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NCAA Jun 15, 2022

UCLA introduces No. 1 ranked women’s soccer recruiting class for 2022

The UCLA women’s soccer team has signed the No. 1 freshman class in the nation, adding 10 freshmen with U.S. Youth National Team experience and seven of Top Drawer Soccer’s Top 25-rated recruits.

Joining the Bruins in 2022 will be Sofia Cook, America Frias, Cori James, Kathryn Kelly, Ally Lemos, Peyton Marcisz, Bridgette Marin-Valencia, Neeku Purcell, Julia Saunicheva and Ellie Walbruch.

Three of the signees – Cook, Lemos and Walbruch – enrolled early during the winter quarter and trained and played with head coach Margueritte Aozasa‘s current squad throughout the spring season. Cook scored one goal for the Bruins in a 4-2 win over USC, and Walbruch and Lemos played in all three games.

See below for a look at UCLA’s top-ranked signing class.

Sofia Cook

Midfielder
CA

•Current member of the U.S. Under-20 National Team
•Rated No. 19 overall by Top Drawer Soccer
•Helped lead U.S. to 2018 Concacaf Under-15 Championship
*Enrolled at UCLA in Winter 2022
Aozasa on Cook: “Sof has already shown us a glimpse of her attacking creativity and effectiveness. Her ability to take players on and create chances is so fun to watch. We have enjoyed seeing her personality come out on and off the field in her first few months here in Westwood.”

America Frias

Forward
CA

*Called up to Mexico’s U-20 National Team for April 2022 training camp •Rated No. 22 overall by Top Drawer Soccer
•Helped lead the U.S. to the 2018 Concacaf U-15 Championship
•Won national championships in 2019 and 2021 with FC Bay Area Surf
Aozasa on Frias: “America is a very solid player all around. She has played at the highest level and understands different ways to be dangerous. She will add some necessary depth up top and in the midfield.”

Cori James

Defender
TX

•Earned a U.S. Youth National team call-up in 2020
•Selected to the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Youth All Region team
•Rated by Top Drawer Soccer as the No. 15 defensive recruit in the nation
Aozasa on James: “Cori is a fierce competitor in the backline and will provide some much-needed balance in this attacking-heavy class. She has been so much fun to get to know so far, and we are excited to get her on campus!”

Kathryn Kelly

Defender
CA

*Rated No. 7 recruit in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer
•Attended U.S. Youth National Team training camps in 2018, 2020 and 2021
•Won national championships in 2019 and 2021 with FC Bay Area Surf
Aozasa on Kelly: “Kathryn is a calm and composed defender. She is fantastic in possession and will add an element of thoughtfulness in the backline. I suspect a lot of competition across the board this fall, which I know will push us to be better all around.”

Ally Lemos

Midfielder
CA

•Played with U.S. Youth National Teams from U14-U-19 levels
•Named to the U18 ECNL Best XI
•Rated No. 22 overall by Top Drawer Soccer
*Enrolled at UCLA in Winter 2022
Aozasa on Lemos: “Ally has the composure of a veteran player. She understands the game at a very high level and in a true student of the game. She is a great player now, and I cannot wait to see her evolution into someone even greater.”

Peyton Marcisz

Midfielder
CA

•Selected for three training camps with the U.S. U-15 and U-16 national teams
•Rated No. 20 overall by Top Drawer Soccer
•2019 and 2021 National Champion with FC Bay Area Surf
Aozasa on Marcisz: “My favorite players in the world are all crafty midfielders. I am excited to watch Peyton work into the midfield with her understanding of the game and feel for patterns of movement.”

•Currently a member of Mexico’s U-20 national team
•Has seen time with the U.S. U-14, U-15 and U-17 national teams
•Rated in Top 20 in Northern California & Hawaii by Top Drawer Soccer
Aozasa on Marin-Valencia: “Bridgette is another technical and creative attacking player. She plays with great determination and always seems to find a way to create chances for herself and others. We cannot wait to start integrating her into our team.”

Neeku Purcell

Goalkeeper
WA

•Recorded four shutouts, including both in the semifinals and finals, to help lead the U.S. to the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship
•2019 Development Academy West Conference Player of the Year
•Two-time All-American
*Rated No. 8 recruit in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer
Aozasa on Purcell: “Neeku is one of the top young goalkeepers in the country. She plays and trains with a professionalism and maturity that will allow her to adapt quickly to our environment. Our goalkeeping core will surely push each other to new levels this season.”

•Called into U.S. U-20 National Team training camp in Oct. 2021 and has been part of the national team pools from U-15 to U-20
•Rated by Top Drawer Soccer as the No. 10 forward in the 2022 recruiting class
•2019 and 2021 National Champion with FC Bay Area Surf
Aozasa on Saunicheva: “Julia is dangerous. She is athletic, strong and plays with clear determination to beat players 1v1. I’m excited to see the chances she will create early in her career.”

Ellie Walbruch

Forward Midfielder
UT

*Participated in U.S. U-18 National Team virtual camp in 2021
•Won the U18/19 state championship in 2020 with Real Colorado
*Rated No. 16 recruit in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer
*Enrolled at UCLA in Winter 2022
Aozasa on Walbruch: “Ellie has a great understanding and ability to play back to goal. She also has a great eye for goal and ability to strike the ball. We are excited to see how she continues to adapt to the college game and suspect she’ll score some goals this fall.”

Featured Players

Defender, Midfielder
Forward, Midfielder
Goalkeeper
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