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The Girls Academy May 08, 2024

Best Defensive Units in the Girls Academy’s Pacific Northwest Conference

(Pictured Above: The Seattle Reign Academy 05/06 squad has earned four consecutive clean sheets.)

With the 2023-2024 season entering the final stretch, SoccerWire checks back in on the Girls Academy’s Pacific Northwest Conference with a look at some of the top defensive units.

After seeing multiple teams make the GA National Playoffs last year, teams from the Pacific Northwest Conference have continued their strong run of form in 2023-2024 with their work on the defense playing a key role.

(More Top Defensive Units Around the GA: Mid-Atlantic | Mid-America | Mountain West)

Here are some of the top performing defensive units from teams from across the GA Pacific Northwest West Conference in the U15-U19 age groups.

Spokane Sounders Shadow 09: Held opponents to a .45 Goals Against average in conference play this season, vaulting them to the top of the table with Washington East Surf Soccer Club (9-1-1, 28 points). Led by defenders Hailey Roberts and Teagan Saunders the Sounders have held opponents to three goals in league action while earning eight shutouts.

Washington East Surf SC 09: Earned back-to-back shutout victories over Bridge City Soccer Academy (7-0) and Columbia Premier Soccer Club (2-0) to improve their record to 9-3-1 on 28 points just behind the Sounders on Goal Differential (2.64 to 1.85). Defender Jillian Flanigan earned an invitation to participate in the GA’s Pacific Northwest Talent ID event, a testament to her work in the defensive third for Surf all season. Surf’s seven clean sheets has provided the team a high level of support and a chance at the GA National Playoffs.

Seattle Reign Academy 09:  Fended off Liverpool FC IA Academy Washington 3-1 over the weekend to record their eighth Pacific Northwest Conference victory on the season. Goalkeeper Nora Harrison has led their defensive efforts all season, making difficult saves during decisive moments and helping build possession out of the back. Thanks to her efforts, the Reign have earned seven shutouts in conference play this season.

Washington East Surf SC 08:  Over the past ten days Surf have pulled off three dominant defensive performances over Bridge City Soccer Academy (6-1), Columbia Premier Soccer Club (3-0), and Spokane Sounders (1-0) to move into first place in the U16 Pacific Northwest standings (11-1-2, 35 points). Goalkeeper Kenzie Shuler and defenders Sidney Johnson and Kalina Barbosa lead a talented defensive line that have allowed more than two goals in a league game just once this season. All three players were also recently called up to the Surf Select National Blue team, which will compete in Northern Ireland this summer.

Seattle Reign Academy 08: Recorded their fifth consecutive victory on Sunday, earning the 9-0 win over Liverpool FC IA -Washington. In league play, the Reign have given up a meager four goals this season and have earned nine shutouts. Goalkeeper Tyler Roberts and defenders Sutton Kelsey and Grace Carroll each received call-ups to the GA Pacific Northwest Talent ID event and have played key roles in the Reign’s .43 Goals Against average and their rise through the standings (10-1-3, 33 points).

Spokane Sounders Shadow 08: Booked shutouts in three of their last five matches and allowed more than one goal in a match just twice this season in conference action. Defender Nora Cullen was recently invited to the GA’s Pacific Northwest Talent ID event and has proven her mettle during the stretch run for the Sounders. With two games against the Reign coming up this weekend and four left Spokane are right in the thick of the playoff race (9-3-0, 27 points).

Columbia Premier Soccer Club 07: Thanks to some strong defensive work in the final minutes, Columbia were able to hold off Eugene Metro FC 3-2 down the stretch on Sunday and helping them maintain their overall lead in the U17 Pacific-Northwest Conference. Their backline consistently comes through in big matches and has led the team to a .93 Goals Against average, which is tied for the second lowest in the conference.

Lauren Adams (2025-uncommitted), Naomi Axelrod (2025-uncommitted), Paige Curl (2026), Abby Doyle (2025-uncommitted), Peyton Dukes (2025-uncommitted), Ana Garling (2025-uncommitted), Nevaeh Irvin (2026), Raya Janson (2025-uncommitted), Tessa Pham (2025-uncommitted), and Ella Tyger (2025-uncommitted) have all played key roles in defense this season and have helped support goalkeepers Natalie Grajeda (2026) and Rhiannon Teasley (2025-uncommitted) maintain order.

Washington East Surf SC 07:  Surrendered three goals in their last five games while earning victories over Bridge City Soccer Academy (1-0) and Columbia Premier Soccer Club (1-0). Surf have only allowed more than two goals in a league match this season twice and have booked four shutouts. Goalkeeper Lilian Cobos (2025-uncommitted) and defender Emma Mostek (2025-uncommitted) have run an effectively, tightly organized backline all season and are a major reason for their success in conference play (8-3-3, 27 points).

Liverpool FC International Academy-Washington 07:  Goalkeeper Emily Jenkins (2026, USYNT U15 pool player) leads a talented defensive unit that have earned seven shutouts this season including three 1-0 results in a row in March over Bridge City Soccer Academy, Washington East Surf Soccer Club, and Spokane Sounders. Their .86 Goals Against average is the lowest in the U17 Pacific-Northwest Conference.

Columbia Premier Soccer Club 05/06: Maintained a perfect record so far in league play (13-0-0, 39 points) thanks to their stellar defense. Defenders Ariana Barney (2024-Dominican), Lilli Mickel (2024-Western Oregon), Anna Chaffee (2024-Pacific Lutheran), Audrey Dizon (2024-Gonzaga), Avah Eslinger (2024-Western Washington) have worked alongside goalkeeper Kendra Chapin (2024-Colorado Mesa) and Stephanie Leckwold (2024-South Dakota) to form a strong defensive line that is looking to improve upon the club’s GA National Playoff appearance from last year.

Seattle Reign Academy 05/06: Blanked their last four opponents to earn the maximum number of points and hold on to the No. 2 position in the conference (11-2-0, 33 points). Defenders Mackenzie Peterson (2024-Regis), Gladys Sclafini (2024), Ashley Payne (2025), Molly Eamer (2024) and Serayah Gooler (2024-Penninsula) have formed a strong 1-2 partnership in the middle for the Reign, helping them shut down attackers and build possession out of the back.