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Women's Recruiting Nov 30, 2022

University of Minnesota announces eight-member signing class for 2023

MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota head soccer coach Erin Chastain announced the addition of eight new Golden Gophers for the 2023 season, with the signing of National Letters of Intent.

This class marks Chastain’s first class fully recruited by her staff.

Joining Minnesota next season are: Caroline Birdsell (Wilmette,Ill.), Kate Childers (Fenton, Mich.), Grace Fogarty (Chaska, Minn.), Taylor Heimerl (Rosemount, Minn.), Paige Kalal (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Sarah Martin (Champlin, Minn.), Maddy Raymond (Maple Grove, Minn.), and Kendall Stadden (Blaine, Minn.).

“Signing day is such an exciting time for our program and the young women who have chosen to be Gophers,” said head coach Erin Chastain. “Our staff has worked extremely hard since I was hired last June to put together a class that could help us continue to build up Minnesota soccer to where we believe it can be. These young women will not only raise the level on the field, but they are incredible people and students. We expect this group to make an impact right away and they will be a wonderful compliment to our current group. We have six of the top Minnesotans for 2023 and two of the top players in Michigan and Illinois respectively.  We can’t wait for them to join our Gopher soccer family.”

Caroline Birdsell | New Trier High School | Wilmette, Ill.

“I loved the coaching staff and environment at Minnesota the second I was on campus. There is no other school I’d rather be at than the University of Minnesota! My sisters love it there and family is a big factor in my life. I love the style of play, intensity, and grit they show on the field. The all-female staff was also a huge factor in making my decision. The education the university offers is outstanding and can set me up for success in the future as well.”

Birdsell joins the Golden Gophers after serving as team captain of her club team for six seasons and helping them win the Illinois State Club Championship. Birdsell has competed with the Chicago FC United Girls Academy team for 11 years. She led her team to nationals in 2021 and 2022, while receiving an invite to the Midwest and National GA ID Invite in both 2020 and 2021.

Kate Childers | Grand Blanc High School | Fenton, Mich.

“I chose the University of Minnesota for the opportunity to be challenged both athletically and academically. I fell in love with the campus, impressive facilities, and high level coaching staff. I couldn’t be more excited to be a Golden Gopher!”

Childers signs with Minnesota after playing for the Detroit City FC USL W-League last season. Prior to her USL W-League experience, Childers played with the Michigan Hawks ECNL program for six seasons and the Nationals GA for seven. Scouted as a national team candidate from 2015-2017, and 2019-2020, Childers has received five US Soccer YNT ID Center invites and attended the US Soccer Training Center Combine Invite in 2017.

Grace Fogarty | Chanhassen High School | Chaska, Minn.

“I chose the University of Minnesota because of the family culture, outstanding academic program, the all-female coaching staff, amazing fans, the high level facilities, and an atmosphere like no other. It’s always been a dream of mine to play Big Ten soccer and it’s so rewarding to have fulfilled that dream. To play for my home state at such a high level is an honor.”

Fogarty signs with Minnesota after competing with Tonka Fusion Elite for four seasons, helping them finish as the 2022 USYS National Runner-Up and and winning the 2022 Midwest Region Title, while accumulating an impressive 34-3-2 record. Playing for Chanhassen High School, she was a 2022 Ms. Soccer finalist, 2022 All-State,and Metro West All-Conference in 2021 and 2022. While acting as the leading goal scorer in the MSHSL 3AAA Class, Fogarty led the Storm to a No. 1 ranking and winning Metro West Conference this past season.

Taylor Heimerl | Rosemount High School | Rosemount, Minn.

“Minnesota has everything I was looking for in a school, from great academics, team culture, and school spirit. Growing up in Minnesota I have always been a Gophers fan, so having the opportunity to play for my home state was an honor I couldn’t pass up.”

Hemierl joins Minnesota after playing five years for the MTA ECNL program, helping them qualify for ECNL Champions League three times while making an ECNL Nationals Quarterfinal appearance in 2019. The Minnesota native was a 2022 Ms. Soccer finalist, 2022 Pioneer Press East Metro Player of the Year and holds the single season and all-time assists record for Rosemount High School. Heimerl caps off her high school career receiving multiple All-Conference, All-Metro and All-State nods in soccer and track and field. Most recently, Heimerl led the Irish to the 2022 MSHSL Class AAA State Championship, assisting the lone goal in the semi final game, and scoring the game-winning goal in the championship.

Paige Kalal | Champlin Park High School | Brooklyn Park, Minn.

“I chose the University of Minnesota because they have a great combination of academics and an amazing soccer team filled with talented players and the best coaches. I am proud that I get to represent my home state and play in front of my family and friends.”

Kalal signs with Minnesota after being named Class AAA 2022 Ms. Soccer following an impressive career with Champlin Park High School. The three-time Northwest Suburban All-Conference, All-State and All-Metro player was named a United Soccer Coaches High School All-American. A member of the MTA ECNL program for five seasons, Kalal was honored as an All-Conference ECNL player in 2021 and 2022 and received an invite to the 2022 ECNL Selection Game. Last season, she participated in the Women’s Professional Soccer League and was recognized to the All-Conference team.

Sarah Martin | Champlin Park High School | Champlin, Minn.

“I chose the University of Minnesota because of the all-female coaching staff, complete with an exceptional goalkeeper coach in Tarah Hobbs-Nupson. Incredible facilities specific to women’s soccer, and a community that shows out for every home game. The opportunity to study areas specific to my career goals at a well-renowned university; and to do this all at home, where friends and family can continue to support me!”

Martin joins the Gophers after playing the previous season with the Tonka Fusion Elite program. Prior to 2022, Martin captained her Minnesota Eclipse Soccer Club team for three years. While competing in the Girls Academy, the keeper was a GA League Mid-America Talent ID Participant in 2021 and 2022. She was also awarded the 2019 MYSA Save of the Year for her efforts with Eclipse. Martin leaves behind a decorated high school career, receiving Northwest Suburban All-Conference nods in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Alongside, she was awarded All-State honors in 2021 and 2022, while leading her team to a 2019 NWSC Championship, two Section 5AA Championships, and a MSHSL State Tournament berth in 2019.

Maddy Raymond | Maple Grove Senior High School | Maple Grove, Minn.

“I chose the University of Minnesota because of its excellent athletic program and academics. It was my dream to play soccer in the Big Ten. I loved the coaching staff, players and saw myself being a part of this program.”

Raymond joins Minnesota after playing five seasons with Tonka Fusion Elite, helping them win the Minnesota State Cup in 2019, 2021, and 2022. Raymond leaves behind a notable club team career, as her team were named 2021 National League GLC Premier Champions, 2022 Pro League Champions, and 2022 Midwest Regional Champions. Capping off her career, she was a USYS National Finalist in 2022.

Kendall Stadden | Blaine High School | Blaine, Minn. 

“I chose Minnesota because the idea of getting to play the sport I love in front of the people I love was my biggest aspiration growing up. My family is my life’s greatest blessing, I want to play in front of the people who got me to where I am. Minnesota feels like home, and nothing is better than representing your home state.”

Stadden signs with the Gophers after playing the previous five seasons for the MTA ECNL program, helping them earn a No. 1 national ranking in 2019. With Minnesota Thunder, Stadden earned ECNL Second Team All-Conference Team in 2020 and 2021, while being recognized as a Prep-Soccer All-American in 2021. For Blaine High School, Stadden has received All-Conference, All-Metro and All-State MSHSL soccer honors from 2020-2022. Most notably, she was honored as the 2022 All-Metro Soccer Player of the Year. A member of the track and football teams, Stadden earned All-Conference honors in track and kicks for the Blaine High School football program.

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