University of Minnesota announces signing of five future Gophers for 2022
The newest Gophers boast impressive individual and team achievements at the high school and club levels.
“We are very excited to add such a quality group of student-athletes to our program,” Chastain said. “The class is really well-rounded. However, what stands out the most to me is that these young women recognize the special opportunity they have to come in and represent the University of Minnesota at the absolutely highest level.”
Sophia Barjesteh | Midfielder | Woodbury, Minn. | Woodbury High School
Barjesteh is ranked as a two-star prospect according to TopDrawerSoccer.com and played her high school soccer under former Gopher Kylie Kallman at Woodbury High School. She was a four-year letter winner in soccer while also being a four-time Academic Award winner all four years of high school. She earned First Team All-State honors both her junior and senior season. Barjesteh was named an East Metro Player of the Year finalist in 2020 and was the East Metro Player of the Year in 2021. Barjesteh was a 2021 finalist for the Minnesota Ms. Soccer award. She played her club ball with the Minnesota Thunder Academy where she was named to the All-Conference First Team in the Midwest ECNL league in 2021 and reached the ECNL Champions League qualifiers in 2019 and 2021 and finished the 2019-20 season undefeated.
“I chose the University of Minnesota because of its strong academic and athletic programs,” Barjesteh said. “I wanted to play for my hometown University and play in the Big Ten. I grew up being a Gopher fan and always dreamed of playing in Maroon and Gold.”
Alma Beaton | Midfielder | Saint Louis Park, Minn. | Saint Louis Park High School
Beaton joins the Gophers as a two-star prospect according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. She earned All-Metro West honors from 2018-21 and was an All-State performer in 2019 and 2021. Beaton earned All-Metro First Team laurels from the Star Tribune in 2021 and was the team captain in 2020 and 2021. She participated at the National ODP Camp in 2017 and 2018 and played her club ball with the Minnesota Thunder Academy form 2017-22. She helped her team qualify for the ECNL National Champions League playoffs from 2019-21 and won the ECNL Midwest Conference Championship in 2020.
“I love the coaching staff, the family feel of the team, the intense soccer environment and the beautiful campus.”
Amelia Brown | Midfielder | Cary, N.C. | Crossroads Flex
Brown joins the Gophers, and her sister Izzy Brown, after a stellar career with the NC Courage Academy. Ranked as a three-star prospect, Brown was a US Soccer Training Invitee from 2016-19 and was an invitee to the ODP National Training Camp in 2018. Brown was ranked in the top 150 by IMG from 2017-2020 and in 2022. She’s ranked as a top 50 Midfielder according to IMG and was a top 10 South Atlantic Region player in 2022.
Brown’s father, Chucky Brown, played basketball at NC State and was an ACC Champion before playing 13 years in the NBA with the Houston Rockets where he also won an NBA Championship.
“I chose the University of Minnesota for many reasons,” Brown said. “The campus is beautiful, the athletic facilities are incredible, the school spirit is contagious and the coaching staff is top notch! I am thrilled to be a golden Gopher!”
Maddie Shannon | Forward | Maple Grove, Minn. | Benilde St. Margaret’s
Shannon was a member of Minnesota’s All-State team her senior season and was an All-Conference member twice during her high school career. The Maple Grove, Minn., native won a section championship her junior and senior seasons and then participated at the ODP Regional Camp two years in a row and made the ODP Regional Team. Shannon played her club ball with Tonka Fusion Elite where she was a captain for three years and won a state championship in 2018.
“I chose the University of Minnesota because it feels like home every time I visit the campus,” Shannon said. “I love the environment and I love that my family is so close by. I loved the people that I’ve met when I visited as well. I grew up going to gopher hockey games and love the high level of academics that are offered.”
Fiona Skwierawski | Defender | Shorewood, Wis. | Shorewood High School
Skwierawski adds speed to the Gophers roster as a two-star prospect according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. She’s a two-time All-State honoree in the state of Wisconsin and also was a state meet qualifier in track and field, finishing the 4x100m and 4x400m relay in third place while finishing seventh individually in the 400m and 15th in the long jump. Skwierawski was the 2021 Woodlands Soccer Conference Player of the Year in 2021 as a defender and won her high school’s MVP for soccer. She was honored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as the high school soccer Female Honoree last year. She played her club soccer with FC Wisconsin where she was a captain from 2016-21.
“I chose the University of Minnesota because of the all-female coaching staff,” Skwierawski said. “The University of Minnesota was also the perfect balance of soccer and athletics.”