Kansas Soccer Adds Two for Spring Season

Jan. 26, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

Kansas soccer announced the addition of two new players that will join the Jayhawks for the spring season. Shannon Renner, a transfer forward and defender out of Overland Park, Kan., and Liana Salazar, a midfielder from Bogot√°, Colombia with an extensive international playing background have officially joined KU for spring practices.

“They’re both really good players,” said 12th year head coach Mark Francis. “They’re both extremely hard-working kids. Their work ethics are second-to-none, which I think will be great with the returning group that we have. They’ll be adding to that with that type of mentality.”

Renner will be a sophomore for the 2011 season, transferring to KU after completing her freshman season at Northern Illinois. Salazar will be a freshman in the fall. Both players are currently enrolled in classes and will be eligible to play in Kansas’ spring 2011 exhibition games.

“They’re going to challenge some of the other players that are returning,” Francis said. “And they’re really going to help the team get better.”

During her freshman season at NIU, Renner started all 19 games as a defender for the Huskies. Also seeing time at forward, Renner scored two goals and registered seven shots on goal. A versatile athlete, Francis expects her to play a role much like that of former KU defender and forward Caitlin Noble, who also transferred into KU as a sophomore.

“She’s a little bit like Noble, in terms of giving us that sort of athleticism and speed,” Francis said. “We think she can give us some depth at different positions.”

A local product, Renner lettered for four years at Blue Valley Northwest High School, helping the Huskies to the 2009 state championship after a decorated senior season. Renner played for several years with the KC Metro Dynamos club and concluded her prep career with the Blue Valley Stars Mallorca.

In 2008, Renner scored 13 goals and assisted in seven during the KC Metro Dynamos State Cup Championship and Region II quarterfinal season. The following season, she helped the BV Stars Mallorca to a Kansas State Championship and a regional appearance.

Renner also played for a year with the Kansas State Olympic Development Program team in 2008, when it won the Region II Championship and placed fourth in the ODP National Championships.

“She can play both in the back and up front. In the spring it will give us an opportunity to put her at both positions,” Francis said. “She’s definitely somebody that’s going to help us and give us some athleticism and speed out wide.”

Salazar comes to Kansas after a stellar career at both the youth and senior levels in Colombia. A center-midfielder, she has played for Colombia in two FIFA Women’s World Cups.

“Liana is a very, very technical player,” Francis said. “She has a lot of what I call ‘soccer savvy’, meaning that she just understands the game. The style of play that we play, like trying to possess the ball, she’s really going to help us link all of that together.”

Salazar played in the 2008 U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, and this past summer in the U20 World Cup in Germany. Salazar started at midfield in both Cups, helping Colombia to an 8-2-3 record.

In 2010, Salazar’s Colombian team had its strongest showing at a Women’s U20 World Cup, advancing all the way to the semifinals. Colombia played France to a draw before knocking off Germany, Costa Rica and Sweden to reach the third-place match. However, the Korea Republic edged Colombia for the 1-0 win, giving Salazar and her teammates the fourth-place title.

Kansas soccer will announce the rest of the 2011 signing class Feb. 2, on National Signing Day. The 2011 spring exhibition season will begin March 5, when KU travels to Lincoln, Neb., to take on Nebraska.