Feb. 5, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
There is no questioning FSU head coach Patrick Baker when it comes to recruiting. The Seminoles’ head soccer coach has brought in three straight Top 25 recruiting classes that have helped FSU reach two Sweet 16’s in the last three years. With the seven commitments FSU received Wednesday, including the program’s second and third ever from US National Team players, Baker looks destined for the second top 10 class of his five year tenure.
“We are very excited because many of the kids that committed today were players we identified as top players that were high up on our wish list,” said Baker. “To see so many of them end up selecting Florida State is very exciting for our staff. We feel from top to bottom this has the potential to be one of our best classes ever. More importantly, it fulfills a lot of our needs heading into the 2003 season.”
Florida State’s 2003 recruiting class should rival the 2001 group, which received a program-best ranking of eighth by SoccerBuzz. That class included two Gatorade Players of the Year, a national team player and four regional ODP players. Four members of that 2001 group started for the Tribe last season.
U-19 National Team members India Trotter and Julia Schnugg lead this year’s class. Schnugg is one of just 18 players recently invited to travel to Mexico with the national team. She is also just the third Californian to ever ink with the Seminoles. Trotter, the fourth Team Boca member to commit to Florida State since Bakers arrival, recently returned from Chula Vista, CA where she spent her first camp as a full national team player after going to Arizona as a national team pool player with the U-15s. Trotter is arguably the best senior in Florida this year and she continues Baker’s trend of keeping the state’s best talent at home. Schnugg and Trotter join Seminole defender Katie Beal as the only three US National Team players to ever commit to Florida State and Baker brought all three to Tallahassee.
“I really think India set the tone for this class by committing to us last spring. We’ve never had that happen before,” said Baker. “She had been on our campus many times and her relationship with Teresa (Rivera) and Amber (Tollefson) who played on her club team helped. That commitment really started the makings of a pretty remarkable recruiting class.
“Julia Schnugg was one of many players from her club team that we had lined up to take visits to Florida State. Ironically, she was the only one to visit and she eventually committed to FSU. We feel very fortunate to have her coming to Tallahassee. Both players have continued to excel individually since verbally committing and have been named to the national pool and are going to national team events. That is exciting for the players and for us.”
Baker returned to familiar territory to land three of the top recruits in Pennsylvania this year. The former Penn coach received commitments from 2001 US National Team camp invitee Toby Ranck, three-time regional team member Kelly Rowland and Pennsylvania State team player Ali Wean. Ranck and Rowland were Central League co-MVPs last season. All three are friends from their years with the state ODP program while Ranck and Rowland were teammates at FC Delco and Rowland and Wean were teammates at Strath Haven High School, which was ranked second nationally this past fall.
“Toby Ranck and Kelly Rowland were two young ladies we identified early in the process,” said Baker. “We truly feel that Kelly is one of the best players coming out of the east region this year and that Toby is one of the best wide midfield/front runners coming out of the east. Ali Wean won the Golden Boot at nationals for her age group this past summer and is a very talented goal scorer. She will really help us up top.
“For us to not have had any Pennsylvania girls since Meredith Jones, to get one and two and then ultimately three from that area is very gratifying especially considering the quality of players in that area and who play for FC Delco.”
Rounding out the class is Rachel McDowell and Amber McCall. McDowell is a familiar name to those who follow women’s college soccer. The 2001 US National Team camp invitee is the younger sister of the Washington Freedom’s Rebekah McDowell and North Carolina’s Mary McDowell. The Lakewood, CO native is a two-year member of the Region IV squad. McCall is a three-year member of the Region III squad and hails from Ft. Meyers, FL. She has scored nearly 100 goals at Estero High despite missing her entire junior season due to injury.
Amber McCall 5'3", MF/F Ft. Myers, FL (Estero HS)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: Three-year member of the Region III team…named MVP of Europe Trip in 2000…state ODP team captain from 1999-2002. HIGH SCHOOL: Three-time captain and MVP…scored 20 goals and was named team MVP as a senior…missed her entire junior year due to injury…named varsity MVP again as a sophomore after scoring 30 goals…as a freshman starter on varsity, scored 45 goals and was named All-County Player of the Year. CLUB: U-18 Florida Premier team captain…FYSA Premier League Champions…Final Four State Cup…Orange Bowl Champions in 2000 and 2001 and runners-up in 2002. PERSONAL: Honor Roll student…all-conference long jumper…Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southwest Florida…FCA. RECRUITING INFO: Chose Florida State over Florida, Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina.
I CHOSE FSU BECAUSE: “I chose FSU because I really liked the campus, coaches and players, plus I feel like the program is on its way to the top.”
BAKER’S TAKE: “One of the top three players in the state of Florida. She is extremely skillful and reads the game very well. She can play in as a central midfielder in an attacking role or up top. I really think she fell off the recruiting map due to her injury a year ago. She may have been forgotten by some people but we are very glad to have her stay in state and be attending FSU.”
Rachel McDowell 5'4", D/MF Lakewood, CO (Wheat Ridge HS)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: National camp invitee in 2001…member of the Region IV team in 2000 and 2001…regional pool 2000…four-year member of the Colorado state ODP team. HIGH SCHOOL: Four-time varsity letterwinner of the defending state champions…currently competing in her senior year…1st team all-conference and assists leader as a junior…team captain and 2nd team all-conference as a sophomore…before an injury ended her freshman season, McDowell was her high school’s leading goal scorer. CLUB: Member of Colorado Rush, which became the Colorado Girls Soccer Academy, from 1997-2001…team captain in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001…state champions 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002. PERSONAL: Sister of Mary McDowell who currently plays at North Carolina and Rebekah McDowell who is with the Washington Freedom of the WUSA…Academic Lettermen 2000-2002…four-year honor roll student…2000 inductee of the National Honor Society…Link Leader 2002-2003…Silver Medal Academic Honoree…Outstanding Student-Athlete 2000-2002…honors and AP coursework in English, history and biology…a three-sport star, McDowell excels in cross country and track as well as soccer…four-time varsity letterwinner in cross country…Outstanding Junior and Senior Athlete Award, four-time state qualifier and 2nd team All-Conference as a senior…member of league champions as a sophomore and broke the record for the fastest time ever by a freshman girl, a record which was previously held by her sister…currently competing in her final year of track…USA Indoor Track competitor in 2002 and 2001…two-time state qualifier in the 4x800m…state qualifier in the 800m and 4x800m League Relay Champion as a junior. RECRUITING INFO: Chose Florida State over UConn, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, Wake Forest and Maryland.
BAKER’S TAKE: “When you talk about the McDowell family and women’s soccer, its one of the best. Her sisters are very accomplished players as is Rachel. We think she is going to have a wonderful career at Florida State. Due to club commitments, she couldn’t take any visits until late October and for her to come to Tallahassee and commit to use in November was a huge boost. She is going to add a dimension to our midfield. She is very good at possession and ultimately she makes players around her better. I felt that was something we needed from this year’s class.”
Toby Ranck 5'4", MF Wayne, PA (Radnor HS)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: Attended national team camp in 2001…regional team member in 2001 and 2002 and won nationals…seven-year ODP member. HIGH SCHOOL: First team All-State and 1st team All-Southern Pennsylvania in 2002…team captain…All-Mainline and Delaware County (Delco) MVP 2002…shared Delco MVP honors with fellow FSU commitment Kelly Rowland…2002 1st Team All-Inquirer and All-Delco…2nd team All-Delco and “roadrunner” team in 2001…1999 Pennsylvania State Champions…2000 Central League Champions. CLUB: Member of FC Delco…three-time state champions…two-time Columbia Invitational Winner…participated in WAGS, Disney Showcase and Texas Shootout among others. PERSONAL: 2000 and 2001 Academic All-American…a three-sport star in soccer, track and lacrosse…qualified for nationals in the distance medley relay in 2001 and was an All-American…named track’s most valuable freshman…state qualifier in 4x800m, 400m and 4x400m…four-year varsity lacrosse letterwinner…state champions in 1999, 2000 and 2001. RECRUITING INFO: Chose Florida State over Penn State.
I CHOSE FSU BECAUSE: “One of the main reasons for choosing FSU is that the soccer program is so exciting. Coach Baker and his staff seem devoted to the well being and success of the players and I like how the team keeps getting better every year. I cannot wait to be a part of it all.”
BAKER’S TAKE: “One of the things she brings to the table is her pace. She will be in a wide position somewhere on the field that allows her to run at people. We really rate her and she reminds me of a combination of our current wide midfielders Amber (Tollefson) and Summer (Corum). Her pace is a little closer to Summer but her skill level reminds me of Amber. We feel like we have a great candidate to play right away in Toby Ranck.”
Kelly Rowland 5'7", MF Wallingford, PA (Strath Haven HS)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: Six-year ODP member… regional team member in 2000, 2001 and 2002…attended interregional event in Boca Raton, FL…also traveled with regional team to Texas, Maryland and Arizona. HIGH SCHOOL: NSCAA Regional All-American in 2002…1st team All-State 2002…team MVP of 2002 Pennsylvania State Champions…team was ranked second in the nation and No. 1 in the east in the fall 2002 rankings…Philadelphia Inquirer “player to Watch” in 2001 and 2002…All-Central League in 2001 and 2002…All-Central League MVP with fellow FSU recruit Toby Ranck…All-Delaware County 2nd Team 2001 and All-Southeastern Pennsylvania 2000, 2001 and 2002. CLUB: Member of FC Delco…three-time state champions…two-time Columbia Invitational Winner…participated in WAGS, Disney Showcase and Texas Shootout among others. PERSONAL: National Honor Society member…three-sport athlete…MVP of soccer basketball and track teams her junior and senior years…captained all three sports as a senior…ranked third in Pennsylvania in the 4x100m in 2000 and 6th in the 4x400m in 2001…All-Delco 2nd team for track in 2002…basketball team captain in junior and senior years and was named All-Central League in 2002…has three siblings including a twin named Jim. RECRUITING INFO: Chose Florida State over Penn State, UConn, Tennessee and Northwestern.
I CHOSE FSU BECAUSE: “I chose FSU for many reasons, but mainly because I think that FSU has the most potential to reach the next level compared to the other schools I was looking to attend. Also the facilities are really nice. I feel that the coaches are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about soccer, the team seems like they have great chemistry and it’s nice going to college already knowing Toby Ranck and Ali Wean (fellow FSU commitments). I saw myself being the most successful at FSU both athletically and academically due to the huge amount of academic support Florida State provides. So overall FSU fit me best. Of course the weather helps a little bit compared to Pennsylvania.”
BAKER’S TAKE: “I have seen Kelly play before she injured herself and she was playing remarkably well. Through the spring season I thought she was one of the best players in the region. She can play almost anywhere on the field. She is very exciting and versatile. Once we get everyone here in the preseason, it will be very interesting to see where she fits in.”
Julia Schnugg 5'5", F Alamo, CA (Monte Vista HS)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: U-19 National Team in 2003…traveled with US National Team to Mexico…Region IV ODP in 2001 and 2002…European Tour in 2002…Interregional in Boca Raton with Region IV team in 2001 and 2002…Cal-North State ODP 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002. HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year varsity letterwinner…Monte Vista High Offensive Player of the Year in 2002. CLUB: Member of Pleasanton Rage U-18…2002 National Champions…Far West Regional Champions in 2000 and 2002…five-time State Cup Champions. PERSONAL: Varsity water polo in 2000…Student Government ’01-’02 and ’02-’03…Golden State Exam Recognition for Biology and Chemistry. RECRUITING INFO: Chose Florida State over UCLA, Tennessee and Arizona State.
CHOSE FSU BECAUSE: “I chose FSU because the balance between academics, soccer and social life was the best I had seen. Florida State was also attractive because of the potential for the soccer program to continue to climb the charts and be the best in the nation. Not to mention I’ll be right by the beach.”
BAKER’S TAKE: “She has speed, quickness and goal scoring ability. She had such a wonderful interregional event and her performance there warranted national pool selection. She didn’t make it to camp due to a numbers situation but she is now going to Mexico at the end of the month with our U-19 National Team. I think she is one of the top frontrunners coming out this year. Her signing is so big also because once again we are able to attract a quality California player after getting Leah (Gallegos) and Shannon (Coe) last year.”
India Trotter 5'8", MF Ft. Lauderdale, FL (St Thomas Aquinas)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: Just the second national team player to ever commit to Florida State University…U-19 National Team camp Chula Vista, CA…U-15 National Pool Player Tucson, AZ camp…USYSA National Team Player in 2000 at the Houston Shootout…scored a goal versus Japan, three international caps and one of the two youngest players competing on all three national teams…regional team player from U-14 to U-18 and participated at interregional camps in Texas, Rhode Island, California, North Carolina, Florida and Illinois…state pool player with U-13…ESP Camp in 2000 (Tennessee) and 2002 (Wilmington, NC). HIGH SCHOOL: Member of three-time 5A State Final Four participant…three-year starter who scored 62 goals and recorded 47 assists…All-Broward/Dade Team for three years…Freshman of the Year Award. CLUB: Spent the past four years with Team Boca…three-time State Cup Champions…Regional Cup semi-finalist in 1999…Atlanta Cup winner in 2000 and Orange Bowl finalist in 2002…won State Cup in 1998 with Coral Springs U-15…Nation’s Cup Tournament MVP and State Cup runners-up in 1997 with Coral Springs. PERSONAL: Spent one year playing JV volleyball…interested in video production. RECRUITING INFO: Chose Florida State over UCLA, Penn State, Texas and Florida.
CHOSE FSU BECAUSE: “I choose Florida State because I believe that it can exceed my potential on the field, as well off the field. The coaching staff is very experienced and knows a great deal about the game. I believe they will help me succeed to my best ability as a student-athlete. I plan on majoring in communications, and FSU has an excellent program. Those are some of the main reasons, but aside from that, the girls on the team are awesome and the team seems to get along and is very team oriented.”
BAKER’S TAKE: “She is probably the cornerstone of this class and arguably Florida’s best player. I believe she is one of the best players in the south this year. She is capable of playing a number of different positions but I would be highly surprised if she wasn’t in the midfield for us. She is extremely skillful and a great passer. I believe she is a difference maker and that is what we needed with this class. We graduated a great senior class and we needed to bring in some personality players this year and India fits that mold.”
Ali Wean F Wallingford, PA (Strath Haven, PA)
OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: Member of Pennsylvania State ODP team since she played with the U-13s. HIGH SCHOOL: Scored over 100 goals in her four year high school career…led Strath Haven High School to the State Championship as a sophomore as she scored 33 goals that season…been named All-Central every season since sophomore year…was also named to the All-State, All-Region and All-American high school teams…won Burger King Athlete of the Week honors. CLUB: As a member of Nether Providence, Wean averaged over a goal a game from U-11 through U-17…played for Bethesda Fury as a U-18 and led the team in goals…scored six goals, including the game-winner, at Regionals…won the Golden Boot award at Nationals for the most goals scored in the tournament. PERSONAL: Wean is the fourth child in her family that has gone on to play Division I soccer.
CHOSE FSU BECAUSE: “I chose FSU because I felt at home when I visited the campus and saw that beautiful field that I will be playing on. Also I don’t think I’ll get home sick too bad because I have Kelly Rowland and Toby Ranck who will also be playing soccer for FSU. Go Noles!”
BAKER’S TAKE: “I think Ali Wean is a little like (All-time FSU goal scorer) Cindy Schofield from the standpoint that she is very good with her back to goal, does a great job playing other players in behind the defense and has a knack for scoring goals. She puts herself in the right positions and doesn’t need a lot of chances to put the ball in the back of the net. That is exciting because when you lose someone of Cindy’s caliber you need to know where those goals are going to come from. I think with Ali coming in, she will be a part of a collective group that will replace the goals we lost.”