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NCAA Nov 10, 2023

USWNT prospects Kennedy Fuller, Emeri Adames, Claire Hutton among 7 to join UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The North Carolina women’s soccer team inked seven players on National Signing Day, all who will arrive in Chapel Hill as freshmen ahead of the 2024 season.

The Tar Heels’ signing class – Emeri Adames, Kennedy Fuller, Bella Gaetino, Claire Hutton, Caitlin Mara, Ashley Pennie and Linda Ullmark – features five midfielders, one defender and one forward and hails from five different states.

According to Top Drawer Soccer, UNC’s seven-player cohort is ranked second nationally. Four signees in Adames (No. 6), Fuller (No. 7), Hutton (No. 10) and Pennie (No. 16) rank in TDS’s top 16.

Led by associate head coach and lead recruiter Damon Nahas, the Tar Heels have brought in a top-four recruiting class for the past seven years. UNC has also had a top-five recruiting class in nine of the last 10 seasons.

Emeri Adames

Position: Forward
Hometown: Red Oak, Texas
High School: Life Schools
Club Team: Solar Soccer Club

Highlights: U.S. U19 Youth National Team bronze medalist at the 2023 Pan American Games, scoring the USA’s lone goal in the semifinal … Member of the 2022 U.S. U17 YNT roster that won the 2022 Concacaf Championship … Part of the U.S. 2022 U17 World Cup roster, tallying one assist … U.S. U16 international camp participant … ECNL All-American and First Team All-Conference … U15 Texas Conference Player of the Year … Two-time Dallas Cup and State Cup winner … International Girls Cup and Vegas Cup champion … Two-time ECNL Texas Conference champion … Two-time ECNL Champions League Playoffs Final Four finalist … School record holder for single-season goals (47) … Co-Offensive MVP as a freshman.

Kennedy Fuller

Position: Midfielder
Hometown: Southlake, Texas
High School: Southlake Carroll High School
Club Team: Solar Soccer Club

Highlights: Has earned 12 international caps with U.S. Youth National Team U15, U16 and U17 totaling 14 goals and seven assists … 2022 U15 Concacaf Golden Ball winner, Top Goal Scorer … 2023 U16 Mondial Montaigu Tournament Best Player … 2022 U15 Concacaf Tournament Top Goal Scorer … Two-time ECNL All-American and First Team All-Conference … Two-time ECNL Texas Conference Player of the Year … Five-time ECNL Best XI selection … 2023 Gatorade National Player of the Year … Two-time Gatorade Texas Player of the Year … United Soccer Coaches and Just Women’s Sports All-American … 2022 Texas 6A state champion, Tournament MVP and All-Tournament … First Team All-State and Texas Player of the Year … School record holder for single-season goals (55) and points (136) … USYNT and high school team captain.

Bella Gaetino

Position: Midfielder
Hometown: Dexter, Michigan
High School: Dexter High School
Club Team: Michigan Hawks

Highlights: USL W League ‘Team of the Season’ First Team … Started every match for USL W League’s Flint City, tallying six goals and led the team into its first playoffs berth … Two-time ECNL All-Conference … 2023 ECNL National finalist … 2023 ECNL National Selection Game invitee … 2022 ECNL National Playoffs Best XI … ICC Midwest selection … KC Current Training Camp participant.

Claire Hutton

Position: Midfielder
Hometown: Bethlehem, New York
High School: Bethlehem Central High School
Club Team: World Class FC

Highlights: U.S. U19 Youth National Team bronze medalist at the 2023 Pan American Games, scoring a goal against Argentina … Served as team captain of U18 YNT Pan-Am team … Scored six goals at the 2022 Concacaf U17 Championship, including a brace against Grenada … The youngest All-American selected in 2021 … New England U18/U19 Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference.

Caitlin Mara

Position: Defender
Hometown: Winchester, Massachusetts
High School: Buckingham Browne and Nichols School
Club Team: FC Stars of Massachusetts

Highlights: Two-time All-American … 2022 ECNL National Training Camp participant … Two-time ECNL All-Conference First Team … 2021 New England ECNL conference champion … 2022 First Team All-State and First Team All-Region … Three-time NEPSAC Class A champion, being tabbed to the first team in 2021 and 2022 … Two-time ISL champion, earning MVP honors in 2022 as well as First Team recognition in 2021 and 2022 … Two-time team captain.

Ashley Pennie

Position: Midfielder
Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School: Our Lady of Lourdes Academy
Club Team: Weston FC/Florida United SC

Highlights: U.S. Youth National Team call-ups for U15, U17 and U19 … One of six midfielders selected to the U19/U19 YNT training camp in 2023 … Two-time Girls Academy Champions Cup winner … Team captain of Florida United 05.

Linda Ullmark

Position: Midifielder
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
High School: Nicols School
Club Team: WNY Flash

Highlights: Invited to the U17 U.S. Youth National Team training camp in June 2023 … ECNL National Selection Game participant … 2022-23 Gatorade New York Player of the Year … 2022 New York Class B State Player of the Year … Totaled 76 goals in 42 games lacrosse three seasons … Served as team captain.