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Pepperdine women’s soccer unveils 5-player recruiting class

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MALIBU, California – Pepperdine women’s soccer coach Tim Ward announced the five newest Waves who will be joining the program ahead of the 2019 season.

One of them, Kelsey Hill, transferred to Pepperdine from Saint Mary’s and enrolled in January. She’ll have to sit out the 2019 season and then will have two seasons to play with the Waves. The other four – Alex Hobbs, Shelby Little, Helen Schaefer and Jaida Smith – are incoming freshmen.

“We’re really excited about the young ladies joining our program this fall,” Ward said. “Without a doubt, all of them have the quality and spirit that we have come to associate with the women who play for Pepperdine women’s soccer.”

Kelsey Hill
Defender | Elk Grove, Calif. | Cosumnes Oaks HS | Saint Mary’s College | San Juan Soccer Club

Played the past two seasons at WCC rival Saint Mary’s … Started all 38 matches over her two seasons … Scored two goals as a sophomore and one as a freshman … Made the 2017 WCC All-Freshman team … A three-time all-league selection in high school … On the IMG Academy top-150 national recruit list in 2015 and 2016 … Part of the Player Development Program from 2011-15 … Selected to the ECNL ID2 National Camp.

Hill says: “I decided to transfer to Pepperdine because of its exceptional academic and athletic programs. The coaching staff and players are extremely committed, and are constantly working to develop strong young women. The program is intense and I feel like it will help me in achieving my goals.”

Ward says: “We are really excited about Kelsey’s arrival into our program. We normally don’t get a lot of transfers but we knew Kelsey well because we recruited her out of high school, and she attended our Malibu Soccer Academy a few years ago. We wanted her out of high school but we didn’t necessarily have the resources at the time to help her become a Wave. She did very well at Saint Mary’s and we were impressed by her form the last two years. When we saw her name on the NCAA transfer portal, the rest was history. After seeing her train with our team this spring, we feel really blessed by Kelsey’s presence in our program. Our girls adore her as she is an amazing human being. She also happens to be a wonderful athlete and competitor, and she has a tremendous future for us as an attacking wide back or as a center back.”

Alex Hobbs
Forward | Sammamish, Wash. | The Overlake School | Seattle Reign Academy

Only competed for The Overlake School in 2015-16, winning a state tournament in 2016 and earning All-Emerald City League first team status in 2015-16 … A top goal-scorer for the Seattle Reign Academy, notching 24 goals in 25 Developmental Academy games in 2018-19 (ranking seventh nationally), and ranking sixth in the West Region with 18 in 2017-18 … Attended DA Nationals in 2018 and ECNL Nationals in 2016-17 … Selected for a Generation Adidas team that played in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016 … Named to the ODP Region IV Camp from 2015-17 and the Washington State ODP team from 2014-17 … Invited to the National Training Center from 2014-16 … Her mother also attended Pepperdine.

Hobbs says: “Not only is Pepperdine stellar in academics, their community truly lifts and shapes individuals into becoming their best selves, building compassionate, inspiring leaders.”

Ward says: “Alex comes to us from the Pacific Northwest and is coming off an incredible senior campaign. She was one of the most prolific strikers in the country for the Seattle Reign Academy. She has all the physical and mental tools to be a high-level collegiate striker. We are really excited to have her at Pepperdine and we believe she can continue doing for the Waves what she has done her whole life. Alex is a wonderful human being who does a really nice job academically, and she’s a bit of a legacy as her mother attended Pepperdine Law School.”

Shelby Little
Midfield/Forward | Thousand Oaks, Calif. | Hillcrest Christian School | Real So Cal

Did not play high school soccer … Joined Real So Cal for her senior year and previously played for the L.A. Galaxy, where she was a team captain and won league championships between 2014-17 … Was part of the ODP final 20 in 2014 and 2015 … Her sister Annie is a current student at Pepperdine.

Little says: “I chose Pepperdine because I know it is a place where I will be able to get an excellent college education along with the highest level of soccer. I know I will be playing under coaches who will help me develop not only as a player, but also as a person, and I will be surrounded by family and friends who I know will encourage me in my faith and stand by my side throughout my journey here.”

Ward says: “Shelby and her siblings were pretty much raised on the Pepperdine campus. Her father Rich was a long-time pastor of the Pepperdine Church of Christ. We saw from an early age the talent and mentality that this young lady possesses. Shelby has an intensity to her play that is hard to match. She is an excellent athlete, fast and gritty, and has the potential to play all three lines for the Waves in the future. This young lady can win games for her team through sheer will. She is a wonderful human being who will be a blessing to our program.”

Helen Schaefer
Forward | La Crescenta, Calif. | Flintridge Preparatory | SoCal Academy

All-CIF first team in 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 … 2016-17 Glendale Press Player of the Year … 104 goals, 72 assists in first four seasons … Won 2018 CIF D3 championship and was a state regional finalist … Three-time Prep League champions … With SoCal Academy, has won 14 tournaments or showcases and been a finalist in 11 others … Won the 2018 SCDSL Discovery League championship … Attended the U.S. National Training Center IE in 2014 and 2015 … Mother, Christen, also attended Pepperdine.

Schaefer says: “I chose Pepperdine because of the highly competitive soccer program of which I am very excited to be a part, and also because I know that it is a place that I will grow and be pushed to thrive as a person, a player and a student.”

Ward says: “Helen continues our line of legacy recruits since her mother also attended Pepperdine. Helen had an amazing rise over the last couple of years. Helen is a prolific goal scorer as well as a highly versatile player. She has played all over: in central midfield, as a center back, and she was last seen terrorizing defenders as a striker before suffering a knee injury from which she is currently recovering. We are very excited to have Helen join us in Malibu.”

Jaida Smith
Midfield | Mission Viejo, Calif. | Santa Margarita Catholic HS | LAFC Slammers

Won a CIF championship and a state regional championship as a freshman at Santa Margarita Catholic … Won three national championships in the past four years with LAFC Slammers, winning the ECNL in 2015 and 2016 and the DA in 2018 … Mother won a national championship in soccer at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1991.

Smith says: “Aside from the absolutely beautiful location, I chose Pepperdine because I immediately felt at home when I stepped onto the campus for the first time. I discovered a unique community of people and overall atmosphere at the school that I hadn’t experienced anywhere else. Pepperdine has everything I was looking for and more, and I feel so blessd to attend such an amazing university.”

Ward says: “Jaida is another in a long line of Slammers players to come to Pepperdine. Having played for one of the most successful ECNL teams in the country for the last few years, Jaida should come in well-prepared to compete for the Waves this fall. She will no doubt make a big impact on the Pepperdine campus, both on the field and in the classroom. She has a very high soccer IQ, wonderful technical ability and can combine well with others. Because of her skill set, we believe her transition to the Waves’ style of play will be a smooth one. She is amazingly talented and kind human being.”

Pepperdine finished the 2018 season with an 11-6-2 record and in third place in the WCC with a 6-1-2 mark.

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