University of Rhode Island signs six recruits from top youth soccer clubs
KINGSTON, R.I. — University of Rhode Island women’s soccer head coach Megan Jessee announced the signing of six student-athletes who will pursue their athletic and academic careers in Keaney Blue.
“I am so excited to welcome this class to the Ram Women’s Soccer family,” said Jessee. “This class is made up of great young ladies with great personalities. They add depth and talent in every line of our team. I cannot wait to see these players develop and help take this program to the next level.”
Last season, Jessee led the Rams to six wins, more than doubling the win total from a year prior. Rhody reached the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time since 2016 as the sixth seed and fell to Saint Louis in a heartbreaking 2-1 final. Entering year six, Jessee looks to grow on last year’s success with the incoming class for the fall.
ALLISON GILBERT | 5′ 5 | DEFENDER | EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J.
Club: Players Development Academy (PDA)
Before URI: Attended East Brunswick High School as a center back earning four varsity letters… Three-time GMC Conference Champion with East Brunswick… Captained the team her senior year… Played club for Player Development Academy for nine years and was a captain for five straight years… Named to the ECNL Players to Watch List in 2020… Earned All-GMC Red Division Honors in 2020 and 2021… Named All-GMC in 2021… Earned ECNL New England All-Conference Honors in 2020-21… Named GMC Defender of the Week in back-to-back weeks.. Club team advanced to the Elite Eight in the ECNL National Playoffs (2018)… Received Honor Roll all four years at East Brunswick… Spent time volunteering throughout high school… Member of the Italian Club
Why Rhode Island: “I chose the University of Rhode Island because of the welcoming environment that was created by the coaches and players. I felt at home as I came on campus. Additionally, it offered a major that was unavailable in many other colleges I looked at (Animal Science and Technology).”
Jessee on Allison: “We’re excited for Ally to join the program. She’s a tough defender that can win balls and transition to offense quickly.”
CAELAN MCHUGH | 5′ 7 | MIDFIELDER | SPARKILL, N.Y.
Club: World Class FC
Before URI: Attended Academy of the Holy Angels… Earned four varsity letters as a midfielder… Played club for the World Class FC since the third grade… Captained both her high school and club teams… Voted as one of the top seniors in the state of New Jersey in 2021… Named All-League, All-Selection, and First Team All-Division for three straight years… Named MVP in back-to-back years (2020, 2021)… Scored 10 goals and recorded three assists in 11-game season her junior year… Also a member of the basketball and track teams… Earned Honor Roll all four years… Student Athletic Association President… Eucharistic Minister… Sports camp counselor… Kairos Retreat School leader… Operation Smile… Was a peer tutor
Why Rhode Island: “I chose the University of Rhode Island because I felt very welcomed by the coaching staff and the team. I loved the fact that it as right by the beach and the fact that I could get a great education as well as the chance to be a part of a great soccer program.”
Jessee on Caelan: “Caelan is a creative center mid who will bring a new dynamic to our attack. We’re excited to add her work ethic and vision to the program.”
CIERRA PENNY | 5’5 | MIDFIELDER | MEDFORD, N.J.
Club: Players Development Academy (PDA)
Before URI: Attended Lenape High School and was a member of the soccer team all four years…Played club for Players Development Academy since 2015… Captained the team at Lenape for two years (2020, 2021)… Scored 10 goals and recorded 13 assists for 33 career points at Lenape… Named Second Team All-Conference in 2018… Earned NJ.com’s All-American status… Named Offensive Player of the Year at Lenape in 2020… First Team All-Conference in 2021… Named All-State and All-South Jersey… Earned South Jersey Senior All-Star status… NPL Northeast Champions with Players Development Academy for three straight years (2017, 2018, 2019)… In 2021, advanced to the ECNL Nationals in Florida with PDA… Member of the Honor Roll… Also a member of the track team… Member of the National Honors Society and the Business Honors Society
Why Rhode Island: “I chose Rhode Island for the college of Nursing and being able to play Division I soccer at the same time, and being near Narragansett beach.”
Jessee on Cierra: “Cierra is a skillful box to box midfielder with a motor. Her athleticism will make a great addition to our midfield.”
ERIN HOPEWELL | 5’2 | DEFENDER | ANNANDALE, VA
Club: Metro United GA
Before URI: Attended WT Woodson High School… Played club for Metro United GA for two years… Earned State Cup champion for two years in a row while playing club for BRYC ECNL… Mid-Atlantic ECNL Conference champion for two straight years while with BRYC… Also a member of the indoor and outdoor track teams as well as the cross country team… Owns the school record in the 800 meters… All-A Honor Roll throughout high school
Why Rhode Island: “I absolutely loved the atmosphere of the school and team, it felt like home the first time I stepped foot on campus.”
Jessee on Erin: “Erin is a versatile outside back who can play on both the left and right side. Her tremendous speed will bring another component to our attack.”
MCKENNA SYLVESTER | 5’9 | FORWARD | PLYMPTON, MA
Club: South Shore Select 04 GA
Before URI: Attended Silver Lake Regional High School… Member of the soccer team for two years as a forward and midfielder.. Played club with South Shore Select 04 GA for three years… Totaled 17 goals and 19 assists at Silver Lake… Recorded 14 goals and 12 assists in 25 games of club… Named Patriot League All-Star in 2021… Earned E-Mass Second Team in 2021… NPL Champions with South Shore in 2019… Member of the Honor Roll all four years at Silver Lake… Earned the Art Award at the Evening of Excellence for three straight years… Member of the Student Council all four years… National Honor Society
Why Rhode Island: “The school is perfect distance away from home, close to the beach, has an incredible engineering program, a great soccer program, and a fun and welcoming overall atmosphere.”
Jessee on McKenna: “McKenna is a dangerous left-footed attacker who can finish from anywhere. She’ll be a great addition to the program.”
SARAH YEE | 5’7 | FORWARD | BARRINGTON, R.I.
Club: FC Stars
Before URI: Attended Barrington High School… Member of the soccer team as a forward for all four years… Captained the team for two years… Played club for FC Stars of Massachusetts… Named First Team All-Division in 2020… Named Second Team All-Division in 2019… Also a member of the hockey team and the indoor and outdoor track squads
Why Rhode Island: “I loved that I would still be close to home while not being right in my hometown. Once I saw the campus and met my teammates, I was sold!”
Jessee on Sarah: “Sarah’s versatility brings a lot to the table as she can play many roles for us. Having that kind of adaptability will be great for the program.”