Florida women’s soccer head coach Becky Burleigh was all smiles at the press conference Monday afternoon with good reason.
Burleigh and her team are welcoming six more girls to their team. Though it’s a small amount of newcomers, Becky Burleigh calls them an impactful group. Each girl has a certain air of prominence all on their own, a fact that Burleigh highlights for each of them individually.
The Hometown Hero
It’s not an uncommon sight to see a local player joining their city’s university. In her twenty-plus years with the team, Burleligh has welcomed five Gainesville players. This year, number six joined the team. Oak Hall’s star goalkeeper, Ailey Tebbettis part of the six. Tebbet has served as the captain at Oak Hall School for all six seasons and has 1,075 saves during her time with the team. In 2014, she was named the area’s best goalkeeper.
The State Star
If you’re a women’s soccer fan in Florida, the name Samantha Earle is probably well-known. In 2013, Earle was named the 2013 Florida Athletic Coaches Association 2A State Player of the Year. While with Gulliver Prep, she helped the team make it as the 2013 Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A runner-up. In 2016, the team made it to the 2016 Class 2A semifinal.
The Gators welcome Sam Earle and her family to UF Soccer!! pic.twitter.com/1lhdztaFC9
— Becky Burleigh (@UFGatorSoccer) February 2, 2017
In addition to that she plays for the Sunrise Soccer club, who won the 2016 Disney Showcase.
The Club Players
Each girl has spent their time playing for club teams. Not many have spent as much time as Lauren Evans and Madison Alexander. Evans spent nine years with the West Florida Flames. She helped the team win the 2013 Florida Under-14 State Cup and played for the 2013 National Cup XII. Lauren Evans now spends her last few months with the Tampa Bay United Club Team. Madison Alexander plays for the Alliance Academy 99 soccer club in Michigan and has been for the for the last years. She represents the team as the captain. One of Becky Burleigh’s favorite characteristic of Alexander is how competitive she remains throughout the entire year.
The International Stars
The fact that Deanne Rose is from Canada and Lais Arujo is from Brazil isn’t what makes them international stars. The fact that both girls have played against international teams on international teams of their own is what makes them those stars.
Rose is an Olympic Bronze medalist. The forward played for Canada in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. She scored the first point for the team in their bronze medal match against Brazil. Not only did she score the first point, but the then-17 year old was the youngest scorer in Olympic women’s soccer history.
Arujo, not to be outdone, played for Brazil in the 2016 Women’s Under-20 World Cup. Lais Arujo did more than play for them; she represented the team as their captain. The team made it to the quarterfinals that year.
This Year’s Recruits
All-in-all, it’s safe to say Becky Burleigh is looking forward to this year’s newest team members.
What she’s looking forward to most, though, is showing fans and other teams how these recruits and returning members can work together to prove that their just as good as last year’s team.
Welcome new #Gators
— Gators Soccer (@GatorsSoccer) February 10, 2017