With another strong recruiting class, announced Wednesday on national signing day, Washington State’s women’s soccer team seems primed to continue its meteoric rise in the national spotlight.
“I am confident this class is ready for the challenge and has been upbeat and excited to get started,” said coach Todd Shulenberger, whose Cougs last year made it all the way to the College Cup national semifinal round. “This is a well-rounded group that fills in all key positions on the field.”
Highlighted on the Cougars’ lengthy list of newcomers is Nadia Cooper, one of America’s premier youth goalkeepers.
Cooper, from Rosenberg, Texas, has been a standout in the Team USA national system. She’s been called up to the U17 team for multiple tournaments, and early this year, was training with the team ahead of the 2020 CONCACAF tournament, which was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In her previous national team outing, a Feb. 20 start against England, Cooper earned a shutout.
The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Academy star was named the Central region’s top keeperin 2019 by the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. As a sophomore, she split time between the U17 and U19 teams, starting 17 matches.
Macey Formanek, from Arcadia High School in Phoenix, is an attacking midfielder who played for the touted SC del Sol U18/19 team as part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Last season, she netted four goals in 21 appearances.
Californian defender Khalia Gathright played out her club years with SoCal Blue. She guided them to the Elite Clubs National League U16 national title last season after a semifinal run the previous year.
Her team’s defense was tops in the tournament.
Gathright is an All-Elite Clubs pick who led Los Alamitos High School to back-to-back league championships and a state runner-up finish in 2019. She’s also a standout sprinter.
McKenna Pua, a defender from Huntington Beach, Calif., is a three-time all-league honoree for Marina High School, and the Wave League’s MVP last season after leading Marina to its first conference title in 25 years.
Forward Rajanah Reed set a program record at Deer Valley (Ariz.) High School as a freshman, scoring 36 goals and raking in first-team all-region accolades.
She then transitioned to strictly club play. Competing with the Utah Royals of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Reed tallied 18 goals in 19 matches in 2019, finishing second on the team to current WSU freshman Margie Detrizio.
Midfielder Lindsey Saad, a Utah Royals team captain from Albuquerque, N.M., started 16 Royals games last season before sustaining a season-ending injury.
She played alongside Cooper at Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Texas) in 2020.
In-state recruit Reese Tappan, from Newcastle, is a two-time Class 2A state champion and two-time all-league defender.
Tappan has scored 10 goals and assisted on another six in the past two years for Liberty High School.
Rounding out the group is midfielder Audrey Weir, out of Kealakehe High School in Hawaii.
Weir is a two-time all-league pick who plays club for the ECNL’s San Diego Surf, with whom she scored four goals last season.