With 23 players returning from last year's conference co-champions, this was definitely a year where we set out to get quality over quantity. My main goal was to get more creative and more dynamic in our attack. I think we accomplished this goal as well as added depth and some new talents to our reputable defense.
All 5 of our recruits come from excellent club systems where they compete against high level competition, are trained by great coaches, and some are nationally ranked. This class brings multiple state championships, ODP experience even at the international level, several USYS regional appearances, and numerous athletic as well as academic and leadership awards. As a result, I think our team at Belmont will be more skillful, more deliberate, and more competitive.
Amy Jo Anderson plays various attacking positions for BUSA. She is a tireless worker and does not back out of any challenges. We plan for Amy to give us the ability to attack out of the midfield on the dribble. She can commit defenders to step to her and open up space for forwards.
Nicole Berner is a goalkeeper for CRUSA FC Bucks Fusion. She is a hard worker who will challenge Sari and Ashley to become better players. Nicole gives us stability in goal in the future. She is strong and aggressive and has a great physical presence in the box. Nicole is an excellent shot stopper and has great range. I think training with Kyle, Sari, and Ashley will take Nicole to a new level very quickly.
Jennifer Collins plays center back for Carmel United. She will provide depth for us in a position where we have experience, but she is versatile enough to get playing time at other positions while she develops into our system. Jennifer is a smart defender. She reads the game and anticipates well. She can shut down an opponent before they receive the ball, and she understands angles and distances when they have possession. Jennifer is strong in the air, and I am confident she is capable of sliding into a defensive role for us when we need her.
Emily Jones hails from Cleveland, TN and plays for the 3 time State Champions - FC Alliance 92 Black. I knew I wanted Emily the first time I saw her play, when she was a sophomore. Emily is the kind of forward who will have as many assists as she has goals. She beats defenders with speed. She can cut to the goal, or she can get to the end line. Emily provides great crosses that are easy for her teammates to finish. I think she will be difficult to defend, and she will provide space and opportunities for Erica and Jayme and other teammates.
Bailey Kimbell is Amy Anderson's teammate on BUSA 92 Elite. They have won 3 Alabama State Championships. Bailey currently leads her team in goals in the Region Premier League Central Division. She is a student of the game. Bailey makes smart dynamic runs with and without the ball. She will be a player who is easy for her teammates to work with on the field. I think Bailey will add to our scoring production right away.
I could not be more pleased with the 2010 recruiting class. They not only fit our needs as a team, they fit the profile of a successful scholar-athlete at Belmont University and in the Atlantic Sun Conference. All five of our signees will immediately help us maintain our steady improvement, and they are the quality of players that assure our program continued success in the future.