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Women's Recruiting Dec 15, 2020

UNC Wilmington women’s soccer reveals 7-player recruiting class

WILMINGTON, N.C. – UNC Wilmington women’s soccer head coach Chris Neal has announced the signing of seven student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Seahawks in 2021.

The incoming class features five standouts from North Carolina, including: Kayla Burroughs (Asheboro), McKenna Gardner (Wilmington), Ellie Grove (Greensboro), Julia Hellenkamp (Cary) and Ainsley Norr (Wilmington). They will be joined by Kaylie Bierman of Grovetown, Ga., and Halle Johnson of Bethesda, Md.


2021 UNCW Women’s Soccer Recruits

Kaylie Bierman
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 5-10
Hometown: Grovetown, Ga.
High School: Grovetown
Club Team: South Carolina United FC 02/03 ECNL

Highlights: Two-time All-Region selection at Grovetown High School, including First-Team distinction in 2019 … served as team captain in 2020 … named Grovetown Team MVP in 2018 … member of 2017 and 2018 South Carolina ODP Region Pool … recipient of 2019 South Carolina United FC Leadership Award … named to 2019-20 ECNL Players to Watch List.

Coach Neal Says: “Kaylie is a goalkeeper that plays with extreme confidence. She is also a great athlete with fantastic game instincts. Her experience in the ECNL Mid-Atlantic Conference will serve her well in the CAA.”

Kayla Burroughs
Position: Forward
Height: 5-6
Hometown: Asheboro, N.C.
High School: Wesleyan Christian Academy
Club Team: NC Fusion ECNL

Highlights: Two-time All-State, All-Conference and All-Region honoree at Wesleyan Christian Academy … netted six goals with two assists in four games during 2019 campaign … also earned Team MVP honors twice … tallied 20 goals with 10 assists for NC Fusion club team in 2019 … has netted eight goals with four assists in 10 games during 2020 season … has competed in several ECNL Showcase events and reached national playoffs three times.

Coach Neal Says: “Kayla is a dynamic and aggressive athlete that can really affect both the defending and attacking phases of the game. She plays for the NC Fusion, which is one of the top teams in the ECNL conference. I feel Kayla can play any position in our attack and that versatility will be very valuable.”

McKenna Gardner
Position: Forward
Height: 5-7
Hometown: Wilmington, N.C.
High School: Ashley
Club Team: Wilmington Hammerheads ECNL

Highlights: All-Region performer for Ashley High School in 2019 … has scored six goals with four assists during abbreviated 2020 campaign … competed in several ECNL Showcase events.

Coach Neal Says: “McKenna is a very good athlete who plays in a variety of attacking positions for a very good Wilmington Hammerheads ECNL team. She is a very good crosser of the ball and is elusive in one-on-one situations. I expect her to challenge for playing time in a variety of attacking positions.”

Ellie Grove
Position: Defense
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.
High School: Northern Guilford
Club Team: NC Fusion ECNL

Highlights: Scored 11 goals with five assists during 2019 season for Northern Guilford High School … earned Rookie of the Year notice at Northern Guilford … has competed in several ECNL Showcase events for NC Fusion club team … reached national playoffs with NC Fusion in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Coach Neal Says: “Ellie comes to us from the highly competitive ECNL NC Fusion. She is a tall, skilled athlete that can score goals and defend. She also has Seahawk DNA as her mother and uncle are both UNCW graduates. We are happy to have her on board.”

Julia Hellenkamp
Position: Defense
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Cary, N.C.
High School: Green Hope
Club Team: NC Courage ECNL

Highlights: Two-year member of North Carolina Courage Academy team who served as a captain in 2019 … also played in ECNL Academy in 2020 … earned First-Team ODP NC Sub-Regionals distinction … also participated in 2018 US Soccer Market Training Center … competed in 2018 and 2019 Showcase Finals in San Diego, Calif. … also competed in 2018 and 2019 Spring Showcase events … father, Chris, played on United States National Indoor Soccer Team.

Coach Neal Says: “Julia is a versatile athlete and is an extremely accurate distributor of the ball. Her NC Courage team is currently one of the top teams in the ECNL Mid-Atlantic Conference. Julia’s skill, along with her tactical IQ, will allow her to immediately challenge for playing time in our defense and midfield.”

Halle Johnson
Position: Defense
Height: 5-11
Hometown: Bethesda, Md.
High School: The Madeira School
Club Team: McLean ECNL

Highlights: Member of three-time Mid-Atlantic conference championship team with McLean Youth Soccer … advanced to ECNL Champions League national playoffs three times … ranked first in ECNL Champions League in 2019-20 … served as team captain during sophomore season … received Second-Team All-ISL honors as a freshman … also played varsity lacrosse and basketball at The Madeira School … father, Charlie, played baseball at Gettysburg College … uncle, Drew, played baseball at University of Maryland and for the Kane County Cougars … cousin, Luke, played baseball at UMBC … cousin, Sam, played baseball at Washington College.

Coach Neal Says: “Halle is a very powerful, tall, and mobile defender with excellent passing range. She has primarily played center back, but she has the ability to play anywhere in our defense. She has played at the highest level of youth soccer and that experience will help with her transition to competitive NCAA Division I athletics.”

Ainsley Norr
Position: Forward
Height: 5-6
Hometown: Wilmington, N.C.
High School: Hoggard
Club Team: Wilmington Hammerheads ECNL

Highlights: First-Team All-State, All-Region and All-Conference selection at Hoggard High School in 2019 after scoring 27 goals with 24 assists … has tallied two goals with four assists with Wilmington Hammerheads Youth this season … tallied 15 goals with two assists in 2018-19 club campaign … member of Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC 01/02 ECNL National Team … also named as a Player to Watch in ECNL Mid-Atlantic Region … older sister, Maddie, competes on UNCW’s track and field team.

Coach Neal Says: “Ainsley has been the leading scorer on her Wilmington Hammerheads ECNL team for multiple seasons. She really has a nose for the goal and thrives in open space. Her family are also Seahawks and we are excited to have another local product on the squad.”

Featured Players

Midfielder, Defender
Defender, Midfielder
Midfielder, Forward
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