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The Girls Academy Jun 19, 2024

Players to Watch: Girls Academy 2024 Playoffs and Summer Showcase

The Girls Academy Playoffs kickoff June 19 with teams from across the league competing for postseason glory, as the 2023-24 campaign enters its final stretch.

From June 19-25, the GA’s best teams from throughout the country will descend on SilverLakes Sports Complex in Norco, California for the postseason event. The National Event will include playoff competition for all age groups, U13-U19.

It will also feature college showcase competition for non-playoff qualifying teams in the U15-U17 age groups (College Coaches List).

Ahead of the playoff and showcase 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.


Melanie Howard | Goalkeeper
Cincinnati United Premier 10 (OH)

Earned six shutouts and a 1.14 Goals Against average in league play while leading CUP to a 11-2-1 record on 34 points. Howard already proved this season that handle playing in high-pressure matches having made three penalty kick stops in the Champions Cup.


Liliana Rubio


Recently made her debut for the Oakland Soul in the USL W-League where she came on as a substitute to help defeat the Pleasanton Rage 3-2. In transition play in the midfield, Rubio can open up defenses with her crisp passing and direct runs at defenders. Thanks to her superb work in the midfield and on the attack for Lamorinda, Rubio has earned multiple call-ups for Mexico this season, including to their most recent U-15 camp.

Alana Yasuda


The Brazilian U15 National Team member scored her first international goal in her first game for Selecao. She has been equally effective in club for Florida United, leading the team in their Champions Cup run. Yasuda can play either at left or right wing positions and uses her smooth, consistent ball control to dominate play down the flanks.

Gabby Beinecke | Forward
Beadling SC 09 (PA)

Netted a brace against the defending Mid-Atlantic Conference champions Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals to lift Beadling to a 3-1 win. Beinecke scores in buckets and thanks to her scoring prowess has received three USYNT Talent ID call-ups. Beinecke possesses limitless speed, a testament to her hard work on the field and on the track in the 4×100 meter relays for South Fayette.


McKay Gresik | Midfielder
City SC  10 (CA)

A workhorse in the midfield for City, Gresik makes life miserable for opponents with her relentless pursuit on defense and her constant pressing on the attack. She is also more than willing to take create goal-scoring opportunities for herself, making her a threat bombing in from the midfield. City have earned back-to-back Southwest Conference titles and are looking to add more silverware this summer to their trophy case.


Nora Gass | Forward
WE Surf  10 (WA)

Recently named to the Pacific Northwest Talent ID event, Gass had had an exceptional 2023-2024 for Surf racking up 21 goals and adding 17 assists. Her knack for big goals in big moments propelled them to the top of the Pacific Northwest standings (21-1-1, 64 points) while scoring an impressive 3.63 goal per game.


Stella Zielinski | Goalkeeper
Lou Fusz Athletic 10 (MO)

Held down the fort for LFA during the stretch run for LFA, ripping off five straight wins and four clean sheets last November to book their spot in the playoffs. In between the posts for Lou Fusz this season, Zielinski logged 900 minutes while earning ten clean sheets and losing just four times. Zielinski’s long throws and booming punts help change the field of play for LFA and give her team time to reorganize.


Alyssa Morgan


It is often said that the best performers show up in major moments. Alyssa Morgan has certainly proved that this season for both Florida United and her high school CCHS. With United, she earned three shutouts in Champions Cup play this season, booking Florida United a spot in the Finals. In league play, she has been equally effective conceding just 16 in 18 Southeast Conference games.  With CCHS, as a freshman she played a key role in leading the team to a spot in regionals.

Carolina Flores


Transitioned to the GA after three years playing in the ECNL Texas Conference and has excelled leading San Antonio City to a Showcase berth. Flores’ technique in one-on-one situations is always on point, giving her the best chance at either deflection or a save. Her footwork and hands are also perfectly spaced, a credit to her development through the tough South Texas ODP program. Flores has readied herself for the Summer Showcase by playing for the San Antonio Athenians FC in the USL W-League.

Allie Emswiler | Defender
Beadling SC 09 (PA)

Spearheaded Beadling’s defense through the center back position, making critical clearances and decisive tackles en route to their Mid-Atlantic Conference title and undefeated record (14-0-2, 44 points). The three-time USYNT ID Center and two-time Girls Academy Mid-Atlantic Talent ID invitee worked seamlessly alongside her defensive partners to post a .44 Goals Against average in U15 Mid-Atlantic Conference play.


Jorja Lewis | Outside Back
Nationals Blue 09 (MI)

Recently selected to participate in the GA’s Mid-America Talent ID event, Lewis is coming off of a standout regular season for Nationals. Thanks to her tight marking and timely clearances, Nationals allowed just one goal in their last six conference games each of them victories. She was also selected to participate in April USYNT Talent ID Center event in Columbus.


Preslie Houp | Defender
Lexington Sporting Club 09 (KY)

Efficient with her touches, Houp stymies attackers with her clean tackles and timely interceptions. In addition to playing center back, she has also played in the midfield giving her a strong understand on how to build sustained possessions. She has previously attended a USYNT ID Center as well as the Kentucky and Midwest Regional ODP Camps. At West Jessamine High School she earned First Team 12th Region honors as a Freshman.


Nicole Sacek | Midfielder
Galaxy SC 09 (IL)

Seamlessly transitioned to the number ten role for the Galaxy this season and made an immediate impact, lifting the Galaxy’s 09s to a playoff spot. In their first season in the GA the Galaxy have more than held their own, with Sacek’s darting runs playing a key role in their success. Over the past season, she has participated in both the USYNT ID Center event in Rockford and the GA’s Midwest Talent ID event.


Zoey Carter | Forward
SC Surf 09 (SC)

Playing as either a winger or a striker, Carter has had an integral role in the Surf attack this season scoring 15 goals. She has also proven equally adept at creating goal-scoring chances for her teammates, setting up several assists throughout the season. Her speed and strength make her difficult to break down and an attacking threat for her coaching staff. In their third consecutive National Playoffs appearance, Surf are looking for another deep run after having advanced to the Champions Cup finals.


Rylee Shields | Defender
Michigan Jaguars FC 09 (MI)

A member of one of the top defensive units out of the Mid-America Conference, Shields has consistently shown herself to be a difference-maker along the backline. Shields remains poised and cool under pressure and can cleanly end attacking chances with a carefully slotted pass or a clear. She is a two-time Mid-America ID Center invitee and was invited to the USYNT Regional Talent ID Center event in 2023.


Eloise Gerson | Midfielder
Sporting AC 09 (PA)

Alternates between playing the center midfield and center defensive midfield positions for Sporting AC and helps open up play and retain possession. Gerson can pick out teammates with crosses and service at a variety of speeds allowing for them to play wide and open up defenses. She can also make the track back in defense to stem counter-attack chances. At Lower Merion High School in 2023 she was an Honorable Mention All-Central Line and All-Main Line honoree.


Emmi Cence | Defender
SC Surf SC 09 (SC)

A three-time Surf Select team member and a GA National ID Camp invitee, Cence has led the SC Surf defense that allowed just a goal per game in Southeast Conference play this year. In addition to her defensive prowess, she also has shown that she can contribute to the attack scoring against AFC last week.


Avery Williamson | Midfielder
Lamorinda SC 09 (CA)

Galvanized the Lamorinda attack all season, leading the 09s in both goals and assists. Her adaptability, physicality, and impressive technical and tactical skills have led her to accrue an impressive list of honors including two USYNT ID Camps, two ODP regional camps, as well as the GA’s Northwest Regional and Talent ID Camps. Williamson is a dual threat on both the offensive and defensive ends of the pitch, giving coaches additional flexibility in drafting their starting eleven.


Caitlin Rouh | Forward
Sporting Athletic Club GA 09 (DE)

At this year’s Jefferson Cup, Rouh proved her value up top for Sporting, scoring two goals and adding two assists en route to capturing the Black Division title. Her strong run of form continued into the regular season where she led the 09s in goals. At the high school level, Rouh led the Deptford varsity team in goals where she also led the team in goals and earned First Team All-Conference honors. She has also served as a member of the Delaware ODP program.


Bethany Poklemba | Defender
Tophat SC Navy 08 (GA)

Possesses excellent footwork and can break past opponents without being noticed, giving Tophat Navy an additional option on the outside as they set up possession. Defensively, the Rookie of the Year for North Paulding High School times her tackles perfectly and can beat attackers on 50-50 balls with relative ease.


Lauren Bambenek  | Forward
Michigan Jaguars FC 09 (MI)

Possesses a booming left foot that has helped the Jaguars bag some big goals and earn major points all season. Working as an outside back, Bambenek is effective at transitioning Michigan into the attack and can deliver quality crisp crosses in dangerous spaces for her teammates to exploit. Her marking and ability to pick out teammates in tight spaces is a testament to the skills that she has honed on the pitch and on the basketball court as part of Northville High School.


Rory Chiles | Midfielder
Michigan Jaguars FC 08 (MI)

Currently training with the Michigan Jaguars MPSL team, Chiles’ defensive tenacity and technical prowess have helped her team in both the defensive midfield and center back positions. She has participated in back-to-back GA Mid-America ID Sessions a testament to her strong defensive skillset. She was also selected to compete for the Michigan Hawks ECNL SuperCup team, which featured the club’s top players across all age groups.


Ilyanna Barriball | Midfielder
Galaxy SC 09 (IL)

Whether playing as a forward or a winger Barriball brings a dynamic spark anytime she touches the pitch. Her lightning quick speed and accurate finishing helped the Galaxy score 2.76 goals per game in Midwest Conference play, the highest among all teams. In addition to her club efforts, she is also coming off of her  freshman season at Plainfield where she was the only member of her class starting on Varsity. She scored 16 goals and added 7 assists earning herself All-Conference honors.



Elsa Maurer


Enters the GA National Playoffs in fine form, having once again led Muskego high school to their third consecutive State High School Championship (they have won the last two and are vying for their third this week). That level of experience in playing high pressure situations and thriving has molded Maurer into a dominant defender and an asset for both her high school and the Wave. While she can certainly make difficult clears in tight situations, she has proven that she can help build possession out of the back with her passing and work in the air.

Sloane Phillips


Shreds defenses with both feet and gives herself enough space to hammer shots from distance for City SC. In traffic, Phillips can make the little cuts necessary to get past defenders and give her team the best chance at goal. Thanks to her efforts in the midfield and on the attack, City scored 3.5 goals per game this season in the Southwest Conference while earning top honors (11-0-5, 38 points).

Tamir Shaw


Working out of the defensive midfield, Shaw excels at closing out passing lanes and winning 50-50 balls in open space. In transition, she sends darting passes to her teammates giving them ample space to create.

Hailey Crabb


A commanding presence in defense, Crabb control’s the team’s midfield with her pinpoint passes and technically sound decision-making. The Arkansas All-State and All-First Team member can make the difficult challenge to change possession and then pick out a teammate to jumpstart their attack. In addition to her individual accolades, she helped Bentonville High School capture the 6A soccer State Championship.

Tatum Douglas


Booked twelve clean sheets for LFA this season while earning a .9 Goals Against Average and saving 87% of the shots she faced. Anchoring a strong defensive line, Douglas has worked seamlessly with her teammates to form an impenetrable unit that attackers struggled to get past all season. In addition to her exploits to LFA, she was also selected to the Missouri ODP team, the DPL International Team (who defeated Reading FC, Aston Villa, and Chelsea), and the Dutch Soccer School.

Hayden Goldstein | Midfielder-Defender
City SC 07 (CA)

Provided a high level of consistency in her passes and in her defensive work in the center of the pitch for City SC. Under pressure, Goldstein can more than hold her own making tactically efficient challenges while maintaining City’s shape as they build possession. Thanks in part to her efforts, they held opponents to a .94 Goals Against average this season rocketing them to a 11-4-1 record on 34 points.


Lily Selvy | Goalkeeper
Lou Fusz Athletic 08 (MO)

Alongside fellow LFA goalkeeper Ella Moersch Selvy organized an LFA defense that booked thirteen shutouts in Frontier Conference play while going undefeated (17-0-1, 52 points). Selvy directs traffic after a save perfectly, using clear communication to help her field players make small adjustments and give themselves the best chance at winning 50-50 balls. She is a six-time USYNT ID Center invitee and is one of their GA Club Representative.


Chloe Coughlin | Outside Back
Baltimore Armour 07 (MD)

Captained Armour to a 9-5-2 on 29 points including victories in three of their last four Mid-Atlantic Conference games to seal their playoff spot. Coughlin’s ball control and precision cuts against defenders have been on point all season, allowing for her to open up space on the outside and break lines. Her strong right foot allows for her to provide expert service on crosses for her teammates and clear out dangerous balls on defense.


Chloe Lawson | Midfielder-Forward
Tophat SC Gold 08 (GA)

A workhorse on the attack for Tophat, Lawson is constantly looking for small gaps to exploit in an opponent’s backline. She always seems to give herself the right amount of space to connect with a pass and just enough time to either hit a shot on target or provide precise service for her teammates. Lawson has in the past participated in a U15 USWYNT camp and is a two-time GA National Talent ID camp invitee.


Hannah Folliard | Goalkeeper
Galaxy SC 08 (IL)

Earned a call-up to the USWYNT U-16 camp last month in Germany after a standout season between the posts for Galaxy SC. Thanks to her dynamic diving saves and expert organization of the Galaxy defense the 08s booked a perfect record in Mid-America conference play (14-0-0, 42 points).


Brinley Dunsirn | Midfielder
SC Wave 08 (WI)

A member of the Apple North High School team, Dunsirn is coming off of a strong high school campaign in which she scored 15 goals and tallied 8 assists earning First Team All-Conference honors. The two-time Midwest Talent ID camp invitee has been clinical with her finishing all season and will look to continue her scoring form at the Showcase.


Anya Montano | Midfielder
NEFC 08 (MA)

After earning Massachusetts All-State honors as well as being nominated for the state’s Player of the Year award for Nipmuc High School Montano continued her strong attacking run with NEFC this spring. The two-time National ID Center invitee played a major role in NEFC scoring 3.47 goals per game and finishing second in the Northeast conference (12-1-2, 38 points).


Ava Lee Pomper | Midfielder
Nationals 08 Gray (MI)

A creative playmaker that can defeat opponents with either foot, Pomper led Nationals Gray in scoring this season. She was selected to this year’s Mid-America Talent ID event for her persistent defensive work and strong tactical awareness in building possession.


Olivia Stark | Midfielder
Albion SC  Las Vegas 08 (NV)

Scored a goal and added an assist against Wasatch SC to clinch the Mountain West Championship for Albion SC. She has also recently netted a brace against Utah Celtic, showing that she is not slowing down ahead of the second season. Stark has previously been a part of the ODP West and Manchester teams and was a First Team All-State and All-Academic honoree in the Nevada 5A division for Faith Lutheran.


Chloe Bunton | Midfielder
Louisiana TDP Elite 08 (LA)

TDP’s captain is coming off yet another strong high school campaign for Benjamin Franklin High School where she was a District Co-MVP, All-Metro New Orleans, and Louisiana All-State honoree and led her team to the State Championship Game. The Frontier Talent ID Selection has already scored five goals in two Showcase appearances this season and will look to add more in California.


Camden Cosich | Defender
Galaxy SC 09 (IL)

Cosich’s speed and lockdown one-on-one defending helped spur Galaxy’s defensive work all season which saw the team allow just six goals. In a high-scoring state in Illinois, Coasich proved her mettle earning All-Conference honors. At 5’9″ she can mix it up with strong attacking players but has the technical skills necessary to cleanly end chances.


Emma Calvillo | Forward
Clovis Crossfire 08 (CA)

An aggressive attacker, Calvillo will make defenders every inch of space as they attempt to get out of their own third. Calvillo provided an attacking spark for Clovis all season, playing either as a winger or as a forward and scoring multiple key goals in Southwest Conference play (7-4-5, 26 points). For Clovis West High School, she earned Player of the Year honors and scored the go-ahead goal in the Division II Quarterfinal Playoffs.


Deanna Romero | Forward
Palm Beach Gardens Kicks 08 (FL)

A natural striker, Romero has led her high school Treasure Coast in goals for the past two seasons. At the club level, she enters her first GA playoffs with Palm Beach Gardens and is looking to use her thunderous shot to do some damage. She is also a member of the Florida ODP team at the 2008 level.


Olivia Robinson | Forward
STA Soccer 08 (NJ)

On the pitch Robinson plays with fire and passion, doing the little things right and putting in the extra work needed to earn results. While she can certainly score goals, it is her approach up top that sets her apart. Her willingness to drive at defenders off of the ball, to break lines, and run down errant balls and passes makes her highly difficult to break down. For her efforts, she received a call-up to USWYNT U-15 camp in 2022.


Avery Papania | Goalkeeper
Louisiana TDP Elite 08 (LA)

Papania has excellent technical skills and always seems to position herself in the right position to make the difficult stops. The 2022 USYNT ID Center invitee and two-time Frontier Conference Talent ID attendee can also move off of her line to make the quick clearance or pass wide, ending counter-attacking chances before they start. Her confidence throughout the match helps calm down her defense and give them a chance to re-organize.


Abby Artlip | Midfielder
SC Wave 08 (WI)

A three-time Wisconsin ODP member, Artlip just helped Muskego High School earn their second consecutive state high school championship appearance. An attacking force from the midfield, she scored 5 goals and tallied 13 assists this season for the Wave. Artlip can play multiple positions out of the midfield as well as right winger.


Elyssa Hernandez | Defender
Santa Clara Sporting 08 (CA)

A member of El Salvador’s under-17 Youth National Team, Hernandez has dominated GA play this season for Sporting. When facing pressure from attackers, she remains cool and composed and can deliver decisive stops in clutch moments. Playing primarily as a center back, Hernandez is responsible for building possession out of the back which can be a challenge for players still developing. However, she has proven time and time again that she is up for the task and always seems to hit her targets.


Lia D’Afonseca | Midfielder
St. Louis Development Academy 08 (MO)

A three-time USYNT ID Center and Frontier Talent ID call-up, D’Afonseca has been an attacking force for SLDA this season. The number ten has scored 18 goals for the team, playing a key role in their club up the table in the Frontier Conference (9-4-5, 32 points). D’Afonseca times her runs at goal perfectly and can frame her shots so that she always gives herself the best chance at goal.


Sophia Michel | Forward
Baltimore Celtic SC 07 (MD)

Plays up a year with Celtic’s 07s and looks more than comfortable competing against older players at either the forward or midfield positions. The Mid-Atlantic Talent ID invitee has a knack for finding the back of the net and can take even the smallest of gaps and exploit them. For Elizabeth Seton High School last fall, she earned WCAC All-Conference Team honors.


Chloe Zipprich


The Colorado verbal commit played a key role in Chicago earning eight shutouts in league play and posting a 10-1-3 record on 33 points. Zipprich can pick out teammates across the pitch with her long throws and booming punts and is also adept understanding when to slow play down to give her team time to organize.

Sliding in as IMG 07’s wingback, Morgan’s stout defensive work and smooth technical skills were a key reason for the team winning their second consecutive Southeast Conference title. Especially late in matches, Morgan stifles opponent’s creativity on the outside giving them little space to work with. IMG pulled off a six game unbeaten run to seal first place, with their defense allowing just one goal.  She has verbally committed to playing college soccer in the fall of 2025 at USC

(Q&A: Class of 2025 recruit and Kensington Morgan on committing to USC)


With the ball at her feet, Woodward makes life miserable for defenders. Her speed and constant pressure has been a thorn in backlines all season as she uses both to disrupt their passing sequences and rhythm out of the back. She’s also highly confident in her shots and can strike balls with a variety of speeds and pace. Woodward has verbally committed to playing college soccer in 2025 at Louisiana Tech.

Q&A: Class of 2025 recruit Charlotte Woodward on committing to Louisiana Tech

Madison Whitt | Defender
The St. James FC 07 (VA)

Operating at both the left and center back positions, Whitt is a defensive force for TSJ FC Virginia and a major reason why they are back looking to improve upon their National Semifinal appearance from last year. She showed her versatility this spring playing for Loudoun County High School, moving into the defensive midfield while earning Catoctin First Team All-District Honors.


Patty Staton | Goalkeeper
HTX Soccer 07 (TX)

A Wofford verbal commit, Staton’s commanding presence in the box and acrobatic saves is a major reason for HTX clinching a playoff spot this season in a tough Frontier Conference. In tight spaces, she can ready what an attacker is thinking and quickly react with either a save or a clear.


Aynsley Nuckols | Forward-Winger
SC del Sol 07 (CA)

Served as a catalyst for an SC del Sol attack that averaged 3.56 goals per game in Southwest Conference play this season. Whether she is playing as a number seven or an eleven, Nuckols uses her speed to force defenders out of position and open up space inside creating goal-scoring opportunities for SC. Her athletic prowess aside, she also makes technically sound decisions throughout the match and can take on multiple players at a time. Nuckols was recently selected to participate in the GA’s Southwest Talent ID center event and previously attended USYNT ID Center events in 2021 and 2022.


Nadia Young | Midfielder
Lamorinda SC 07 (CA)

A Dartmouth verbal commit, Young is a tenacious midfielder for Lamorinda who is comfortable with the ball at either foot and can strike the ball with pace from distance. She has also shown a knack for impeding opponent’s progress through the midfield regaining possession quickly.


Olivia Jungkunst | Midfielder
Long Island SC 07 (NY)

An ace off of set pieces and from long distance, Jungkunst produces quality goal-scoring opportunities for Long Island and helps set the tone for the attack. The Long Island Rough Riders USL-W practice team player has earned multiple honors for Kellenberg High School including Most Valuable Player, All-League, and Newsday Top 100. She is a Girls Academy Team Representative and has verbally committed to playing college soccer in 2025 at Hofstra.


Lily Kiliski | Midfielder
New York Soccer Club 07 (NY)

Remains composed when under pressure and always seems able to dig NYSC out of jams,  a testament to her technical prowess. Kiliski’s ability to create separate and prolong possessions by using the whole field are a large reason for NYSC finishing atop the U17 Northeast Conference.


Maci Hood | Midfielder
Sporting Athletic Club  07 (DE)

On either side of the ball, Hood is a difference-maker for Sporting in the midfield. In setting up the attack, she can make the small cuts and adjustments necessary to open up play and prolong possession. Defensively, she rarely relents applying consistent pressure on opponents with the aim of forcing them to make dicey passes or heavy touches. She is a former GA Mid-Atlantic Talent ID selection and has won multiple state high school championships for Caravel High School.


Alyssa Hotze | Forward
Kansas Rush 07 (KS)

Pittsburg High School’s Player of the Year Hotze is coming off of a high school season in which she set the school record with 18 goals this season (she also added 23 assists). A Swiss Army knife on the field, she can play multiple positions and excel at each of them. That versatility also provides her with a high level of tactical insight, allowing for her to anticipate what opponents are planning and overcome them. For Rush, she was their leading goalscorer this season and will be a tough attacker for defenders at the Showcase.



Reese Black


An expert attacker that can diagnose what opponents are thinking and provide an immediate counter, Black has capped an impressive youth career with a strong 2023-204 season. For the Greater Atlanta Christian School, she just wrapped up a Georgia State Champship while earning Region Player of the Year, 1st Team All-State, 1st Team All-County honors and a Gatorade Player of the Year nomination to go along with her 25 goals. With Tophat, she has led an attacking line that has amassed an impressive 4.5 Goals Per game. Black has committed to playing college soccer next fall at Charlotte and has previously received a call-up to the USWYNT U-17 camp.

SoccerWire Featured Player College Commitment Spotlight: Reese Black (Charlotte 2024)