Listen and Subscribe to The SoccerWire Podcast

Listen Now
Women's Recruiting Mar 11, 2020

Florida Gulf Coast University women’s soccer adds 7 more players for 2020 season

FORT MYERS, FL – In addition to the seven players that signed in the fall of 2019, FGCU women’s soccer head coach Jim Blankenship has announced that he and his staff will add seven more players for the 2020-21 academic year.

Matilde Abrahamsson, Jenna Butcofski, Meagan Gruber, Kajsa Lang, Malaya Melancon, Lydia Paternoster and Leah Scarpelli have all committed to Blankenship’s program, which has won nine ASUN titles in the past 10 years.

“I’m really excited that we’ve finally been able to finalize our class for the fall of 2020,” five-time ASUN Coach of the Year Jim Blankenship said. “We already had an impressive class and now we’ve been able to add some really outstanding prospects that will round out the group. We have three athletes that rostered with the national team whose international playing experiences will be huge for our program. Scarpelli, Gruber and Abrahamsson enrolled this spring and have already had an impact as Eagles. In our spring match against FC Toronto, which we won 8-0, Gruber scored in the first minute and Scarpelli finished with two goals and an assist.”

MATILDE ABRAHAMSSON | MF | 5’8″ | HALMSTAD, SWEDEN | SANNARPSGYMNASIET
– Played for the Swedish national team (U14, U15, U17)
– Is most proud of winning the “best student” and the “best friend” awards for her high school
– Scored one goal as one of the national team’s defenders during a match against Belarus
– Chose FGCU because of the beautiful campus, the weather and the soccer team

JENNA BUTCOFSKI | MF | 5’4″ | HARMONY, FL | HARMONY HIGH SCHOOL
– Three-time Osceola All-County selection (2016-18), Osceola County Player of the Year (2019)
– Garnered Central Florida Second Team Honors
– Broke her high school’s career assists record in just three years
– Four-year member of the National Honors Society
– Chose FGCU for the state of the art engineering program, the small class sizes, the winning soccer program, the team members and the coaching staff
Coach Blankenship on Butcofski: “Jenna is a player that plays with confidence and bite. We feel as though she can play anywhere on the field and make an impact.”

MEAGAN GRUBER | D | 5’9″ | LONG BEACH, CA | JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSITY
– Transferred to FGCU from Jacksonville University, where she started in every match she played in
– Landed a spot on the ASUN All-Freshman Team
– Notched one goal during her time with the Dolphins
– Earned a spot on the Dean’s List throughout her time at Jacksonville
– Chose FGCU because it offered her an opportunity to use her last year of eligibility while obtaining her master’s degree in hopes of becoming a future medical professional

KAJSA LANG | D | 5’10” | KALMAR, SWEDEN | STAGNELIUSSKOLAN
– U19 Swedish National Team Captain
– Played on Sweden’s Youth National Team, as well as one of IFK Kalmar’s teams, which former FGCU soccer standout Tabby Tindell plays for currently
– Has eight goals during her time on the Swedish Youth National Team
– Chose FGCU because of the combination of soccer and education
Coach Blankenship on Lang: “Kajsa comes from a very decorated background with the National Team. Her success at the International stage will be valuable to taking us to the next level”

MALAYA MELANCON | F | 5’7″ | NAPLES, FL | FIRST BAPTIST ACADEMY
– Two-year National Honors Society member, honor roll student, academic algebra award recipient
– Served as her Class Vice President both junior and senior year
– Named her soccer team’s MVP for four years and served as a team captain for all four years
– Scored over 100 goals in high school, setting a new record for her team
– Also had an accomplished track career, during which she won four state medals (4×100 relay, triple jump, long jump, high jump)
– Chose FGCU because she loved the family-like atmosphere of the soccer team, the coaching staff, the competitive environment and the educational opportunities
Coach Blankenship on Melancon: “We’re excited to add Malaya, another SWFL star, who is super athletic and her pace will be a huge asset for us next season.”

LYDIA PATERNOSTER | MF | 5’4″ | VERO BEACH, FL | FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOL
– Scored the winning goal to send her team to the Development Academy National Playoffs Winter Showcase qualifiers in 2019
– Recognized by TopDrawerSoccer.com as the U.S. Development Academy Player Standout of the Week during her junior year
– Advanced to the ECNL National Playoffs with Boca united ECNL, as well as the Regional Finals for her high school’s soccer team that same season
– A three-time Principal’s Honor Roll honoree, IRSC Dean’s List member and won her high school’s National Community Service Ambassador Award
– Chose FGCU for the excellent academic opportunities, and unrivaled sports culture.
Coach Blankenship on Paternoster: “Lydia’s work rate and technical ability should translate into our team well. We’re excited to bring someone with a mentality like hers into our program.”

LEAH SCARPELLI | MF | 5’9″ | BRICK, NJ | PENN STATE
– Transferred to FGCU after spending one season with the nationally-ranked Penn State women’s soccer team
– Coming out of high school, was ranked No. 19 overall and the No. 6 defender by TopDrawerSoccer.com
– Captained the U.S. Women’s National Team at the U15, U16 and U17 levels; the U15 team won the CONCACAF title
– Received the Best XI center back award in 2017, the same year that she won the 2017 Torneo Femminile Delle Nazioni Tournament with the US U17 National Team
– ODP member at the state, regional and national levels