UNC reveals top-ranked 2023 recruiting class, welcoming six new Tar Heels
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of North Carolina women’s soccer program revealed its top-ranked 2023 recruiting class (according to Top Drawer Soccer), featuring six standout student-athletes.
Head Coach Anson Dorrance and the Tar Heels procured the signings of six prep student-athletes, all ranked in the top 24 by Top Drawer Soccer. The 2023 signing class includes forward Melina Rebimbas (No. 3 overall), defender Evelyn Shores (No. 6 overall), defender Savannah King (No. 10 overall), forward Olivia Thomas (No. 12 overall) forward Mia Oliaro (No. 18 overall) and goalkeeper Abby Gundry (No. 24 overall)
Led by associate head coach and lead recruiter Damon Nahas, the Tar Heels have signed a top-four recruiting class six consecutive years and have had a top-five class in eight of the last nine seasons.
“This class checked every box,” Dorrance said. “Recruiting this class was so much fun for Damon and me. They were all ambitious and driven with big personalities and fun to talk to. We saw them in ID camps when they were younger where they proved themselves and their abilities on the field.
“This is a high-character group. We’re so impressed by the work ethic of each young lady. They all come from terrific families that have instilled many of our core values. The more we got to know them the more ecstatic we became about being a part of their collegiate lives.
Gundry, King, Oliaro, and Rebimbas played together on the 2022 United States Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team that won the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championships to clinch its berth in the 2022 FIFA U-17 World Cup. All four were selected to the World Cup roster, but Oliaro withdrew due to injury.
2023 North Carolina Women’s Soccer Signing Class
Name: Abby Gundry
Hometown: Wake Forest, N.C.
High School: Crossroads Flex
Club: NC Courage
Highlights: Member of the 2022 U.S. Soccer U17 Youth National Team (YNT) roster that won the 2022 CONCACAF Championship to qualify for the U17 World Cup … Named ENCL Mid-Atlantic U17 first-team all-conference.
Coach Dorrance on Gundry: “She is very good in possession, very competent, and fills the modern goalkeeper position. She’s very sharp, very quick, an excellent shot-stopper, and a great team player. She’s been training with our goalkeeper coach Nathan Thackeray which gives her a tremendous head start coming into the program.”
Name: Savannah King
Hometown: West Hills, Calif.
High School: Agoura
Club: Slammers FC HB Koge
Highlights: Member of the 2022 U.S. Soccer U17 Youth National Team (YNT) roster that won the 2022 CONCACAF Championship to qualify for the U17 World Cup … Earned a spot on the World Cup roster … Selected to the U.S. Soccer U17 YNT for a pair of friendlies in Spain (August 2022) … Named to the 2021 ENCL San Diego National Selection Games U16/17 West All-Star Team … Selected to the 2019 U15 U.S. Soccer YNT.
Dorrance on King: “She is one of the elite defenders coming out of the youth ranks and everything you want on your backline; she’s fast, aggressive, and technical. She is someone who thrives under the big lights and given the number of defenders that were injured this past season, she was an absolute critical recruit for us.”
Name: Mia Oliaro
Hometown: Chapel Hill, N.C.
High School: Chapel Hill
Club: NC Courage
Highlights: Member of the 2022 U.S. Soccer U17 World Cup qualifying and CONCACAF championship youth national team (YNT) … Selected to the U.S. Soccer U17 YNT for a pair of friendlies in Spain (August 2022) … Earned a spot on the U.S. U17 YNT World Cup roster, but withdrew due to injury … Named 2021 ENCL Mid-Atlantic U16 first-team all-conference and 2022 ECNL Mid-Atlantic U-17 first-team-all-conference … Selected to the 2021 ENCL Tennessee National Selection Games U16/17 East All-Star Team … Daughter of UNC Associate Director of Sports Medicine Scott Oliaro, who is member of the Cornell University Athletics Hall of Fame as a running back and was selected as one of Vermont’s 50 All-Time Best Athletes by Sports Illustrated in 1999.
Dorrance on Oliaro: “Has the potential to be a player without a weakness. She is extraordinary in the air, and very brave. She could become as versatile as players such as Crystal Dunn, who can play at a high level in every line. Has been used primarily as an attacker but could easily play in the defense. She is an ultra-competitor, coachable, and eager to learn.”
Name: Melina Rebimbas
Hometown: Warren, N.J
High School: Rutgers Preparatory School
Club: Players Development Academy
Highlights: Named to 2021-22 New Jersey Girls Soccer Gatorade Player of the Year … Selected to the inaugural JWS Soccer All-America Team as a junior … Member of the 2022 U.S. Soccer U17 Youth National Team (YNT) roster that won the 2022 CONCACAF Championship to qualify for the U17 World Cup, leading the team with eight goals … Part of the U.S. 2022 U17 World Cup roster … Named the 2021 U16 and 2022 U17 ENCL North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year … Selected to the U.S. Soccer U17 YNT for a pair of friendlies in Spain (August 2022) … Named to the ENCL U17 All-America Team in 2022 and ENCL U16 All-America squad in 2021 … Selected to the U15 U.S. Soccer YNT in 2019 … Three-time all-state selection … Her father, Jose, is an assistant women’s basketball coach at Seton Hall University.
Dorrance on Rebimbas: “She is the rare American player that plays with sophistication and composure. She is outstanding technically and tactically and can score with both feet from distance. She has the potential to be a midfield leader for us as a freshman. She has a huge personality and is able to express her personality on and off the field. She is wildly entertaining.”
Name: Evelyn Shores
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
High School: Westminster
Club: Tophat SC
Highlights: Selected to the inaugural JWS Soccer All-America Team as a junior … Earned 2021-22 United Soccer Coaches High School All-Atlantic Region honors … Named to the 2022 Georgia 3A girls’ all-state soccer team by georgiahighschoolsoccer.com … Led Westminster to the 2022 3A state championship … Member of the 2022 U.S. Soccer U20 Youth National Team (YNT) Sud Ladies Cup roster … Mother is a UNC alumna.
Dorrance on Shores: “Evelyn is an athletic and fit left-sided player who can play at every line and has the remarkable ability to play in the air. She would feel equally comfortable playing defender, midfielder, or forward. Her versatility is going to make her an extraordinary athlete for us.”
Name: Olivia Thomas
Hometown: Grosse Pointe, Mich.
High School: University Liggett
Club: Michigan Hawks
Highlights: Selected to the 2022 ENCL Florida National Selection Games U16/17 West All-Star Team … Earned 2021-22 ENCL All-Midwest Conference accolades … 2020-21 ENCL U16 Midwest Conference Player of the Year … Named ENCL U16 All-America (2021).
Dorrance on Thomas: “Olivia is an extraordinary athlete. She is a goal-scoring forward with tremendous upside. She is fast, strong, aggressive, determined, and ambitious. She is also an exceptional student with high aspirations both academically and athletically. She can write her ticket on the field or in the classroom. She wants to change the world in the most positive way and is going to be a force on and off the field.”