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ECNL May 30, 2024

Players to Watch: ECNL Girls North Carolina 2024 National Event

(Pictured Above: Class of 2026 Atlanta Fire United defender Rose Martelli)

The sixth ECNL Girls National Event of 2024, ECNL North Carolina, is taking place from May 31-June 2 at the Bryan Park in Browns Summit, NC.

ECNL North Carolina will feature 169 teams from across the league’s U15-U17 age groups. To view the schedule for ECNL North Carolina, click here.

Ahead of the weekend’s action, here are some players to know from this year’s event. Players are listed according to their graduation year.

You can nominate also nominate a player who has stood out this season that will be attending the event through the following link.


Megan Rivera


Lightning quick on the attack, Rivera uses her speed and strong technical skills to break down defenses with relative ease. Her footwork is a testament to her time playing futsal, where she recently scored a brace for Falcons U17 futsal in their friendly against OS Unidos in Portugal. Her work in the attacking third has helped UFA score 63 goals in Southeast Conference action this season, securing the Southeast Conference title for the second consecutive year.

Haylee Ostrander


A five-time USYNT ID Center invitee, Ostrandr has provided a steadying presence in between the posts for Cleveland this season. Using acrobatic skills she can parry difficult shots over the bar with relative ease and is more than willing to mix it up with opponents on crosses into the box.


Coming off of her freshman season for Mountain Brook High School, Heide will look to continue her pickup where she left off in ECNL play with Alabama FC. Heide has a long reach and can use her athleticism to parry shots over the bar and wide of the posts. She also runs a highly organized Alabama defense that have allowed only 19 goals in conference play this season.

Possessing limitless speed and a dynamic first touch, Djagca opens up play for De Anza on the outside breaking past defensive lines and heading straight for goal. Her attacking efforts were a major reason for De Anza capturing the Northern California conference title this season (16-0-2, 50 points) with the team scoring 52 goals.

Audrey McKeen


Part of a very strong NVA 2007 team, the versatile attacker helped lead them to the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship and a 9-1-2 record. McKeen creates dangerous opportunities for her team from multiple positions, and comes into the NC event in good form, having played with the club’s highly ranked 2008 ECNL Boys program this Spring. She most recently added a goal in the ECNL Boys’ league play, a well-timed header in a 2-0 victory over Charlotte Soccer Academy.

Emily Baird


Baird and the Florida Premier backline are coming into the Tar Heel State in fine form, having earned four clean sheets and allowed just one goal total in their last five games. Her efforts proved vital in earning the team a spot in the ECNL’s North American Cup, with her shot-stopping skills giving them an advantage down the stretch. The two-time USYNT ID Center invitee and four-time ODP Florida goalkeeper conceded just fourteen goals in fifteen matches this season.

Alice Gay


Finished off her high school season with Riverbend by helping the team earn a District Championship. In open space, she uses her speed and footwork to force defenders on their heels and out of position allowing for her teammates to capitalize on her efforts.

Kayla Sasso


Recently scored a brace in the PDA Showcase against SJEB FC. Sasso is comfortable with the ball at either foot (she scored with both against SJEB FC) and can play multiple positions throughout the field. That tactical insight gives her a unique perspective on how to organize possession and maintain control of the match. Her motor and ability to play the full 80 minutes is a testament to her work ethic and preparation (she is a member of the varsity track team and does speed and agility training). She is also a member of the New Jersey 2008 and 2009 ODP teamsΒ  and is a varsity starter at Manalapan High School.

Kherington Yezik

A gritty two-way midfielder who is strong on the ball and rarely hits the turf, Yezik can disrupt a defenses rhythm by winning tackles and always being in position. Offensively she has a great first touch and distributes quickly with both feet. She knows the moments to possess and when to push, and is a reliable edge of box finisher.

Julia Amireh | Midfielder-Forward
NC Courage Academy Β 08 (NC)

Hammered home a brace in the Courage’s 7-0 victory over CSA at the Super Cup. Amireh’s scoring form was just a continuation from what has been a superb attacking season for her, leading an attacking corps that scored 42 goals in the Mid-Atlantic Conference (most among all teams in the conference). She can also create attacking chances for others, hitting difficult diagonal passes into open space for teammates to seize on.


Kallie West | Midfielder
FC Alliance 08 (TN)

Serves as one of Alliance’s chief playmakers through the midfield and has an acute sense of when to slow down or speed up play. Her ball control and excellent footwork helped lead Alliance to the Ohio Valley Overall Championship and a spot in the National Playoffs. At the high school level last season for the Girls Preparatory School , she earned DII AA All- State honors.


Kendall Watson | Midfielder
NC Courage 09 (NC)

A mainstay in the midfield for the Courage, Watson played a key role in North Carolina securing a spot in the National Playoffs. Her work on both sides has given her coaches flexibility in building a starting eleven, slotting her at multiple points along the midfield depending upon the opponent. Her scoring and passing prowess has led to 20 goal contributions this season for the Courage and will undoubtedly serve them well as they face stiff competition at the final ECNL National Event of the regular season.


Alexandra Justiniano | Midfielder
East Meadow SC 09 (NY)

Operating out of the attacking midfield, Justiniano provides organization and leadership for an EMSC team that is difficult to breakdown. Her track backs and timely attacking give her teammates ample time to organize and her strong communication skills allow for them to receive real-time instructions.


Kendall Potter | Midfielder
Virginia Union 09 (VA)

Tallied seven assists and scored twenty points for Maurice J. McDonough High School last fall. She has continued to use speed and precision passing to the benefit of Virginia throughout the winter and the spring, giving the already stacked roster an additional attacking asset.


Can play multiple positions in both the forward and midfield, providing UFA with a spark at the seven, eleven, and eight positions. Her passing in particular has been on point all season, playing a key role in UFA’s ability to crack open tight defensive lines.

Helped set the tone for a successful run in North Atlantic Conference play this year by scoring five goals in DELCO’s 7-1 victory over HEX FC Bucks. Karpinski can drive to go with either foot and uses her pinpoint tactical awareness when deciding whether to shoot or pass. She leads by example and has helped push DELCO to a 6-4-3 record in the North Atlantic Conference.

Rose Martelli

Midfielder Defender

Slotting in as the Fire’s left center-back, Martelli played a key role Atlanta earning a Champions League playoff spot out of the Southeast (8-3-4, 28 points). She is coming off of a strong season of high school soccer with Buford, finishing second in the George State High School Championships. The right-footed defender has an excellent sense of timing and can frame her tackles perfectly so that they end attacking chances and avoid conceding any fouls.

Reese Alexander


Anchored an NVA defense that earned an undefeated record in the top flight at this year’s Jefferson Cup. In Mid-Atlantic Conference play, NVA have been equally dangerous posting a 8-2-2 record on 26 points while qualifying for the Champions League Playoffs. Alexander provides lockdown defensive work at both the center and outside back positions (she has also in the past operated as a holding midfielder) for NVA and helps maintain their defensive shape.

Aubrey McLin


Showed her versatility and technical know-how of the beautiful game by playing the field for Cal North ODP this past weekend, scoring a goal. Between the posts, there are few goalkeepers in the country that can match McLin’s combination of athletic skills and strong fundamentals. Against some of the top clubs in the country (MVLA, De Anza Force, and San Juan SC to name a few) she has proven herself time and time again to be a difference-maker and leader on the pitch.

Riley Cunningham


Assisted on two goals against Tennessee Soccer Club to earn the 2-2 draw and book Indy’s spot in the ECNL National Showcase in Seattle. Cunningham in the defense likes to grind out challenges against attackers and is an asset in pushing her teammates forward into the attack. Operating as an outside back and sometimes as a right winger, she has been effective in starting Indy’s transition and building attacking chances.

Dalia Sabet


Hammered a shot from distance in Cleveland’s recent 3-1 win over Racing Louisville Academy, giving the Force a big win in Ohio Valley Conference play. Although Sabet has thrived in the attack as both a forward and midfielder she has also worked on her defensive skills this season becoming a stronger two-way player. That versatility may prove key for Cleveland at ECNL North Carolina.

Reese Canada | Midfielder
Michigan Hawks Β 07 (MI)

Scored the winning goal in penalties to lift the USWYNT U-16s past Paraguay in the UEFA Friendship Tournament championship. Canada has had an equally strong season with the Hawks, helping guide their attack to 54 goals and an undefeated record in the Midwest Conference (14-0-0, 42 points).


Mia Villalpando | Midfielder
San Diego Surf 08 (CA)

A Mexican under-17 international, Villalpando organizes the Surf midfield and uses her superior passing skills to maintain possession. She can think 2-3 steps ahead of most defenders and is always looking for little gaps in defensive lines to exploit. Defensively, she impedes the progress of the opposition by closely marking her counterparts and giving them little room to create.


Siena Bryan | Defender
Florida Premier FC 07 (FL)

An expert in defending the counter-attack, Bryan uses her speed to close down on opponents and force them either wide or to the outside. Her efforts on the defense have once again pushed Florida Premier to the top of the Southeast Conference with a 13-2-0 record on 39 points and a spot in the ECNL Playoffs. Bryan was a member of last year’s Southeast All-Conference First Team and selected to Capelli’s 2023 USA All-Star Team.


Avery Fisher | Goalkeeper
Wilmington Hammerheads 08 (NC)

Scored the game-winning goal back in February in Wilmington’s 3-1 win over Virginia Union to secure their Champions League spot. The 2022 2023 All-American team member also showed how dangerous she is on pieces, earning an assist on a cross into the box that the Union defender hit into the back of the net. At the high school level, she had a standout season for Hoggard including scoring a hat trick against North Brunswick.


Ava Reddy | Midfielder
Penn Fusion Soccer Academy 08 (PA)

Propelled Penn Fusion to an undefeated record in North Atlantic Conference play (13-0-0, 39 points), using her precise decision-making skills to build sustained possessions through the midfield. She is a highly versatile player and can play multiple positions in the midfield and has also aided their defense at times this season. In addition to her ball control and defensive work, Reddy has also scored two goals during PFSA’s 2023-2024 campaign.


Logan Smith | Midfielder
NCFC Youth ECNL 08 (NC)

Racked up First Team All-Conference and NCISAA All-State selections as well as her 2nd consecutive NCSCA All-Region and United Soccer Coaches All-State honors for Ravenscroft High School this season. Her 33 goals and 18 assist effort propelled her to the top of her league in scoring and second overall in NCISAA Class 4 with 82 points, earning Smith her second nomination for Carolina Soccer Honors nomination for Player of the Year. Recently, she has been logging minutes for the Fayetville Fury of the USL W-League. That experience, playing against Division 1 level talent as a 2026, will certainly help NCFC at their home state event.


Michaela Panella | Midfielder
Western New York Flash 08 (NY)

Featured for the USYNT U-15 team during last summer’s European tour, helping secure victories over Germany and the Netherlands. In critical moments, Panella’s poise helps steady the Flash midfield giving them balance and structure depending upon what their team needs. She can also play in the defense and at forward which helps her understand what opponents are planning and giving her tactical insight in breaking them down.


Ryan Fogel | Defender
Dallas Texans 07 (TX)

A two-time 6A State Champion out of Ursuline Academy in Dallas, Fogel has served as the captain and starting center back for the Dallas Texans this season. Her leadership skills and persistent defensive work was on full display in shutouts against DKSC and Sting Dallas Black (both 0-0). She has also played up in the defensive midfield, holding her own against a potent Solar 07 attack. Her efforts helped limit the two-time National Champions during critical portions of the match.


Addie Utz | Defender
United Futbol Academy 08 (FL)

Earned a 7A State Championship title for West Forsyth High School this season alongside fellow UFA teammate/defender Marlee Raymond. Her lightning-quick reflexes and superb hand-eye coordination has proved to be key factors in Forsyth clinching top honors, making two penalty kick saves in the final. She also added a goal from the penalty spot in the final, showing her accuracy and her poise under pressure.


Marlee Raymond | Defender
United Futbol Academy 08 (GA)

Coming off of a strong UEFA Friendship Tournament in Turkey for the USWYNT U-16s, Raymond is looking to continue her run of form with UFA. Playing primarily as a left center back, the 7A State Champion can make the difficult stops on the defense and then immediately start building possession. Her quick thinking and precise passing skills help UFA maintain their shape and structure in critical junctures.


Ava Martinez | Midfielder
MVLA 08 Inter(CA)

The three-time USYNT ID Center invitee possesses excellent field vision and can thread passes to teammates in even the tightest of spaces. With MVLA she has played a critical role in their 15-2-1 record in Northern California conference play. At Sanger High School she has earned Team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year plaudits in just her first two seasons.


Olivia Rubinich | Defender
Penn Fusion Soccer Academy 08 (PA)

The central defender and team co-captain has anchored a Penn Fusion defense that has allowed only five goals in North Atlantic Conference play this season. The U-15 ECNL All-American runs a tightly organized backline that is looking to build off of their perfect record in conference play this season and ready themselves for a playoff run.


Christina Festa | Midfielder
World Class FC 08 (NY)

Can play multiple positions in the field, but primarily works as a number six or eight for World Class. Her consistency and persistence at prolonging possession and, when in defense, impeding attacker’s progress helps set the tone for what they are looking to accomplish. Her technical skills always seem to be on point and physically she has proven herself adept at winning first and second balls against strong opponents.


Mackenzie Mentzer | Midfielder

Being one of the captains of the team, Kenzie has shown versatility and leadership throughout the season. Playing various positions [forward, midfield, defense] has allowed her to contribute to the team’s success and qualification for Champions League playoffs in Seattle next month. She is an integral part of the attack, contributing multiple goals and assists throughout the season. In addition, she has helped secure the defense at outside back or center back.


Petra Bandula | Forward
Western New York Flash 08 (NY)

Recently called up to Croatia’s under-17 National Team for UEFA Qualifiers, Bandula brings a ton of experience and firepower to the Flash attack. She scored twice in qualifying against European opposition, using her strong right foot to create attacking chances up top.


Sierra Dupre

Midfielder Forward

Helped the USWYNT U-16s capture the UEFA Friendship Tournament title, including earning a shutout in regulation over Paraguay. Dupre played left-back for the US at the tournament, adding another tool to her defensive arsenal. The Riverhounds come into this competition on a bit of a hot streak, having earned points in four of their last five ECNL matches (3-1-1, 10 points).

Cecilia Nowicki | Defender
Jacksonville FC 07 (FL)

Dominates play through the center of the pitch for Jacksonville, slowing down attackers her timely tackles and making key clearances during matches. Thanks to her efforts, JFC earned five shutouts this season across all ECNL competitions. JFC will undoubtedly use this experience to help prepare the team for the National Playoffs.