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Youth Girls Mar 05, 2024

Players to Watch: Girls Academy 2024 Champions Cup Finals

The Girls Academy National Events calendar continues with the GA Winter Combine and Champions Cup from March 7-12 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. (College Coaches)

The GA Champions Cup finals will feature U13-U19 teams that advanced through the group stages during the winter competition. To view the schedule, 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. Players attending the Showcase portion of the event can also be nominated.


Melanie Howard | Goalkeeper
CUP 11 (OH)
Made ten saves in Group D, lifting CUP to an undefeated record and a spot into the knockout rounds. In league play, she has had an equally strong effort between the posts earning two shutouts while leading them to a 4-1-1 record on 13 points.


Liliana Rubio


Supercharges Lamroinda anytime she is on the pitch, using her relentless energy to open up play and get results in key moments. Throughout her youth career, Rubio has played a variety of positions on the pitch giving her a strong tactical insight into what opponents are thinking and how best to stop them. With Lamorinda she has primarily played as a winger, but her persistent defensive work allows her to also operate as a wing back. In November, she received a call-up for Mexico’s under-15 National Team (She is also a pool player for the USYNT).

Gabby Beinecke | Forward
Beadling SC 09 (PA)

A USYNT Talent ID Center and USYNT East Region ID Center invitee, Beinecke leads a talented Beadling attack that has already scored 18 goals early in Mid-Atlantic Conference play. Her leadership and work up top have led her to receive GA Mid-Atlantic and National Talent ID invitations. Her pace on and off of the ball gives defenders trouble while her precision passing helps set up goal-scoring opportunities for her teammates.


Paxton Battaglia | Defender
Tophat 09 Gold (GA)

Serving as Tophat’s captain, Battaglia has led their defensive to be one of the top backlines in the Girls Academy. Through 18 Conference games this season, Tophat allowed just six goals this season and are sporting a .33 Goals Against Average (lowest in the U15 Southeast Conference). Battaglia has received USYNT and GA Southeast Conference Talent ID camp invites.


Eliza Barber | Midfielder
Tophat 08 Gold (GA)

Operating as Tophat’s number nine, Barber has created a spark in the Tophat attack that scored 86 goals in the Southeast Conference last fall. Her explosive runs and clever first touch make her highly difficult for attackers to mark. She can also deliver quality service to her teammates, providing quick passes in open space for her teammates to capitalize on.


Jadyn Allen | Winger
TSJ FC Virginia 08 (VA)

Breaking attacking lines with her speed on either flank, Allen is a difference-maker for TSJ FC Virginia especially on the counter-attack. Allen possesses a booming right foot which she can use to hammer a cross into the box or a long shot on target. Her work on the outside proved pivotal in Conference play, limiting opponents to a .56 Goals Against Average the lowest in the Mid-Atlantic Conference.


Allie Emswiler | Centerback
Beadling SC 09 (PA)

Leads a Beadling backline that have already earned three shutouts in their first four Mid-Atlantic Conference matches this season. The USYNT ID Center invitee has shown a knack for making decisive clearances inside of her own eighteen yard box, coolly knocking balls wide or delivering passes to open teammates. She is also an asset in the air, heading balls out of danger.


Lily Heron | Forward
Phailadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 09 (PA)

Heading into Champions Cup play, Heron is on a goal-scoring tear, bagging a goal and an assist in each of her last two Mid-Atlantic Conference games. A threat on the ground and in the air, Heron is at her best when she is taking on multiple defenders, using her speed to break past their line and create goal-scoring opportunities. Her work on and off of the ball has been instrumental in Philadelphia’s early season success (4-0-0, 12 points).


Emmi Cence | Defender
South Carolina Surf 09 (SC)

A USYNT ID East Coast mini camp invitee, Cence has anchored the Surf backline to a 9-3-5 record in Conference play. Serving as the team captain, she has used her expertise in reading attackers tendencies to help her teammates make adjustments in their markings and coverage. She has also shown that she is more than willing to engage attackers in one-on-one situations and make difficult challenges.


Lily Jeakle | Forward
Nationals 08 Blue (MI)

Last year’s Golden Boot winner has followed up a strong 2022-2023 campaign with an equally impressive performance this season leading a Nationals attack that have scored 22 goals in 6 Mid-America Conference games. A technically sound attacker, Jeakle can break defenses in a variety of ways. Whether it is a cleverly-weighted pass to a cutting teammate and a hammer of a shot, Jeakle is an attacking player that defenders need to take notice of when she is on the pitch.


Addison Vrabel | Forward
Beadling SC 09 (PA)

In her first Girls Academy season, Vrabel has settled in nicely with Beadling scoring five goals and adding three assists. She is coming off of a strong high school campaign in her freshman year at North Allegheny, aiding their efforts up top in their run to the WPIAL Finals and the PIAA State Playoffs.


Finley Newell


Set a Georgetown High School single-game record earlier in the month, burying five goals into the back of the net in their 6-0 win over Cedar Grove. She has been equally important on the attacking for Lonestar this season, including providing the lone goal in their 1-0 win against Challenge SC ECNL at the Lonestar College Showcase. Newell has represented the Republic of Ireland at the U16 level and recently was selected to participate in the GA Frontier Conference Talent ID event.

Elsa Maurer


Spearheads a City defense that have posted a formidable .58 Goals Against average this season, the lowest among all Midwest under-17 teams. Maurer makes smart, decisive runs off of the ball that can cut off attackers and end scoring chances. In the Champions Cup Group Stage, she led the backline to a 2-0 shutout win over Florida United and helped hold off City SC 2-1.

McKenzie Godfrey | Midfielder
Tophat 08 Gold (GA)

The four-time USYNT ID Center invitee has punished defense all season long, putting Tophat in prime position to earn another National Championship. Off of the ball, Godfrey is constantly looking for any space between defenders to exploit and can whip her shots on target with both power and pace. For Midtown High School, she is coming off of a hat trick performance against Decatur.


Lauren van Rhein | Forward
Lou Fusz Athletic 08 (MO)

Netted a brace in LFA’s Frontier Conference finale, a 3-1 win that secured their third consecutive Conference Championship. Under pressure, Van Rhein always seems to remain calm and poised, using her strong left foot to bury goal-scoring chances. She was recently selected to participate in the GA Frontier Conference Talent ID event.


Gabby Thompson | Midfielder-Forward
Lou Fusz Athletic 08 (MO)

Scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes of LFA’s Group D Champions Cup finale against the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals. On the pitch, Thompson’s confidence is evident from her first touch-she makes smart decisions both on and off of the ball and can anticipate the opposition’s strategy from the start. She also works well with her fellow attackers to take what she is seeing and provide them with invaluable tactical insight. Her experience in the 4×100 and 200 meters in track and field helps her plan her diagonal runs perfectly, leaving the defense in the dust.


Sadie Peterson | Forward
IMG Academy 08 (FL)

Selected to participate in last summer’s GA National Talent ID event and a recent selection for this year’s Southeast event, Peterson is one of the top GA forwards in her age group. Possessing limitless speed and a nose for goal she led IMG to a 10-2-2 record this fall. Peterson has also been called up for USYNT ID Center events.


Bree Reder | Defender
CUP 07 (OH)

The United Soccer Coaches All-American defender led CUP to a 1-0 win over Sockers FC, their first shutout win of the season. The reigning Champions Cup winners are looking to make it two years in a row with Reder likely to play a huge role in defending their title. The sophomore is an expert marker and gives attackers little room to operate.


Emery Sterling | Midfielder
Phailadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 07 (PA)

Provided a scoring punch for Philly during the Champions Cup Group Stage, scoring twice to help book their spot in the next round. Against Lou Fusz’s 07s she threaded through the game-tying assist, earning a valuable 1-1 draw. Over the past two seasons, Sterling has played multiple positions (midfield, wing-back, and forward) learning the nuances of each quickly and making an immediate impact on the pitch.


Sienna Jenson | Defender
Utah Celtic 07 (UT)

Serving as Celtic’s center-back, Sienna keeps the defensive line organized and in the right places. In 50/50 aerial battles, Jenson is effective at winning the ball and framing her headers so that they are within proximity of a teammate. Her relentless pursuit winning every ball helped Celtic in the Group Stage narrowly defeat HTX (3-2) and Indy Premier SC (3-1), booking their spot in the knockout round.


Calle Dalbon | Midfielder
Beadling SC 08 (PA)

The GA Mid-Atlantic Talent ID invitee is coming off of a standout high school season for Bethel Park in which she All-WPIAL and All-Section honors. The 2026 midfielder is a calming presence in the midfield and can maintain possession for large portions of the match with her strong field vision and excellent passing skills. When under pressure, she thrives and provides a high level of organization when facing attackers.


Kalena Bellini


A Utah Valley verbal commit, Bellini recently received a call-up to Brazil’s under-17 national team continuing a strong 2023-2024 campaign for the winger. With Wasatch, Bellini uses her speed on the outside to help lead the counter-attack breaking past defenders with relative ease. She also possesses a hammer of a right foot which she can use for her crosses into her teammates or long shots from distance.

Aubree Ciampa


Serving as Nationals number seven, Ciampa has helped lead Nationals to an undefeated record so far in Mid-America Conference play (5-0-1, 16 points). The Michigan State verbal commit has a strong sense of timing in the midfield and always seems to know when to slow down or speed up play. She was recently called up to the USWYNT  U-17 camp in January and was instrumental in Nationals run to the Champions Cup finals last year.

Kyra Huckelbridge


Captained SC Del Sol to the top of Group D (2-1-0, 6 points) including back-to-back shutout victories over Colorado Rush (3-0) and Tophat (1-0). Serving as Del Sol’s holding midfielder, Huckelbridge has been effective all season at limiting opponent’s passing lanes through the middle of the pitch, forcing them wide where their opportunities are more limited. In league play, Del Sol are currently sitting atop Southwest Conference (8-0-1, 25 points), having earned seven shutouts.

Mya Townes


Knocked home the go-ahead goal for the USWYNT U-17s in the final of the CONCACAF U-17 Championships, pulling her goal total to five for the tournament. The Georgia 2025 verbal commit and the former GA Golden Boot winner is one of the top strikers in US Youth Soccer and can score on any defense with space. She can also create quality goal-scoring opportunities for her teammates, drawing multiple defenders attention and then providing expert service for them to capitalize on.

Emma Grace Jeffiers


Pulled off two strong victories in the GW Winter Showcase in December, defeating AFC Lightning (4-1) and Washington East Surf (6-0). She is coming off of a solid month between the posts for Byron Nelson High School, culminating in 1-0 shutout win over Timber Creek.

Hannah Carr | Midfielder
South Shore Select 07 (MA)

Working through the midfield, Carr helps set up possession for South Shore setting up her forwards with pinpoint passes into open space. Thanks to her efforts in setting up the attack (seven goals in Group A, highest in the group) and stemming the oppositions goal-scoring ambitions (zero goals allowed, lowest in the group), South Shore booked their spot in the next round of the Champions Cup. In the summer, she was selected to participate in an international assessment for the Republic of Ireland’s under-17 team.


Olivia Bevilacqua | Midfielder
Nationals SC Blue 07 (MI)

Against the United States and Canada at the CONCACAF U-17 Championships, Bevilacqua was instrumental in pushing Puerto Rico into the attack. Her patience and ability to create long possessions gave her defenders time to reorganize and give them some respite. Her control of the match has helped both club and country, providing Nationals another attacking piece to build goal-scoring opportunities off of.


Emily Steiner | Defender
CUP 07 (OH)

Proved her adaptability along the defensive line this fall, slotting into the outside back position after excelling over the course of the past few seasons as a centerback. Her ability to take what sees on the pitch and make small adjustments to counter the opposition’s advances has helped CUP immensely in their pursuit of a third consecutive Champions Cup.


Megan Grater | Midfielder
SC Wave 07 (MI)

Operating as a number six in Wave’s defense, Grater provides support for her teammates with her professional tackles and sound decision-making in one-on-one situations. Her speed allows for her to match attackers stride for stride, giving her ample time to box them out. She can also change speed and direction with relative ease, providing her teammates with flexibility as they set up possession out of the back.


Kara Hutchinson | Defender
West Florida Flames 07 (FL)

Currently sitting in second in a tough Southeastern Conference, Hutchinson has led a Flames backline that have accrued six shutouts this season. Playing multiple spots along the backline, Hutchinson can use her thunderous root foot to clear dangerous balls outside of the eighteen. She is also highly effective at thinking multiple steps ahead, delivering a crisp pass to a teammate then moving into open space to to connect on the follow-up.


Teagan Wahle


The Youngstown State commit has led Lonestar to right in the thick of the Frontier Conference race, using her tactical awareness and strong defensive work to help the team post a 9-4-1 record on 28 points. Wahle is instrumental in ensuring that Lonestar maintains their shape and helps organize possession out of the back. Last year, she was named the 25-5A Newcomer of the Year for Leander High School.

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