West Virginia women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown signs 11 recruits
Joining the Mountaineers are: Aria Bilal (Bowie, Maryland), Brooke Brown (Liberty Township, Ohio), Ruby Darling (Fredericksburg, Virginia), Emma Dotson (Lewisburg, West Virginia), Dilary Heredia-Beltran (Wichita, Kansas), Megan Kelley (Cohasset, Massachusetts), Rhea Kijowski (Waynesburg, Pennsylvania), Samone Knight (The Woodlands, Texas), Annika Leslie (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Kassidy Roshong (Dayton, Ohio) and Leah Sparacio (Farmingdale, New York).
In all, the 11 players hail from nine different states and two countries.
“I am so excited to welcome this class to our West Virginia family,” Izzo-Brown said. “The enthusiasm, passion and determination of this class to continue our tradition of success is unmatched. As a staff, we are so eager to start to develop this group because of the excellence each one of them brings.”
Aria Bilal – Forward
A native of Bowie, Maryland, Bilal played for coach Harry Canellakis while at McDonogh School. Ranked No. 111 in the IMG Academy 150 by TopDrawerSoccer.com, the forward helped McDonogh to a No. 1 national ranking in 2019, as well as three Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) championships. In the club ranks, Bilal, a four-star recruit by TDS, has played for Maryland United FC, also for coach Canellakis, most recently for its U-18/19 squad. The daughter of Omar and Arneshuia, Bilal plans to major in sport management at West Virginia.
Brooke Brown – Midfielder/Defender
Liberty Township, Ohio
Brown hails from Liberty Township, Ohio, where she plays at Lakota East High for coach Tom McEwan, as well as Ohio Elite Soccer Academy in the ECNL. The midfielder/defender is a four-year all-conference performer, including back-to-back seasons on the first team in 2019 and 2020. Brown has been a part of the Olympic Developmental Program and played at the iD2 National Training Camp. Rated as a three-star prospect by TopDrawerSoccer.com, she also is an accomplished track runner, as she has qualified for the AAU National Track & Track Championships, and was a conference champion in the 800 meters. Academically, she has been named Academic All-Conference and Academic All-Southwest Ohio during her career. The daughter of Robert and Latosha, Brown’s sister, Talia, played collegiate soccer at Bowling Green. Additionally, she is the niece of WVU men’s basketball assistant coach Erik Martin. Brown plans to major in computer engineering at WVU.
Ruby Darling – Defender
A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Darling plays at Mountain View High for coach Fernando Ramos. The three-year starting defender was a team captain and is an all-district and all-area performer. She also was an honorable mention selection to the Team of the Decade by The Free Lance-Star. Additionally, Darling, who participated in the Olympic Development Program, played for Richmond United in the ECNL and captained the Virginia Development Academy from 2017-18. She was featured in the ECNL Monthly Standouts by TopDrawerSoccer.com last season. Along with soccer, she also qualified for the Virginia state track meet in the 55-meter dash and 4×4 relay. Darling also played lacrosse for eight years. The daughter of Neil and Rebecca, Darling plans to major in forensic examination.
Emma Dotson – Midfielder/Defender
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Dotson hails from Lewisburg, West Virginia, and plays soccer at Greenbrier East High for her father, Michael Dotson. At the club level, the midfielder/defender also has played for WVFC since 2016, and was a part of the West Virginia Olympic Development Program from 2015-19. A two-time all-state selection, Dotson is a three-year captain and has helped the Spartans to three sectional titles, as well as a regional championship in 2018. Recognized as the regional player of the year twice, Dotson also is a two-time ODP East Region 1 Player of the Year. The daughter of Michael and Alyson, Dotson plans to major in economics.
Dilary Heredia-Beltran – Forward
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Heredia-Beltran attends Olathe North High and plays club soccer at Sporting Blue Valley for coaches Tom Knox and Colin Bulwich. A member of the U-20 U.S. Women’s National Team, Heredia-Beltran has risen up the national ranks for years, spending time with the U-14, U-16, U-18 and U-19 National Teams during her youth career. Ranked No. 18 in the IMG Academy 150 by TopDrawerSoccer.com, the four-star forward has played at the U-17 Women’s Torneo delle Nazioni in Italy, as well as the Tricontinental Cup with the U-18 roster. With Sporting Blue Valley, she has tallied seven goals for the U-18/19 squad in 2020, as well as 15 more from 2017-19. The daughter of Alex and Santa, Heredia-Beltran plans to major in pre-medicine at WVU.
Megan Kelley – Forward
Kelley hails from Cohasset, Massachusetts, and plays at NEFC of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for coach Alison Foley. The forward started in nine of her 12 games played for the U-18/19 squad in 2019-20, helping the club to second place in the U-18/19 Northeast Division prior to the league’s stoppage last spring. The daughter of Francis and Kelly, Kelley plans to enroll at WVU in general studies.
Rhea Kijowski – Forward
From Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Kijowski played soccer at Waynesburg Central High for her father, Joe Kijowski. She scored more than 100 career goals and 60 assists during her successful high-school career, leading WCHS to a WPIAL championship and into the WPIAL playoffs. Kijowski is a two-time member of the All-WPIAL team, and has been an all-section honoree three times. The forward has led Waynesburg Central in goals and assists three different seasons, leading to her being named a finalist for the Western Pennsylvania Player of the Year award. At the club level, she plays for FC Alliance and has helped it to seven consecutive state championships. Kijowski’s father, Joe, was a national-qualifying wrestler at Pitt, while her mother, Melanie, is a WVU graduate. Her sister, Jillian, currently plays college soccer at Charlotte. Kijowski plans to major in exercise physiology at West Virginia.
Samone Knight – Forward
The Woodlands, Texas
A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Knight plays soccer at The Woodlands High for coach Dina Graves, as well as Challenge Soccer Club for coach Pat O’Toole. The forward led her school in goals in each of the last two seasons and was named the Offensive MVP this fall. The first-team all-district honoree was nominated for the VYPE Preseason Player of the Year award. Knight has been a part of the Olympic Development Program and was on the ECNL Player of Watch list. The daughter of Sammy and Freda, Knight’s father played college football at USC and 12 years in the NFL. She plans to major in engineering at WVU.
Annika Leslie – Defender
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Leslie hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she attends Bill Crothers Secondary School. The defender is a member of the U-17 Canadian National Team, serving as captain during the 2019 Mexico Tour. Additionally, Leslie was a three-year captain of the Nova Scotia Atlantic Championship team from 2016-18. She has been named the Youth Player of the Year three times at the yearly Soccer Nova Scotia Night of Excellence (2017, 2018, 2019), and was a part of the Canadian U-15 team at the CONCACAF Championships in 2018. Leslie is an avid runner and has been named her school’s cross country MVP twice. The daughter of Stefan and Heidi, Leslie plans to major in exercise physiology.
Kassidy Roshong – Goalkeeper
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Roshong plays for coach Javier Iriart at Archbishop Alter High. The standout goalkeeper also plays for Cincinnati Girls Academy in the club ranks. Roshong, a three-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer.com, was a senior captain for Alter this past fall and is the school’s career shutout and wins leader. She led the Knights to a state championship in 2019. Roshong was recently named the Greater Catholic League (GCL) Player of the Year and was a first-team all-state selection last season. Additionally, she has earned all-conference and all-section accolades during her career. At the club level, Roshong helped Ohio Galaxies FC to a State Cup championship in 2019, as well as two Ohio South State League titles in 2018 and 2019. The daughter of Ryan and Julie, Roshing plans to major in health and wellness at WVU.
Leah Sparacio – Forward/Midfielder
Farmingdale, New York
Sparacio hails from Farmingdale, New York, where attends Farmingdale High and plays club soccer at SUSA FC for coach Ron Alber in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL). The three-star recruit (according to TopDrawerSoccer.com) has been a part of the Olympic Development Program and played on its regional team for three seasons. Away from soccer, the forward/midfielder is a member of National Honor Society, ASL Honor Society and the Italian Honor Society at FHS. The daughter of Karen and the late Joseph Sparacio, Leah plans to enroll at WVU in exercise physiology.