WWU head coach Travis Connell adds six players to one of college
soccer’s best programs. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
WWU Women's Soccer Inks Six Players During Early Signing Period
December 6, 2018
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University head women’s soccer coach Travis Connell has announced the signing of six players that make up the first wave of the recruiting class that is set to debut for the Vikings beginning with the 2019 season.
The class includes three midfielders, two defenders and one forward, with five of the six hailing from the state of Washington:
“When we step back and look at these six signings, we notice a couple of things,” said WWU head coach Travis Connell, who recently completed his 16th season leading the Vikings. “This is a competitive group with great character. They are also extremely versatile players that have experience playing multiple positions. This will accelerate their transition into the college game. We can’t wait to see the impact they will have on our program.”
MAKENZIE BURKS » Defender // Tacoma, WA // Stadium HS // Washington Premier FC ECNL
Burks is a dynamic defender out of Stadium High School in Tacoma that has played for Washington Premier at the club level…named the 3A Pierce County League MVP and Tacoma News Tribune Player of the Year in her junior season…led Stadium to the 3A state championship game…Second Team All-PCL as a senior…captain of Stadium her junior and senior season…helped lead WPFC ECNL to the Elite 8 of the ECNL Playoffs in spring 2018…interested in pursuing a degree at WWU in pre-physical therapy or sports science….brother, Kendall, played college soccer at Cal State Bakersfield.
Burks on why she chose WWU:
“I am most excited to play at the collegiate level and paly with a team that loves soccer just as much as I do.”
Coach Connell on Makenzie:
“Makenzie is a dynamic athlete. Her speed and timing make her a lockdown defender. She possesses attacking skills that enable her to create goal-scoring chances for her and her teammates.”
LIBBY HIELKEMA » Midfielder // Lynden, WA // Lynden Christian // WFC Rangers
Hielkema is an athletic midfielder that was a four-time All-Northwest Conference selection out of Lynden Christian…as a junior she was named the Northwest Conference MVP and was a First Team All-State 1A selection…captain of the Lyncs her senior season and First Team All-Northwest Conference…helped lead LC to an appearance in the 1A Bi-District Playoffs…played club for the Whatcom Football Club Rangers.
Hielkema on what excites her about WWU:
“I am looking forward to the team atmosphere and being part of something a lot greater than me. The intensity and level of play will be amazing and the teammates will be even better. Playing soccer at college has been a dream of mine now I’m just excited to see it happen at such a great school.”
Coach Connell on Libby:
“Libby is a dominant athlete with a great motor. She covers so much ground and affects so many plays during each game. Her ability to win balls, keep possession and be goal dangerous will fit in perfect with our style of play.”
JILLIAN LANGEI » Midfielder // Bellingham, WA // Bellingham High School // WFC Rangers
Langei was a two-time All-Northwest Conference selection, including first-team honors as a junior at the midfield position…Second Team All-NWC during her senior season at Bellingham High School…two-time MVP of Bellingham High School…2017 2A Second Team All-State selection…played club for the WFC Rangers under the direction of current WWU assistant coach Jamie Arthurs.
Langei on what excites her about WWU:
“I am excited to play for a program that has a really positive team atmosphere and am excited for the college experience and living on my own, meeting new people and furthering my education at a school with a great reputation.”
Coach Connell on Langei:
“Jillian is a dynamic attacking player. She thrives in spaces between the lines creating goal scoring chances for herself and her teammates. Her ability to beat players off the dribble and work rate on the defensive side of the ball are going to make a big impact on our program.”
ALLISON LEPP » Midfielder // Minot, ND // Minot High School // Minot Magic Football Club
Lepp is a well-rounded player that hails from Minot, North Dakota…was the 2017-18 North Dakota Gatorade State Player of the Year…scored 14 goals and 5 assists her junior season…will play her senior season in the spring…First Team All-State as a sophomore and junior…two-time team captain…played club for Minot Magic FC.
Lepp on what she is most looking forward to about WWU:
“The thing I am most excited about for WWU is just how different it is than my hometown. It will be a whole new experience for me and I will have so many new opportunities, both on and off the soccer field.”
Coach Connell on Lepp:
“Allison is an explosive athlete that blends speed and strength. Her technical skills and vision make her composed on the ball. Even under pressure she is able to connect passes and control possession.”
ESTERA LEVINTE » Defender // Bothell, WA // Bothell High School // GS Surf 99A
Levinte is a defender that hails from Bothell High School…during her senior season she scored 4 goals and added 4 assists while leading the Cougars to a district playoff berth…2018 Kingco 4A co-Offensive MVP…2017 Kingco First Team All-League…also participated in track & field during her prep career.
Levinte on what excites her about WWU:
“I am very excited about playing college soccer, especially with a team that I know I will love to be part of. And just being able to go to such a great school that I’ve heard nothing but great things about.”
Coach Connell on Levinte:
“Estera is a rising talent. She is a driven soccer player that gets better every time we see her play. She has a voracious appetite for learning the game. Her technical ability makes her a dynamic 1v1 player in the attack. She reads the game very well on defense.”
KATIE WATT » Forward // Seattle, WA // Bishop Blanchett High School // Reign FC DA
Watt is a defender that has been playing in the Development Academy for the Seattle Reign FC…played for Bishop Blanchett High School as a freshman and sophomore before dedicating her time to Reign FC DA…played 29 games (26 starts) for Reign FC over the last two seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19), scoring 9 goals…also plays basketball for Bishop Blanchett
Watt on her decision to choose WWU:
“I am so grateful to be able to join a program and attend a school that not only will provide me with a great education, but also a top-level soccer team as well. Western Washington offers everything I want in a college and I am so excited to be a Viking next year.”
Coach Connell on Watt:
“Katie has experience playing at the highest level. She is a versatile player that can effectively attack and defend all over the field. She has the ability to make to other players around her play better.”
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