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The Girls Academy Apr 26, 2024

See the Class of 2026 prospects who stood out at the Girls Academy Spring Showcase

The Girls Academy held its final showcase event of the 2023-24 regular season in North Carolina over the weekend, amid a critical period for Class of 2026 players looking to make a strong impression on college coaches.

Longtime scout Jerry Penkala, owner and operator of JTF Academy, a well-known recruiting management service, provided SoccerWire with a rundown of  players from the Class of 2026 who stood out the most during his time watching the GA action in North Carolina.

Continue reading for a look at Penkala’s 2026 standouts. To view more top performers from the Jefferson Cup, check out SoccerWire’s ‘Players That Impressed‘.


Kate Reigle – Center Back
STA Soccer ’08 – Jersey #10

Best defender I saw all weekend. Athletic, good size, fast, tough, and did not see her get beat 1v1 the entire weekend. Simply put, a special defender.


Ana Marie Zivkovic – Goalkeeper
New York SC ’08 – Jersey #00

Best 2026 keeper I saw all weekend – made some insanely athletic saves look easy, (including a PK stop on a challenging shot), had the best fundamentals, was the best shot-blocker and completely controlled her entire 18 all weekend.


Shiloh Baird – Right Winger / Forward
ALBION SC ’05/06 – Jersey #15

Playing two levels up. Easily the fastest 2026 offensive player at the showcase, Shiloh made some incredible runs, driving by multiple players with pure speed, but also some great 1v1 technical ability, and was impactful in the final third every time she stepped on the field.


Sally Niederhauser – Right Winger
Liverpool FC IA SoCal ’05/06 – Jersey #70

Playing up, another one of the more impactful offensive players at the event. Good size, extremely fast, played vertical and took advantage of the right flank even when their opponent started shifting over to try and take her away. Great services into the 18 and demanded attention every time she went central in the box.


Madelyn Anderson – Center Back
STA Soccer ’07 – Jersey #55

Another standout defender who played up an age group. I have seen and been extremely impressed with this center back at multiple events for over a year now, and she is better each time I have seen her play. Fast, feisty, super high soccer IQ (always very good at angles and anticipation) controls the STA back line as well as covering for her teammates with her outstanding speed and instincts. Another incredible one v one defender that didn’t get beat off the dribble all weekend.


Tommi Rose Valente – Winger / Attacking Mid
Cedar Stars Bergen ’07 – Jersey #8

Also playing up a division, Tommi was on the top player list at the recent Jefferson Cup Showcase, and I literally had no choice but to include her again here. Simply put, she was the best offensive player that I watched at the event. She had multiple goals and assists, stayed a little more disciplined in terms of her positioning (mostly right flank) which made her even more dangerous, and no one could stop her all weekend. Smooth on the ball, extremely fast and always the hardest working player on the field every time I see her Cedar Stars team play.


Emma Pingree – Attacking Mid
Murrieta SA ’08 – Jersey #4

In both games that I saw, all of the action went through Emma, which made this Murrieta team dangerous in both the midfield and final third. She has great skill and comfort on the ball, outstanding field vision and creativity, to go along with an outstanding work rate.


Ashley Gilbert – Center Back
Wake FC ’07 – Jersey #27

While playing up, Ashley anchors a very talented back line which is also highlighted by Class of 2025 right back Emma O’Rourke (#6). Ashley was outstanding at both cleaning up for others, anticipating passing angles which resulted in multiple pass interceptions in both the 18 and In midfield, had the speed to stay 1v1 in space with some fast forwards on quick counter attacks, and had a tough, clean mean streak.


Serena Hua – Right Back
Nationals Grey ’08 – Jersey #7

Serena, a natural lefty, was one of the best right outside backs at the showcase. Was extremely tough 1v1 and shut down a couple of tough, tall left-wingers. She completed all of her passes out of the back, and had one of the best free kicks I saw at the event. Using her strong left foot, she put the ball on a dime multiple times. I could easily see her play left back / winger, attacking mid or event forward. Highly versatile and offensive-minded, even when playing outside back.


Abigail Mullins – Forward
NEFC ’08 – Jersey #12

One of the only ‘born scorer’ 2026s I saw, and easily the most hard-working and gritty offensive player at the showcase. Abigail made life a nightmare for opposing defenders trying to get the ball out of the back when her team lost the ball in the final third. She had a knack for being at the exact right place using outstanding off-ball movement from 25 yards and out. She was her team’s top offensive threat, which put extra focus on her, yet she was still a handful all game.


Ashley O’Brien – Center Back
Cincinnati United Premier (CUP) ’08 – Jersey #15

One of the more physical center backs / overall defenders at the showcase. Great size and strength, intimidating physical presence, fast and smart. Ashley also showed great leadership and defensive understanding for her back line.

Honorable Mentions

  • Devani Romero (6,8,11) – Broomfield SC ’08 – Jersey #11
  • Kylee Brown (Center Back) – Lonestar ’08 – Jersey #31
  • Lily Seluy (Keeper) – Lou Fusz ’08 – Jersey #11
  • Alessia Curatolo (Outside Back) – Long Island SC ’08 – Jersey #18
  • Samantha Roarty (Attacking Mid) – PA Classics ’08 – Jersey #7
  • Marin Hammon (Center Back) – Skyline Elite ’08 – Jersey #4