COLLEGE WOMEN: Ashlyn Harris tops Soccer America's list of Top 25 recruits

Ashlyn Harris, captain of the U.S. under-19 team and one of the most-honored high school girls soccer players in history, has been chosen the nation's No. 1 recruit for 2004 by Soccer America magazine.

Harris, a goalkeeper who has signed with the University of North Carolina but will defer enrollment until January, is one of seven players from the U.S. U-19 qualifying roster on Soccer America's list of the Top 25 Recruits.

The Top 25 features six foreign players -- four from Canada and two from Europe -- five Texans (all in the Top 13), and nine players headed for Big 12 Conference schools. The players are spread among 17 universities and eight conferences.

Coverage of the Top 25 and of the nation's Top 10 recruiting classes is in the July 26 issue of Soccer America.

Swiss national team playmaker Lara Dickenmann, bound for Ohio State, is No. 2 on the Soccer America list, followed by Canadian national team midfielder Diana Matheson (Princeton) and a half-dozen U.S. U-19 standouts: forward Kerri Hanks (Notre Dame), midfielder Sheree Gray (Penn State), forward Megan Rapinoe (Portland), midfielder Jen Redmond (Virginia), forward Kia McNeill (Boston College) and midfielder Stephanie Logterman (Texas).

Forward Kelsey Carpenter (Texas), who has turned down requests to play for the U.S. U-19s, is No. 10 on the SA Top 25. She and Hanks both graduated from Allen (Texas) High School.

It's the second successive year Soccer America has designated a North Carolina signee as the nation's top recruit, with Heather O'Reilly -- now with the U.S. Olympic team -- the top selection last season.

Harris, from Satellite Beach, Fla., was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. U-19 team that won the first FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship two years ago in Canada. She was in the nets last summer for the U-21 team at the Nordic Cup, and is critical to U.S. hopes at the second U-19 World Championship Nov. 10-27 in Thailand.

She is a four-time Parade Magazine All-American, a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American, a McDonald's All-American and has been selected national High School Player of the Year by Parade Magazine and Gatorade and national Youth Player of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

''I think she's the lottery pick,'' U.S. under-19 women's coach Mark Krikorian said. ''She's an outstanding goalkeeper. She can steal wins for you with her athletic qualities. Her kicking is first class. ... She's the emotional leader of our team. She has a burning desire to win, really wants to be successful. I think she's got the potential to be just an outstanding, outstanding goalkeeper.''

The U-19 team will spend the fall in residency preparing for the World Championship, and several of the top players on Soccer America's list will defer enrollment and play their first season of college soccer in 2005. Harris, Hanks, Gray, Rapinoe, Redmond, McNeill and Logterman plan to skip this fall's campaign. Several other players on the list are in the U-19 pool and also may be asked to postpone their college careers.

Two Canadians on the list -- No. 14 Emily Zurrer at Illinois and No. 25 Selenia Iachelli at Nebraska -- also are expected to miss the 2004 season while in Canadian residency near Vancouver.

Dickenmann has emerged as a star for Switzerland, a mid-level European women's soccer team, and is the pivotal player for the Swiss U-19 team that will compete in the UEFA U-19 Championship that begins July 28 in Finland.

The Swiss midfielder last summer dominated Anne Makinen -- a former WUSA star who was the consensus 2000 national college Player of the Year at Notre Dame -- in a friendly against Finland.

Matheson was accepted at Princeton last year but deferred enrollment until this fall so she could play for Canada at the 2003 Women's World Cup. The gritty midfielder was a starter for the Canadians, who reached the semifinals with a team loaded with U.S. collegians.

The other Canadians selected are standouts with Canada's U-19 team, which defeated the United States in last month's CONCACAF final. Zurrer was the MVP of the CONCACAF U-19 qualifying tournament and made her full Canadian national team debut July 3 against the United States. Nebraska signed Iachelli and Sari Raber (No. 18).

Finnish U-19 star Jannica Tjeder (No. 24), who also will play in the UEFA U-19 tournament, signed with Notre Dame.

Texas A&M, selected as the No. 1 class in the country, has four players from the Soccer America Top 25: midfielders Amy Berend (No. 12), Ashlee Pistorius (No. 15), Melissa Garey (No. 20) and Paige Carmichael (No. 21).

The Aggies' Big 12 Conference rivals Texas and Nebraska also pulled in multiple players. The Longhorns have three players (Logterman, Carpenter, defender Caitlin Kennedy at No. 13) and Nebraska two (Raber, Iachelli).

North Carolina (Harris, No. 11 J'aime Gilbert) and Notre Dame (Hanks, Tjeder) also have two apiece.

Two players emerged from Dallas Texans and D'Feeters, two of Texas' (and the nation's) top girls clubs. Hanks and Berend play for Dallas Texans, and Carpenter and Kennedy play for D'Feeters.

Missing from the list is Canadian national team star Kara Lang, who also is skipping the fall season to play in the U-19 championship and has not signed a letter-of-intent. She told Soccer America that she hoped to choose a university before November. The likely No. 1 recruit next year, Lang said she was looking at North Carolina, UCLA, Florida and Penn State.

(With position, hometown and school)

1. Ashlyn Harris G Satellite Beach, Fla. -- North Carolina
2. Lara Dickenmann M/F Kriens, Switzerland -- Ohio State
3. Diana Matheson M Oakville, Ontario -- Princeton
4. Kerri Hanks F Allen, Texas -- Notre Dame
5. Sheree Gray F/M Toms River, N.J. -- Penn State

6. Megan Rapinoe F Redding, Calif. -- Portland
7. Jen Redmond M Morristown, N.J. -- Virginia
8. Kia McNeill F/D Avon, Conn. -- Boston College
9. Stephanie Logterman M/D Austin, Texas -- Texas
10. Kelsey Carpenter F Allen, Texas -- Texas

11. J'aime Gilbert F North Andover, Mass. -- North Carolina
12. Amy Berend M Highland Village, Texas -- Texas A&M
13. Caitlin Kennedy D Euless, Texas -- Texas
14. Emily Zurrer M/D Crofton, British Columbia -- Illinois
15. Ashlee Pistorius F/M Bloomington, Ill. -- Texas A&M

16. Ashley Phillips G West Peabody, Mass. -- Clemson
17. Chioma Igwe M/F Belmont, Calif. -- California
18. Sari Raber M/D Richmond, British Columbia -- Nebraska
19. Jasmine Johnson F Clearwater, Fla. -- Florida
20. Melissa Garey M Gonzales, La. -- Texas A&M

21. Paige Carmichael D/M Glendale, Ariz. -- Texas A&M
22. Lorraine Quinn M Farmingdale, N.Y. -- Duke
23. Brittany Klein M Arcadia, Calif. -- Santa Clara
24. Jannica Tjeder F/M Espoo, Finland -- Notre Dame
25. Selenia Iachelli M Edmonton, Alberta -- Nebraska

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