LAFAYETTE – On National Signing Day 2018, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's soccer team has announced that 11 women have signed National Letters-of-Intent making for a deep collection of players joining the Ragin' Cajuns family.
"This class is extremely talented and fit the specific needs that we were after," said Louisiana head coach Scot Wieland. "They all come from clubs that were in very competitive leagues and regions, and that should help us get better across the board."
It's a diverse class, that reaches across not only the country, but the world as well. Two women hail from Europe along with the new class bringing in women from five different states reaching from coast to coast. State-wise the class breaks down with four players from California, two from Mississippi and one player each from Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana. As for the two women from Europe they come from the United Kingdom and Germany to make up a diverse class.
"The diversity we're bringing in gives us different competitive backgrounds," said Wieland. "And that's something we can insert into our training sessions, this class will add to the already diverse group of returners that we have for the 2018 season."
As for positions the 2018 class adds depth across the board, as coach Wieland and his staff have added players that cover all the positions on the pitch. The class will add four forwards, three midfielders, three defenders and one goalkeeper, giving the Cajuns a deep team heading into the 2018 season.
"Being deep this 2018 season is what we were striving for and that's why we decided to bring in more than we lost," said Wieland. "Depth will give us a very competitive training environment and will be welcomed come game day as the team struggled with depth towards the middle of this past season, something we're looking to take care of with the additions of these players."
2018 Signing Class:
Savanna Young: Young comes in at five feet three inches and she hails from Richland, Mississippi. Young played not just forward but attacking mid as well making her an experienced offensive threat. She will graduate from Richland High School and she played her club soccer for the Mississippi Rush, a part of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).
Kacie Pou: Pou is five feet eight inches tall and she comes from Carlsbad, California. He height makes her a threat on set pieces and in the box, and she won't be an easy mark for any defender the Cajuns face this season. Pou will graduate from Carlsbad High School and she was a part of the LA Galaxy-San Diego club which played in the ECNL.
Telusila (Telly) Vunipola: Another attacking player added to the Cajuns final third, Vunipola measures in at five feet seven inches. Vunipola is from Chino, California and she'll be looking to add even more depth to the Cajuns up front. Telly played club with Arsenal FC in the Cal South Premier League.
Skyla (Sky) Sykes: Sykes is the final forward signed as a part of the 2018 class. She comes in at five feet four inches, and she's another player who spent time in the competitive ECNL where she was a part of the Rebels Elite SC. Sky will graduate from Olympian High School in Chino Vista, California but she calls San Diego home.
Rainey Niles: Coming from Gulf Breeze, Florida, Niles is a five-foot four-inch midfielder who played club with the Gulf Coast Texans as a part of the Premier League. Graduating from Gulf Breeze High School, Niles adds depth to the Cajuns midfield.
Madysin (Mady) Girouard: The only player apart of the 2018 class that's from Louisiana, Mady is New Iberia only 30 miles down the road from Lafayette. As a midfielder she's going to be key in distributing the ball and connecting the final third with the rest of the team. She comes in at five feet three inches and she spent her club time playing with Baton Rouge SC in the Gulf States Premier League (GSPL).
Sydney DeNofrio: DeNofrio completes the midfield portion of the Cajuns 2018 class coming from Temecula, California. She's five feet three inches tall and DeNofrio will be graduating from Temecula Valley High School. She played primarily outside mid, but DeNofrio should be an asset for coach Weiland all over the midfield.
Isabel (Izzy) Wheeler: Wheeler is the first of two European women that coach Weiland and his staff have added to the mix. Izzy comes from Horsforth, Leeds, United Kingdom and she's a lengthy five foot nine inches tall. She played club with Sheffield United in the English FA Super League and her height should make her an asset in marking opposing forwards in the box on set pieces.
Gwendolyn (Gwen) Mummert: Mummert is the second part of the European duo coming to Lafayette and she hails from Berlin, Germany. Mummert is another five-foot nine-inch defender who gives the Cajuns a tall weapon in the box for marking on set pieces. Gwen played club soccer for FC Union Berlin which is a part of Bundesliga.
Alexis Arnoult: Coming from Gulfport, Mississippi, Arnoult is five feet five inches tall, and playing in the left back position, should allow her to be a great weapon on the outside to help push the offensive tempo. She will graduate from Gulfport High School and she played club soccer with Gulf Coast United.
Olivia Volpe: The final piece of the class of 2018 comes from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She's a five-foot seven-inch keeper who played her club soccer in Dallas, Texas as a part of Solar SC. Solar SC is in the ECNL, making Volpe the fourth player to join the Cajuns who played their club soccer in the Elite Clubs National League.
"Offensively, with this class, we will have a load of offensive minded players competing for playing time," said Wieland. "After a certain point this past season we were limited at that position so offensively our players were not being pushed as much as they needed weekly. Defensively we ran into that same issue midway through this past season and we feel that we have fixed that problem with this class, adding more depth on our defensive line."
SPRING/FALL SEASON: Louisiana kicks off their spring season with their first game being a short trip down the road at Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, Feb. 24. They'll take part in four games, with the spring season wrapping up on Saturday, Mar. 24 at ULM.
The fall season beings a few months after that, with their first regular season game being on the road on Aug. 17, in Oxford, Miss., when they visit Ole Miss. They'll open up at home when Sam Houston State comes to Lafayette, on Aug. 19 and they'll begin their Sun Belt Conference schedule on the road in Troy, Ala., on Sept. 14.
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsSOC for any updates about Cajuns soccer leading up to the start of the 2018 season.