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Friday, December 4, 2020

Soccer

A look at UH soccer’s 2021 signing class


UH soccer midfielder Madison Gear defending a Houston Baptist player in 2019. | Trevor Nolley/ The Cougar

UH soccer midfielder Madison Gear defending a Houston Baptist player in 2019. | Trevor Nolley/ The Cougar

With National Signing Day underway, UH soccer inked its first four signees of the 2021 recruiting class, the coaching staff revealed Wednesday.

Four-year Houston head coach Diego Bocanegra is excited about these four signees because they add further depth for the Cougars across the pitch and also fit the team’s biggest needs.

“Coming off a big recruiting class last year, our 2021 class may be small in quantity, but I expect it to be just as impactful,” Bocanegra said. “These student-athletes fit specific positional needs and I expect each of them to make a significant impact on our program.”

Here is a closer look at each of the four Houston signees:

Midfielder Kaylee Dressback

A back-to-back state champion, the Hoover, Alabama, native was named a member of First Team All-State.

Dressback was also named the All-Metro Underclassmen Player of the Year and earned a spot on the Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year finalist list. 

“Kaylee is another great addition that will add some depth and versatility to our defensive midfield as well as our back line as a center-back,” Bocanegra said. “She is strong in the air and in the tackle, she can quickly switch the point of attack and even score goals from distance because of her ability to strike the ball.”

Bocanegra expects the Vestavia Hills High School product to transition quickly to the college game.

Outside back Emma Colvin

After leading Albertville High School in Albertville, Alabama, in goals and assists, Colvin was named the Best Offensive Player in 2019 and earned AHSAA 6A All-State honors in 2020.

The Alabama product looks to make an impact for the Cougars both defensively and offensively when she arrives on campus. 

 “She has a determination and competitive drive to compete in every one-on-one battle which frustrates opposing attackers,” Bocanegra said when speaking about how Colvin will impact the team in the future.

Bocanegra went on to talk about her combination of defensive and offensive capabilities saying, “Emma is a tenacious defender who flies up and down the flank … She is willing to join the attack and provide great service into the box.  She will add to the grit and competitive fight we expect out of all of our backs.”

Center midfielder Sam Weihe

Weihe, a two-time team captain in high school, was named the Conference Player of the Year in 2020 after leading Nordiona High School in Northfield, Ohio, to its winningest season in school history. 

Weige, the three-time All-District midfielder, received lots of praise from her soon-to-be head coach.

“Sam is a multi-dimensional, attacking midfielder with the rare combination of skill, soccer IQ and athleticism,” Bocanegra said. “She can beat you on the dribble by combining with teammates or even striking the ball from distance.”

Weihe has one of the highest soccer IQ’s that Bocanegra has ever seen from a high schooler, he said.

“She is one of the smartest soccer players I have ever recruited and I look forward to helping her fine tune her game,” Bocanegra said. “She has an intrinsic drive to get better and she seems to find a way to make all of the players around her better.”

Goalkeeper Haley Woodward

Named 7A West Newcomer of the Year, Woodward was a four-sport athlete at Fayetteville High School and seeks to bring that same athleticism and competitiveness between the posts for the Cougars. 

“We are so excited to add Haley to our goalkeeper core,” Bocanegra said. “When she first saw her playing for her club team, Haley stood out as a top-level goalkeeper.”

Although Woodward is extremely athletic and competitive, those were not the only aspects of the Fayetteville keeper’s game that impressed Bocanegra.

“It wasn’t until we worked with her at our camp that we realized she was much more than just a physically gifted goalkeeper,” Bocanegra said.

“Haley impressed us with her lateral movement in shot stopping, her ability to come off her line, her physical presence and overall command of her box. To top it off, her communication and distribution with both her hands and feet are already at the collegiate level.” 

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