Texas A&M women’s soccer recruits begin academic careers
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Via Texas A&M) – Four Aggie Soccer newcomers for the 2019 campaign started their Texas A&M academic careers as early enrollees. Freshmen Shantel Hutton (GK – Duluth, Ga.), Ali Russell (F – Katy, Texas) and Katie Smith (F/D – Tulsa, Okla.) and transfer Daria Britton (D – San Antonio, Texas) enrolled and began classes Monday at Texas A&M.
“Being on campus this spring offers each of these students the opportunity to get acclimated to the high academic standards of Texas A&M,” Aggies’ head coach G Guerrieri said. “It allows them to quickly become members of our tight knit Aggie Soccer family and receive a full semester of soccer and athletic development under our coaches. All in all, graduating a semester early is a positive move by these fantastic players and helps Texas A&M soccer to move forward in our quest to do great things in 2019 and win more trophies.”
Hutton is a top goalkeeper in Georgia. A three-year letterwinner at Greater Atlanta Christian School, she guided the Spartans to Class AAA state semifinal appearances in 2016 and 2017 and the Sweet 16 in 2018. The 2018 campaign ended with Region 7-AAA Player of the Year recognition as well as All-Region 7-AAA First Team and All-Gwinnett County. She currently plays club soccer for Concorde Fire ECNL.
“Shantel is a very athletic, multi-dimensional goalkeeper,” Guerrieri said. “She has the unique background of playing both in goal, but also being a first-team center back. Her best years are still ahead of her as she develops her goalkeeping skills here at Texas A&M.”
Russell is one of the most dangerous attacking players in the country. A seasoned veteran with the U.S. Soccer youth national teams, Russell has been playing with the best of the best since 2015. Her prep career has seen her earn Class 6A All-Texas and District 19-6A MVP each of the last three seasons. She set District 19-6A and Cinco Ranch career records for goals (120) and assists (51).
“Ali is one of the most electrifying attacking players to come out of Texas in a long time,” Guerrieri said. “She has a lot of national team experience, both as a forward, as a winger and as an outside back. All of them keying on her change of pace and her desire to get near goal.”
Smith is a versatile all-around impactful athlete. Both a soccer and basketball standout at Cascia Hall, she played all over the field for the Commandos, seeing action at defender, midfielder and forward during her three varsity campaigns. Smith paced Cascia Hall to a state runner-up finish and earned TopDrawerSoccer Spring All-America recognition in 2018. She has shined for TSC Hurricane, currently playing with their ECNL squad. She earned Best XI status at the TopDrawerSoccer Unsigned Showcase in 2015.
“Katie is the No. 1 player out of Oklahoma,” Guerrieri said. “She has played several roles on her TSC side. She plays up front when they need goals. She plays in the back when they need to protect leads. She has great athleticism and she is very good in 1-v-1 situations.”
Britton, a 6-1 defender, spent the 2018 campaign playing at High Point University in North Carolina. She enters Texas A&M as a sophomore with three years of eligibility. The Alamo Heights High School graduate played in 12 games for High Point in 2018, all off the bench. She logged 310 minutes on the Panthers’ backline. A four-year letterwinner at Alamo Heights, Britton was named Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Organization (TASCO) 5A All-Texas First Team in 2017 and Second Team in 2016. She was also selected District 26-5A Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and All-District 26-5A First Team in 2016 and ’17
“We are excited about bringing Daria into our Aggie Soccer family,” Guerrieri said. “She will give us a big boost with her aerial domination and ball-winning skills in 2019 and beyond.”
The Aggies have now had 21 freshmen early enrollees over the last six years, including Cienna Arrieta, Kendall Bates, Mikaela Harvey, Jordan Hill, Stephanie Malherbe, Addie McCain, Haley Pounds and Tera Ziemer since 2014.
Texas A&M finished the 2018 campaign with a 17-5-1 record. The Aggies earned their 24th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the 15th time.