
She is the daughter of Jeff and Tania Kump and has two siblings, Alex and Katie. Her uncle, Greg, and cousin, Brian, both attended Utah. An Honor Roll and Principal’s List student, Kump also received the Academic Excellence with Distinction Award. She was the class treasurer in high school and was also a part of LEAD. Kump was a letter-winner in volleyball and track and field during high school and enjoys traveling, hiking and skiing.
Natalee Wells - Defender/Midfielder - Alpine, Utah - Lone Peak High School - Celtic Storm
As part of a state semifinalist at 5A and a three-time state cup champion, she scored 15 goals playing out of a defensive midfield position. Ranked as the no. 5 recruit in the state of Utah by MaxPreps, Wells was a Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune All-State selection.
Wells also earned recognition as an All-Valley honoree, Region IV 1st Team choice and an academic All-Region and All-State pick. For her club team, Celtic Storm, she served as the team captain. “I chose Utah because of the great education I can receive,” Wells said. “The league is very competitive and the coaches have been awesome to me.”
She is the daughter of John and Jennifer and has five siblings, Landon, Mackenzie, Courtney, Logan and Tyler. Wells also lettered in track while serving in student government and making the honor roll at Lone Peak. She would like to pursue a profession in the medical field and enjoys skiing, hiking and biking.