University of Kentucky women’s soccer signs six newcomers for 2022
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer program has added six newcomers to its 2022 roster during the fall signing period, as announced by interim head coach Paul Babba.
The signees represent four different states — Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The class also features one forward, one defender, and four midfielders.
“We are excited about this group of student-athletes that will be joining us in 2022. With four midfielders, a forward, and a defender, this class meets some specific needs that we felt we had to address,” said Babba. “This class adds quality, versatility, and depth, but most importantly these are players that we know are the right fit for our program here at Kentucky. Being a Wildcat is special, and these players have earned it.”
Maddie Eastman – Midfielder/Defender
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Club Team: Charlotte Soccer Academy
School: Charlotte Country Day School
- Earned All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State honors
- Named Co-MVP and to the “Best 18” list in North Carolina
- High school team captain and leading scorer
Coach Babba on Eastman: “Maddie is a versatile player who can play a defensive role or in a midfield role. Her reading of the game, strength in the challenge, and anticipation in defensive situations enables her to prevent scoring opportunities while providing great support and protection for her teammates. Maddie has also shown a high level of understanding of her role and responsibilities when in possession, knowing when to progress and join the play and assist the team in keeping possession to create opportunities.”
Mya Gerak – Defender
Hometown: Villa Hills, Ky.
Club Team: Kings Hammer Soccer Club
School: Dixie Heights High School
- Landed on the 2020-21 high school ‘Players to Watch’ list
- 2021 Regional League and Great Lakes Conference club champions
- 2020 Midwest Regional League champions
- Named team captain
Coach Babba on Gerak: “Mya is a player that we see most often being used as an outside back because of her power and overall fitness. She enjoys 1v1 defending, is tough in a tackle, but also has the ability to support the attack when the team goes forward. Mya also has experience playing as a center back, where her strength in the air and tackling also makes her excel. With this versatility, we see Mya adding quality in multiple positions.”
Mallory Glass – Midfielder
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
Club Team: Racing Louisville Academy
School: Sacred Heart Academy
- 2020-21 Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year
- 2021 Kentucky Youth Soccer Player of the Year
- 2020, 2021 High School All-American and All South Region Team selection
- 2020 United Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year
Coach Babba on Glass: “Mallory brings outstanding technical attributes and high tactical knowledge. She possesses all the necessary qualities both on and off the field that will no doubt make a significant contribution to our program. Mallory’s willingness to learn and her winning mentality, coupled with her love of the game, will see her develop into a top-level competitive midfield player. Her tenacity and aggression in the challenge brings strength to the midfield area, but she also has the ability to create opportunities and score goals.”
Maddie Jones – Midfielder
Hometown: Longwood, Fla.
Club Team: Orlando City Soccer Club
School: Lake Brantley High School
- Two-time ECNL Southeast All-Conference Team honoree
- ECNL id2 national training camp selection
- Named team captain and varsity player of the year
Coach Babba on Jones: “Maddie is a central midfielder that can find the gaps in a backline with her passing ability. She has the mobility to cover a lot of ground and she enjoys playing box-to-box. We see Maddie as a player who will add an attacking threat with her passing ability, as well as assists, to propel the team further. We have high hopes that Maddie will add value to this squad immediately.”
Haley Hannah – Forward
Hometown: Brentwood, Tenn.
Club Team: Tennessee Soccer Club
School: Brentwood High School
- Earned All-State, All-Region, and All-District honors
- Nominated for the 2021 All-American game
- Team captain and 2019 state runner-up
- Leading goal scorer and ranked No. 3 nationally with Brentwood
Coach Babba on Hannah: “Haley is a forward that likes to play with her back to goal, always looking to connect with teammates. She is strong and has a good finish, always looking to stay in and around the box. She moves well off the ball as well, causing problems for opposition defenders. We see Haley as a player that can come in and add quality to our front line immediately.”
Ava Hellner – Midfielder
Hometown: Waxhaw, N.C.
Club Team: Charlotte Soccer Academy
School: Providence Day School
- Earned All-State, All-Region, and All-Conference honors
- 2021 North Carolina 4A state champion
- 2017-18 U.S. Soccer Federation Youth National Team ID Center participant
- 2016-19 U.S. Youth Futsal National Team captain
Coach Babba on Hellner: “Ava is a player of high quality who we see helping us here in Lexington immediately. She is a central midfielder that has the mobility to cover a lot of ground and she enjoys playing box to box. Ava enjoys attacking but is also very in tune to her defensive duties. We see Ava as a player who will add an attacking threat with late runs into the box, as well as assists and goals.”