Jayhawk Soccer Signs Seven for 2015
|2015 Soccer Signees|
|Bailey Bravard||F||West Des Moines, Iowa|
|Taylor Chaffetz||M||Grand Junction, Colo.|
|Taylor Christie||D||Overland Park, Kan.|
|Anna Courtney||M||Parkville, Mo.|
|Regan Gibbs||GK||Naches, Wash.|
|Grace Hagan||M||Wichita, Kan.|
|Parker Roberts||M||Leawood, Kan.|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Coming off one of its best seasons in program history, the Kansas women’s soccer team has reloaded with one of its top recruiting classes to date. Head coach Mark Francis announced Thursday that the Jayhawks have signed seven student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, including Bailey Bravard (West Des Moines, Iowa), Taylor Chaffetz (Grand Junction, Colorado), Taylor Christie (Overland Park, Kansas), Anna Courtney (Parkville, Missouri), Regan Gibbs (Naches, Washington), Grace Hagan (Wichita, Kansas) and Parker Roberts (Leawood, Kansas), who will all suit up in the Crimson and Blue next season.
“We lost a lot of good seniors after last year so it was important for us to bring in a lot of players who are going to be able to help us right away, and I think we definitely got that with this group,” said Francis. “There’s a ton of potential in this class. We’re covered in pretty much every position with this group; a keeper, a defender, some midfielders and an attacking player. It’s a very good group and I’m extremely happy with the kids we’re bringing in.”
Bailey Bravard // 5-7 // Forward // West Des Moines, Iowa // Dowling Catholic HS
Bravard signed with the Jayhawks after becoming one of the most prolific scorers from the state of Iowa during her first three seasons at Dowling Catholic High School. She was a selected to the All-State first team following her junior season in 2014 and she was dubbed to the All-State Honorable Mention squad as a sophomore. She helped her team to two-straight conference titles as well as three-consecutive state tournament appearances. Her Maroons also made back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2013 and 2014. She’s seen extensive time on the Iowa Olympic Development team (ODP), playing for the team from 2011-2013. Bravard has spent the last four years with the West Des Moines Soccer Club.
“Bailey is a very quick forward who is great one-on-one versus defenders,” said Francis. “She does a great job of getting in behind the defense and serves the ball really well from wide. When she gets in the box she really does well at finishing. We expect her to step in there right away and help us score some goals.”
Taylor Chaffetz // 5-5 // Midfielder // Grand Junction, Colorado // Grand Junction HS
Chaffetz comes to Lawrence after collecting some impressive hardware at the high school and club levels. She played two seasons for Joe Graham’s Grand Junction High School squad, where she set a single-season scoring record with 16 goals as a junior and was an all-conference selection both seasons. At the club level, she spent time with both the Utah Avalanche and Real Colorado, winning the Colorado State Championship in 2010 and claiming the runner-up spot in 2011. She also played for the Colorado ODP during a two-year stint. She comes from impressive athletic bloodlines as her father, Alex, was the place kicker at Kansas during the 1991 season, while her uncle, Jason, was the place kicker at BYU from 1985-89. Chaffetz is already in Lawrence working out with the Jayhawks as she enrolled at KU for the spring semester after her early graduation from high school.
“Taylor is a very technical attacking midfielder,” said Francis. “She’s very good on the ball and has great ability to shoot when she is in range of the goal. We’ll look for her to give us some help and depth at that center midfield position, which is really key to the way we play.”
Taylor Christie // 5-6 // Defender // Overland Park, Kansas // Shawnee Mission South HS
Christie will join the Jayhawks having spent time at both the forward and defender spots for her high school and club squads. She was Shawnee Mission South’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2014 after scoring 20 goals. This earned her a First Team All-State nod following her junior year. She was also a standout for Sporting Blue Valley, one of the most successful clubs in Kansas.
“Taylor is a really athletic center-back that has also seen some time at forward,” said Francis. “She’s really tough to beat one-on-one and will add a physical player to our back line. We lost a great player in that position in Caroline Van Slambrouck so there’s a big hole to fill in that center defender spot and I definitely think Taylor can come in and compete for that spot.”
Anna Courtney // 5-4 // Midfielder // Parkville, Missouri // Park Hill South HS
Courtney 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 three-straight conference championships as well as the 2012 district title. She was a two-time All-State Honorable Mention selection and was twice picked to the All-Metro Second Team.
“Anna is a very tenacious player who plays a lot bigger than she is,” said Francis. “She’s dynamic on the ball and really good under pressure. She’ll give us a composed, technical player when she’s on the field.”
Regan Gibbs // 5-9 // Goalkeeper // Naches, Washington // Naches Valley HS
The Jayhawks will once again bring in one of the top goalkeepers in the nation with the addition of the four-star keeper Gibbs. She tallied 34 shutouts in three seasons for the Rangers and boasted a career-low goals-against average of .220 as a freshman. Her defensive efforts helped her team to three-straight appearances in the round of 16 at the state playoffs. She was named to the All-State First Team after amassing 15 shutouts as a junior in the fall of 2013 and was her league’s co-player of the year.
Her accomplishments at the club level are even more impressive. In 2013, Top Drawer Soccer ranked her team the sixth-best defense in the Elite Clubs National League after she posted a .38 goals against average. Two years prior, Gibbs was the starting keeper for the State Cup Champion team. She was also the first team goalkeeper from 2009-11 for her state’s ODP squad.
“Regan is very athletic and has a very good technical base,” said associate head coach and goalkeepers coach Kelly Miller. “She’s coming in with a lot of potential with her athleticism and her tenacious mentality.”
Grace Hagan // 5-10 // Midfielder // Wichita, Kansas // Kapaun Mount Carmel Catholic HS
Hagan is another signee that put up impressive offensive numbers during her high school career. In just two seasons at Kapaun, she shot in 34 goals and added 23 assists, helping Alan Shepherd’s squad to three-consecutive regional and district championships as well as a third-place finish at the 2014 state tournament. Hagan was named to the All-State First Team each of the last two years and added back-to-back first team All-City and All-Region honors to her resume as well. She played for six years on the Wichita Football Club and added a year on Kerry Shubert’s Tulsa Soccer Club.
“Grace is a very dynamic player that can play either in the midfield or up front,” said Francis. “She’s very good on the dribble and I think she could help us in a lot of ways and in a lot of different spots so her versatility will be big for us.”
Parker Roberts // 5-6 // Midfielder // Leawood, Kansas // Blue Valley North HS
Roberts is the third player from the Sunflower State to sign as a member of the class of 2015. Ranked as the No. 39 player on Top Drawer Soccer’s IMG Top-150 national list, she was dubbed a NSCAA high school All-American as well as the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2014. The three-time First Team All-State selection led her Blue Valley North squad in goals each of the last three years, scoring 43 goals and adding 16 assists in that span.
Roberts’ status as one of the nation’s top midfielders has been cemented by her vast amount of experience with the United States’ Youth National team. She’s participated in two U20 National Team Camps over the last six months and was recently invited to a third U20 camp coming up later this spring in Spain.
She was also dominant on the club level. As a member of KC Dynamos from 2010-15, she won four state cup titles over the past five years and was a US Youth Nation semifinalist in 2014. During her time with the Dynamos, Roberts scored 135 goals. She spent three seasons on the Kansas ODP squad and was the team captain in 2014.
“Parker will probably be one of the most athletic kids on our team when she gets on campus,” said Francis. “She has a very good shot with either foot and is really good in the air. She’s been invited to three U20 National Team camps as a 17-year-old, so that just shows the level she’s already playing at and the type of experience she will have under her belt when she joins us.”
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