Feb. 2, 2011
The coaching staff landed four of the country's best prep talent from the top club programs across the country, including Oklahoma native Abby Hodgen from Mustang H.S. Joining Hodgen are Emily Bowman from Colleyville, Texas, Hannah Gordon from Sugar Land, Texas, and Kelly Price from River Forest, Ill.
"With this class we add another group of student athletes that understand our core values and share our goal of making OU soccer a championship caliber program,"said Nelson. "This group of players and their families are excited to join the rich tradition that exists here at University of Oklahoma. These athletes have competed at some of the highest levels of our sport for their age and that winning tradition will carry over immediately here in Norman."
The four members of the 2011 class will join a team in the fall that returns eight starters and 19 letterwinners. Last season, the Sooners tied the school-record with 37 goals and was one win shy of tying the program record for wins en route to the OU's second NCAA Tournament appearance. The 2011 Sooners will need to replace the program leader in goals scored in Whitney Palmer (37 goals) and four-year starters Lauren Alkek and Tiana Dickson. Both Alkek and Palmer were recently selected in the Women's Professional Soccer Draft.
"This class adds the necessary depth in every position and will, again, increase the competitiveness of our environment moving forward," added Nelson. "Most importantly this group represents the type of student athletes we believe are crucial for building a championship program. They are competitive and determined to make OU soccer successful on a national scale."
Bowman, who has been part of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) State team, is the captain of her club team, Dallas Sting '93. She helped lead her team to the Club National Championship in 2007 and was part of four State Cup finals (2004, 2005, 2009, 2010).
Gordon is part of the South Texas ODP team (2005 and 2009) and has helped Eclipse Soccer Club to the Disney Soccer Showcase Championship in 2010. Gordon's club team also has enjoyed three South Texas State Championships on her watch and a Region III quarterfinalist appearance in 2009.
Hodgen is a standout at the same high school as Coach Nelson (Mustang H.S.) where she tallied 32 goals and 30 assists in the last three seasons, including 13 goals and 11 assists in 2010. She is also a part of the Oklahoma ODP (2005-2009) and has helped her club team to the state championship in 2008.
Price tallied 17 goals and 44 points at St. Ignatius College Prep in Illinois last season and is on ESPN the Magazine's Player to Watch list for 2010. She helped lead her club team (Eclipse Select) to State Cup Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Her club team also won the Disney Showcase in 2008.
Below is a look at what Coach Nelson had to say on each recruit.
"Emily is a player that has experience playing at a high level. Her ability to win balls in the air and on the ground is unique for females at this age. She does a good job connecting out of a defensive position and strikes a ball extremely well, which gives her the ability to also score goals. She has the potential to be very dangerous on set pieces. Her physical presence will allow her to be successful at this level and contribute as a center back or holding midfielder. As the other's in this class, we are excited by both the physical and intangible assets she will contribute to our program."
"Hannah is what we refer to as a soccer junkie. She has a great appreciation for the the sport and, therefore, watches more soccer than most female players her age. We expect to use her as a utility player in the midfield or potentially as a forward. Hannah is clean technically and her ability to read the game is good. She is very competitive and willing to play any role necessary to contribute to her team's success."
"We've said that recruiting the best players in the state is a priority for our program and Abby definitely fits that model. She understands, better than most, the pride that comes with representing the University of Oklahoma. Abby has the ability to affect the game at just about any position. She has the athleticism and drive to immediately impact our program. Her understanding of the game, along with her technical attributes, will allow her to contribute to the style we like to play as an outside back or midfielder. And she bleeds Crimson."
"Kelly comes to us from Eclipse Soccer Club out of Chicago which traditionally offers a competitive club environment for players. Her athletic potential is very good and should contribute to her success in the Big 12 Conference. Kelly has a unique ability to put herself in dangerous positions and affect the attack at any given time. She has had success from a scoring perspective which we expect to carry over here at OU."