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Women's Recruiting Jul 25, 2023

NCAA National Champion UCLA unveils 2023 recruiting class featuring top U.S. talent

The UCLA women’s soccer team will welcome eight new players in 2023 as the Bruins aim to defend their national title.

Joining the Bruins in the fall will be transfers Ayo Oke and Emily Pringle, as well as freshmen Taylor Cheatham, Kirsten Crane, Maya Leoni, Sophie Reale, Milla Shafie and Val Vargas.

UCLA head coach Margueritte Aozasa stated: “This incoming class will be impactful right away both on and off the field. They are energetic, eager and full of humor. They each have something special to add to our program and will help us strive towards excellence.”

2023 Newcomers

•Part of U.S. Under-17 National Team pool in 2021
•Called up to the U.S. Under-15 National Team ID camp in 2019
•ECNL All-Conference selection in 2020-21
•Enrolled at UCLA in Winter 2023

Aozasa on Cheatham: “Taylor will bring another layer to an already dangerous frontline. She is pacy, aggressive and fearless as she takes players on in attack.”

Kirsten Crane

Midfielder
WA

•ECNL All-Conference first-team selection
•Two-time all-conference and team MVP honoree at Marysville Getchell HS
•Selected to the Best XI at the 2019 USYS Nationals while playing with Snohomish United
•Golden Boot winner at the 2019 Far West Regionals with nine goals

Aozasa on Crane: “Kirsten will add coverage all over the field in her first year. She has an ease with which she plays reminiscent of some Bruin greats.”

Maya Leoni

Midfielder
FL

•Trained with the U.S. Under-20 National Team at their pre-Concacaf camp in 2022
•Earned honorable mention acclaim from the Miami Herald while playing at Miami Country Day School for two seasons

Aozasa on Leoni: “Maya brings a lot of versatility to the 2023 class. She is a well-rounded attacking player with an incredible sense of humor and big personality.”

Sophie Reale

Forward
MA

•2023 Gatorade State Player of the Year for Massachusetts
•Totaled 87 goals and 43 assists in three seasons at Hingham HS and earned All-American, All-New England, all-state and division and league MVP honors two years in a row
•Two-time national champion with South Shore Select
•Younger sister of UCLA All-American defender Lilly Reale

Aozasa on Reale: “We are so happy to bring Sophie into our program and to keep the Reale family around even longer! She is super competitive, gritty, and seems to always find a way to get the job done.”

Milla Shafie

Defender
CA

•Won the ECNL National Championship with MVLA in 2021
•Selected to the Youth National Team regional ID camp in 2021
•Played in the 20221 ECNL San Diego National Selection Game
•Enrolled at UCLA in Winter 2023

Aozasa on Shafie: “Milla is one of the hardest workers we’ve come across. Her impact on our training environment is noticeable and will drive us towards our goal of another championship.”

•Starter on Mexico’s Under-20 National Team that won the 2023 Concacaf Championships
•Started three games in the 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup
•Scored a total of 10 goals at the 2022 Concacaf Under-17 Championships
•Previously part of the U.S. Youth National Team pool

Aozasa on Vargas: “Val is a true footballer. She has the poise, creativity, and pride to give our team another look in the attack.”

Emily Pringle

Defender
CA

•Two-year team captain at the University of Pennsylvania
•Played in 42 games with 37 starts over four years at UPenn (2019-22)
•Earned second-team All-Ivy League honors in 2021
•Named to Top Drawer Soccer’s Team of the Week Sept 27, 2021

Aozasa on Pringle: “Our connection with Emily was electric from the start. She will add depth to the backline and also bring some grounding perspective to our locker room.”

•U.S. Youth National Team member since U15; most recently played with the U23 team at the Portland Thorns Preseason Tournament
•Played in two games and started one for the U.S. at the 2022 Under-20 Women’s World Cup
•2022 All-Pacific Region first-team and All-Pac-12 second team as a sophomore at California after tying for the conference lead in assists with nine
•Selected to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in 2021

Aozasa on Oke: “We are so glad Ayo decided to join us in Westwood. She will bring a wealth of experience and flare to our backline as we hope to build on our defensive performances from last year.”

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