Feb. 1, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin head soccer coach Tony Amato and the reigning SLC champion Ladyjacks announced Wednesday a six-player signing class for the 2012 season. All six players are prep recruits and all are Texans who play for some of the top club teams in the state.
The class consists of Kati Betancourt, Chantal Curry, Amanda Fox, Ashton Norman, Rachel Owens and Lynsie Shaw.
"We are excited to officially announce Kati, Chantal, Amanda, Ashton, Rachel, and Lynsie as members of our SFA soccer family," Amato said. "All of these players were identified early in our 2012 prospect evaluations as quality players. After learning more about them through the recruiting process, we knew we wanted them to play for us."
The class has two players from the Albion Hurricanes '94, and a player from Challenge South '94, Lonestar `94, D'Feeters '94 and the Classic Elite'94. The Albion Hurricanes squad competes out of Houston and finished first in the Premier League. The Challenge South competes out of Pearland area and plays in the Elite Club National League, along with the Lonestar squad and the D'Feeters squad who won the USYS South Regional championship. The Classic Elite competes out of San Antonio.
Amato lauded his assistants, Paul Nagy and Kelly Tarrant, for their efforts in landing the 2012 class.
"I want to thank Paul for his efforts in securing this class and appreciate the help Kelly and our support staff provided in getting to this day," Amato said. "It is great to see our recruiting plan executed throughout this recruiting cycle. As a result, we are welcoming a group of players that will fit in well with the culture of our team. "
Betancourt is a defender from Dickinson. She was a Preseason All-Greater Houston selection, who went on to earn first-team all-region, first team all-district and was recognized as the District Offensive Player of the Year. Betancourt played club soccer for the Challenge South '94.
"Kati's versatility will allow her to compete at several different positions for us," Amato said. "She adds strength and athleticism to our team. "
Curry is a defender, out of Austin, Texas, from McNeil. She was a member of a Lady Maverick squad that was district champions and regional quarterfinalists. Curry played club soccer for the Lonestar '94.
"Chantal is a tough 1-vs.-1 defender who can attack out of the back," Amato said. "Her style of play fits well with our attacking and defensive philosophy."
Fox is a forward from Klein Oak. She was first-team all-region, district offensive MVP, first-team all-district and New Comer of the Year. To add to her prep success, she was a member of a Lady Panther squad that was the 2011 district 13-5A champions. Fox played club soccer, with fellow signee Owens, on the Albion Hurricanes '94.
"Amanda is a quality, composed center forward who is very good in individual possession," Amato said. "We expect her to help our attack this season."
Norman is a forward/midfielder from Mabank who was named to the first-team All-East Texas in addition to being district Co-MVP and Newcomer of the Year. She also played basketball and was named MHS Defensive Player of the Year and played club soccer for the D'Feeters '94.
"Ashton has an attacking personality and will play either up front or in the midfield for us," Amato said. "She will be a great addition to our team."
Owens is a midfielder, out Houston, Texas, from Memorial. She was first team all-district, Newcomer of the Year, team Co-MVP and academic all-district. Owens played club soccer for the Albion Hurricanes, with fellow signee Fox, where she was team captain.
"We have seen Rachel play at a high level in central midfield," Amato said. "She is active, powerful, and covers ground. She will work well with our midfield players in 2012."
Shaw is a midfielder, out of San Antonio, from Johnson. She was a member of a Jaguar squad that was regional champions and state semi-finalists and played club soccer for the Classics Elite '94.
"Lynsie is a very hard working player who is dedicated to being successful," Amato said. "She will add to our flank play this season."
SFA went 15-3-1 in Amato's second season at the helm. The Ladyjacks clinched their sixth conference title, first under Amato, with a 9-0 record in SLC play. SFA will lose three seniors to graduation, including all-conference players Jordan King and Edwina Forbes, from that squad and returns five all-conference honorees for the 2012 campaign.
"Our current players have established a level of excellence needed to be successful in the league," Amato said. "We expect this group to continue this level and help us reach beyond it in the upcoming season. "