Golden Eagles add seven to 2021 signing class
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Crookston women's soccer program announced the addition of seven players in the early signing period.
Kathryn Brainerd, Abby Fettinger, Brooklyn Fischbach, Inanna Hauger, Morgan Laplante, Lanie Padelford and Emma Stempien signed National Letters of Intent, and will join the Golden Eagles for the 2021 season.
Second-year coach Kyle Halfpop said that UMC is still looking to add players to the class.
"I feel like we are headed in the right direction as a program, and this group embodies a lot of qualities we are looking for as we look to turn the program around," Halfpop said in a press release. "The thing that stands out most is the mentality of all these players. They are all mentally strong, competitive, and have really high work ethics.
"As we have built relationships with these players, that is what we talk about most. They understand where the program is currently and where we see it going and they are all bought in and ready to improve."
Brainerd, a goalie from Corcoran, Minn., has possibly the most unique path to Crookston out of the seven. A 2012 graduate of Buffalo H.S., she played two seasons at Rochester Community and Technical College, posting an 0.46 goals-against average as a sophomore, before joining the U.S. Navy in 2015. She spent five years in the Navy, doing a deployment to the South China Sea and a swim qualification at the Mariana Trench.
"Kathryn ... has a strong desire to get back into the game she loves and is passionate about," Halfpop said. "She is going to bring leadership qualities, a hard work ethic, and high expectations to a young team.”
Fettinger is a defenseman from White Bear Lake. As a junior, she had two goals and two assists in 16 games for White Bear Lake H.S., and as a senior this season was named All-Suburban East Conference. Along with fellow signee Padelford, Fettinger played club soccer for Manitou Futbol Club 03 Sambas.
“Abby is exactly what we were looking for in a wide player,” Halfpop said. “She is fast, good with the ball going forward and is great defensively. She has a great work rate and has a high expectation of herself and her teammates."
Fischbach, a goalie from South St. Paul, played for South St. Paul H.S. She saved 42 of 53 shots in 2019 and recorded a 1.96 goals-against average, and helped South St. Paul to a 6-6-1 record with 1.3 goals allowed as a senior. She also captained her club team.
“She has shown the ability to read the play and take up good starting positions in her box," Halfpop said. "She is eager to help her backline out, which is different to what we have here already."
Hauger, a midfielder from Boyne City, Mich., is one of two Michiganders to commit to UMC this fall. She was an All-District, All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State selection while at Boyne City H.S. and played for Vardar United FC at the club level.
“Her work rate is unbelievably high and that suits what we want to do here," Halfpop said. "She has great technical ability and can see the field very well. She will bring a lot of grit and high energy to our program with lots of room to grow as well."
Laplante, a forward, arrives in Crookston by way of Desoto, Kan., Oklahoma Baptist University and Johnson County Community College. At Desoto H.S., she was a two-time All-State and four-time All-Conference honoree. She spent her freshman season at Oklahoma Baptist and her sophomore year at JCCC.
“Morgan has such a mature head on her shoulders and a very high level of expectation of herself,” Halfpop said. “I think Morgan is going to bring in a lot of experience and a lot of leadership to our program. She can play in a variety of spots through the middle of the field and I think that versatility will be big for us."
Mahtomedi native Padelford helped lead Mahtomedi H.S. to the Class 1A State Championship as a junior. With Padelford playing at defenseman, the Zephyrs recorded 11 shutouts in 2019.
"She is such a versatile defender and is so composed on the ball," Halfpop said. "She is quick and fast and can break up the play with her excellent positioning and 1v1 defending skills. She can break lines with a pass and is deceptively strong."
Stempien, from Plymouth, Mich., played goalkeeper for Canton H.S. and the Michigan Jaguars FC CW3 squad at the club level.
“Emma is a steady and consistent goalkeeper,” Halfpop said. “She has good shot stopping qualities and a lot of experience at a high level. She is comfortable with the ball at her feet, which is important for us and suits our style of play."
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