Feb. 11, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Seminole soccer head coach Patrick Baker announced his third true recruiting class Monday, February 11 after receiving eight letters of intent from members of the class of 2006. The group includes six players from Florida and the program’s first-ever players from California. Baker’s last two classes have been ranked 13th and eighth nationally according to SoccerBuzz and the class of 2006 should rank amongst the best to ever play at Florida State.
“We are very excited about this group that has signed with FSU and feel from top to bottom it is as talented as any class we have signed here,” said Baker. “The biggest thing is that this group fulfills our needs. They give us a little bit of everything. We get some help in the back, in the midfield, out wide and we also get some help up front. With three very talented freshman keepers, we really didn’t look at that area but this year’s class will push the envelope just as the last two classes before them have.
“Hopefully we are approaching the day when we don’t have to ask so many freshmen to step up and start. In 1999 we started one freshman from start to finish but in 2000 and 2001 we started five freshmen each season for the majority of the season. We don’t expect to need that many to start in 2002 but our players know that no position is guaranteed and our top 11 will play. The chemistry and dynamics of the team mean so much. We have came so far from 1999 to 2000 but the last two seasons we have been trying to refine things and we feel this class will help us compete in the ACC night in and night out. I hope they continue the tradition of the previous classes we brought to Tallahassee.”
The class includes defenders Jessica Bell, Shannon Coe and Teresa Rivera, midfielders Sarah Rosseau, Erica Lewis and Allison Ferreri, and Leah Gallegos and Stephanie Dame up front. Gallegos, a Los Angeles native, and Coe, from Temple City, which is located between LA and Pasadena, are the first-ever Californians to play soccer at Florida State.
“When I coached at Penn, we were fortunate enough to have a lot of California kids play for us so have known the talent level that exists in that state,” said Baker. “We have really tried to open that state up since we’ve been at FSU because it is obviously so rich in talent. We are so excited to have two players from arguably one of the nation’s top club teams, the Santa Anita Strikers, in Shannon Coe and Leah Gallegos come and play soccer at Florida State. We are so excited to have both of those players and we feel they will be wonderful additions and could potentially impact our team immediately.”
Playing at Franklin High in LA, Gallegos was a 1st-team All-League selection for three straight seasons, an All-CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) selection the past two seasons, an All-Area 1st-team selection the last two years and was league MVP during her junior and sophomore seasons. As a sophomore, she was also named Area MVP. She has spent two years playing on California’s State team with U-15’s and U-17’s and also spent two years as a California State pool player with the U-14’s and U-16’s. She played her club ball with the Santa Anita Strikers for seven years on what is widely considered one of the nations premier club teams. Gallegos chose FSU over UCLA, Arizona State, Washington State, Brown and St. John’s.
“Leah is extremely talented and has a wonderful skill base,” said Baker. “She is great in tight spaces and makes others around her better. Leah is a solid goal scorer who will be called upon immediately to contribute. She and fellow Seminole recruit Shannon Coe are club teammates in California and I feel they will both make an early impact on our team.”
A fellow Californian, Coe was named Team MVP at Temple City High School and has been named 1st-Team All-League and 2nd-Team All-Area as a varsity starter for three years. As a freshman, she was named Rookie of the Year and 3rd-Team All-League. She participated in the ODP with the U-14 District IV team and the U-15, U-16 and U-17 California State teams as well. She was a teammate of Leah Gallegos with the vaunted Santa Anita Strikers club team for eight years. She chose Florida State over Cal-State Fullerton and Cal-State San Jose.
“Shannon is a very technical outside back and will challenge for a starting spot right away,” said Baker. “She has good size and speed and will compliment the defensive theme started with our first recruiting class. She has been a starter for one of the best club teams in the nation (Santa Anita Strikers) and that will be a big plus as she comes in for her freshman season.”
Due to the graduation of central midfielder Marte Vik Edvardsen, finding depth for a midfield that is young and full of talent but not very deep was a major concern for Baker. The signings of Ferreri, Lewis and Rosseau should help the depth both centrally and out wide.
“Our biggest area of concern was the midfield,” said Baker. “Even though we have young players in the midfield, we were thin in numbers. We feel like we are bringing three midfielders who are not only going to enhance what we are already doing there but they will take us in a new direction as well.”
Lewis, who is expected to play centrally in the FSU midfield, has spent three seasons with the Florida State ODP team and was a regional pool player in 2000. As a junior at Orange Park High School, she scored 40 goals and recorded 41 assists as a junior and was the only 40-40 player in the area in the last two seasons. Lewis followed up a stellar junior season by scoring 35 goals and recording 24 more assists as a senior for ninth-ranked Orange Park. She played club soccer with fellow Seminole recruit Jessica Bell at Black Watch Stirling, which won the Raleigh Shootout, Norcross Girls Cup and Superclubs National Championship.
“Erica is considered by many to be one of the best central midfielder prospects in the south this year,” said Baker. “She can really make a team go and has a great feel for the game. Erica will help a thin central midfield depleted by graduation. She and Sarah Rosseau will enhance the this team right away.”
Rosseau began her high school career in Pylesville, MD before moving to Marco Island, FL for her junior and senior seasons. Playing at St. John Neumann High School in Marco Island, she scored 56 goals as a junior and was the leading scorer in Collier County where she was named Collier County Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Playing in Maryland, she captained her team to second-place in Districts and led all high school goal scorers as a sophomore. She was named 1st-team All-County as a sophomore after leading Hartford County with 23 goals and leading her team to a Regional Championship. She spent the 2000 and 2002 seasons with the Florida state ODP team. Played club soccer with the BFC Blast in Maryland and as a U-16 they won the 1999 Pepsi Challenge, Division II Championship at WAGS and Baltimore Metro League. After moving to Florida, Rosseau was a member of the Ft. Myers Cyclones who won the 2001 Orange Classic and Premier League Championships with the U-18’s and were runners-up at the 2001 Atlanta Cup. She chose Florida State over Florida, Clemson and Tulane.
“Sarah is a very skillful and talented central midfielder who is one of Florida’s best,” commented Baker. “She understands the game very well. Sarah makes great decisions with and without the ball. She will compliment Camie Bybee and Jenny Garcia in the central midfield.”
Ferreri was a four-year starter for St. Thomas Aquinas and member of the 1999 State Championship team. She has been named team MVP for three consecutive seasons and is a two-time All-State selection. Ferreri was also named first-team All-County as a sophomore and junior playing at forward and sweeper. She is a two-time Florida State ODP player and played her club soccer with the Coral Springs Storm from 1994-1999 and with the Team Boca U-17’s in 2000 and 2001. In 2000, she reached the South Region finals with Team Boca and was a member of the Florida State club champions in 1999 and 2000. She was also in the state finals in 1997, 1998 and 2001. She chose Florida State over Florida, Miami, Ohio State and NC State.
“Allison is going to be a very good college player- the problem will be where to play her,” said Baker. ” She is a versatile player that will probably challenge for time as a wide midfielder or forward. Like another member of this class Stephanie Dame, she possesses a great upside.”
Baker’s signing class is his largest ever at FSU when it comes to talent from within the state of Florida. With six signees from as far south as Coral Springs to as far north as Panama City, this is Baker’s most diverse group ever from the Seminoles home state.
“We tried hard to recruit Florida very hard since we have been here and last year we lost some very good players to other schools,” said Baker. “This was probably just our year in the rotation. We want to continue to bring Florida’s best players to Florida State and I feel like in the last three years we have done that overall. It is rewarding to get a majority of the state’s best players to our campus and hopefully it is a sign of things to come.
“Our visibility in the state has increased especially with our back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. We have one of the Southeast’s fastest growing summer soccer camps and those things have helped us attract Florida kids to FSU.”
One of Florida’s best is defender Teresa Rivera. A 2002 Gatorade Player of the Year nominee who attended 2001 ESP Camp, Rivera scored 36 career goals and recorded 44 career assists despite playing at sweeper her junior and senior seasons. She is a four-year starter and senior captain for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and led her team to the Regional Championship as a senior and into the Regional semi-finals as a sophomore and junior. She helped lead the Eagles to nine consecutive district and regional championships and was named 2001 Defensive MVP. Rivera is a 1st-Team Miami Herald and Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel All-Broward County selection and she was named Rookie of the Year in 1998. She played with the Region III ODP team from 2000-2002, attended Region III Camp from 1998-2001 and played with the Florida State ODP team from 1998-2001. She has captained Team Boca for four years and won the Florida State Cup from 1998-2001. She and Team Boca played in the Region III Tournament from 1999-2001 including the 2000 Regional semi-finals. She chose Florida State over Miami and Connecticut.
“Teresa is considered by most to be the top player in the state this year,” said Baker. “Great skill, vision and is very composed in the back. Teresa has the ability to make a difference right away. She can play centrally in the back or midfield and is also a great leader.”
Bell was a member of the senior All-Star Team in 2002, a 1st-Team All-Western Conference and All-County selection the last two seasons and was named the Most Valuable Defender in 2000 and 2001. She has played with Florida State ODP for two seasons. She won the Raleigh Shootout, Norcross Girls Cup and Superclubs National Championship as a member of the Black Watch Stirling club team. She chose Florida State over Florida, Mississippi and Tulane.
“Jessica is a very talented defender who possesses a great deal of speed, athleticism, and toughness,” said Baker. “She caught our eye at our summer camp and had a very good week of training. Jessica will help us in the back third right away, either centrally or on the outside.”
Dame is expected to contribute up top for FSU after beginning her high school career by scoring 22 goals and recording three assists as a freshman at A. Crawford Mosley High on her way to garnering team MVP honors. She played outside midfield as a sophomore and the midfield and forward positions her junior year. Dame caught the attention of the FSU coaching staff at coach Baker’s Elite Camp in 2000 and she plans to study Early Childhood Development at Florida State.
“Stephanie is the sleeper of the class- very fast, athletic, and possesses a tremendous upside,” said Baker. “Along with Bell, she was seen at the FSU summer camp and will add immediately to the forward crop already at FSU. Stephanie could also be used as a wide midfielder.”
Those players who are already on campus, namely the juniors, sophomores and freshman from the 2001 team, will begin spring practice this week and will open up their spring schedule in Austin, TX versus the Canadian U-19 National Team in less than two weeks. For complete information of FSU soccer and the team’s 2002 spring schedule, please visit Seminoles.com for all of the latest information.