Kansas Soccer Inks Five for 2016
Kansas Soccer’ 2016 Signing ClassLAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head soccer coach Mark Francis announced Wednesday that the Jayhawks have signed five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, including Mandi Duggan (Aurora, Colorado), Jordan Malone (Woodland Hills, California), Katie McClure (Wichita, Kansas), Addisyn Merrick (Lee’s Summit, Missouri) and Elise Reina (Springdale, Arkansas), whowill all suit up in the Crimson and Blue next season.
“With this class we were really looking to increase our level of athleticism and I think we’ve accomplished that,” said Francis. “Athleticism was one of our big goals but at the same time we didn’t want to jeopardize our style of play and we have a group here that is in that same mindset of how we want to play. But these players are really going to raise our level athletically and help us compete at a higher level, especially in the Big 12.”
Mandi Duggan // 5-2 // Forward // Aurora, Colo. // Grandview HS // Storm SC
The Kansas coaches bring in one of the top forwards out of Colorado in Mandi Duggan. She was the 2015 state champion Grandview High School’s second-leading scorer and posted the team’s most assists. As a junior, she was an all-league and all-state first team selection and was the fifth-ranked forward in the Rocky Mountain region by TopDrawerSoccer.com. She was also a member of the Colorado Storm Club team and helped the squad to immense success from 2012-15. As a captain of her club team over the last seven years, she led the group to numerous runs through the national playoffs and earned MVP honors in six of those matches.
“Mandi is a very quick wide player who is great one-on-one versus defenders,” said Francis. “She’s very good with her service from wide on the right. She can also really finish well when she has an opportunity in front of the goal. Regardless of what formation we’re in next season, Mandi will be able to come in and fill that wide forward or wide midfield role really well.”
Jordan Malone // 5-4 // Midfielder // Woodland Hills, Calif. // William Taft HS // Eagles SC
Malone comes to Lawrence after collecting some impressive accolades at the club level in California. She played four years for Vince Thomas’ Eagles SC squad, where she helped the club to a ranking among the top-10 percent nationally. The midfielder was a member of teams that claimed the 2012 Arsenal Cup, 2012 Dallas Cup, 2011 League Cup as well as the National Cup and Surf Cup Finals and numerous other championship titles. She has also been among the California Olympic Development Program (ODP) pool over the last two years.
“Jordan is really technical, athletic and she plays simple,” said Francis. “She will be a great fit for our style because her club team plays really similar to us. She’s an athletic, physical player and that’s a characteristic that we’ve really been wanting for our holding midfielders to have. We have some very good midfield players right now so Jordan will have some great role models to learn from and hopefully will be able to fill some of those spots pretty quickly.”
Katie McClure // 5-4 // Midfielder // Wichita, Kansas // Maize HS
The Jayhawks will again see one of the top high school players from the Sunflower State suit up in the Crimson and Blue with the signing of Katie McClure. A first team all-state selection out of Maize High School, she was named the state’s co-offensive player of the year following her junior season, scoring a team record 52 goals in 2015. She is already Maize’s all-time leading goal scorer (110 goals) through three seasons and has helped lead the Eagles to three-consecutive top-three finishes at the state championship as well as three-straight regional titles. Also boasting 53 career assists, the attacking midfielder is a two-time first team all-league and all-metro selection.
“We really see Katie as an attacking midfielder for us because she’s very good on the ball and has a great nose for the goal,” said Francis. “She strikes that ball really well with both feet. She’s scored a ton of goals in her career, both as a forward and an attacking midfielder. She’ll do great as an attacking mid in our system because she’ll be really dangerous coming from underneath that front line. Katie is going to be a great fit for us.”
Addisyn Merrick // 5-6 // Defender // Lee’s Summit, Missouri // Lee’s Summit North HS
Merrick signs with the Jayhawks after a stellar career with one of the most successful high school squads in the Kansas City area. She helped lead her team to two-straight district championships as well as the 2014 conference title. She had a breakout season in 2015, which saw her named the Missouri Class 4 Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-State First Team. The National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA) and Kansas City Star also recognized her after her junior campaign in 2015, adding her to the All-Central Region team and the All-Metro team, respectively. Merrick also spent five seasons with Sporting Blue Valley Soccer Club.
“Addisyn is very athletic and will probably be one of the faster kids on our team next year,” said Francis. “She has made huge strides since we first started recruiting her and does a great job playing in the back. She has spent some time recently playing up front and she’s dangerous up there, not only because of her pace, but she’s brave. She gets in the box and isn’t afraid to stick her head or her foot in where some people might not. She’s a player that has some versatility and that will be very beneficial for us.”
Elise Reina // 5-2 // Midfielder // Springdale, Arkansas // Har-Ber HS
Elise Reina will join Kansas has an accomplished two-sport star out of northwest Arkansas. A three-time state champion in cross country, Reina also is an all-state midfielder on the soccer field. In her last two seasons at Har-Ber, she scored 28 goals and was a first-team all-conference selection both years. As a freshman in 2013, she was an all-state selection and named the 7A West Newcomer of the Year. Reina also spent the last seven years playing club soccer, leading her team to six-straight Southern Region III tournaments as well as seven-straight state cup titles. She also comes from a successful athletic family tree with both her parents, Reuben and Joell, competing for the track team at Arkansas. Her father, Reuben, competed in the 5,000 meters at the 1992 Olympics while her sister, Valerie, is a junior on the Razorback track team.
“Elise has spent time in both the back and the midfield, both as a wide player,” said Francis. “She’s won several state cross country championships so she’s very fit and can obviously run all day long, and, playing in that wide position, that’s a very good thing. She is going to come in and give us a lot of depth in the wide positions and will come in to challenge right away to get on the field.”
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