10 Nov Women’s Soccer Announces 2022 Signing Class
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s soccer head coach Shelley Smith announced the addition of 10 student-athletes to compete for the Gamecocks beginning with the 2022 season. The signing class was ranked in the top-10 by Top Drawer Soccer.
The 2022 signing class includes: Kinley Brown (St. Charles, Mo./ St. Louis ECNL Navy), Micah Bryant (Stone Mountain, Ga./ GSA Club), Emily Chico (Wyckoff, N.J./Players Development Academy), Dru Drake (Centreville, Va./ TSJ FC Virginia), Gracie Falla (Hattiesburg, Miss./Alabama Futbol Club), Maria Kemp (Johns Creek, Ga./Concorde Fire), Kayla Magee (Myrtle Beach, S.C./ Wilmington Hammerheads FC), Shay Montgomery (Arlington, Va./ Virginia Development Academy), Shae O’Rourke (Wheatfield, N.Y./ Western New York Flash Academy), and Christina Tsaousis (Tarpon Springs, Fla./Tampa Bay United).
“We are very excited about this class and the potential they have to do great things here at South Carolina,” Smith said. “We have maintained a high level of success over the years because of the student-athletes that continue to be a part of the program here, and the type of people that make up our team culture. This group has the talent and ability to raise the bar even higher and will really complement the returning players well next fall. We all look forward to welcoming them as they officially become a part of Carolina soccer!”
Name: Kinley Brown
Hometown: St. Charles, Missouri
Club: St. Louis ECNL Navy
Bio: Brown received an invitation to train with U.S. Soccer and was selected for the U19 Women’s National Team Virtual Camp in 2021. She also participated in the Youth National Team Regional ID camp. She has led her club to the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) national playoffs four out of the last five years, including an appearance in the National Finals in 2019. In 2019 Brown competed in the ECNL National Selection Game along with being invited to the ECNL Conference Selection Program. She was named ECNL Midwest All-Conference in 2017 and 2018. Brown was invited to attend the ID2 National Training Camps in 2017, 2018, and 2019. In the classroom, she is an Honor Roll student and a member of the National Honor Society. Her father Michael played baseball collegiately and her mother Amy ran cross country and track as Missouri State.
Why she chose South Carolina: From the first moment I visited, I fell in love with the environment, the team, the coaches, the facilities, and most importantly the devoted soccer community. The fans support makes an amazing atmosphere to compete in. I am so blessed to have been welcomed so willingly by Coach Shelley, Jamie, and Marnie. They showed me they promote so many family values and a commitment to loving the game and allowing me to compete at a high level for the game I love to play. Not only do I see myself having a bright and passionate future being a Gamecock, but they do as well, that’s why I chose Columbia, and the University of South Carolina as my new home!
Name: Micah Bryant
Hometown: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Club: Gwinnett Soccer Academy
Bio: Bryant was selected to play for the Regional U.S. Olympic Development Program team in Barcelona, Spain. She was selected to participate in the U.S. National Training Camp and US Club Soccer’s Player Development Program. In 2019 she helped lead her club team to an ECNL national championship and a state championship. She was named to the ECNL All-Star Team. As a member of her high school program, Greater Atlanta Christian, Bryant was named the Georgia Player of the Year in 2021. She was a four-time All-County selection and named the Golden Boot Award winner. For the past three seasons she has led her team in both goals and assists. Bryant is also a standout on the track, qualifying for state in the 400m.
Why she chose South Carolina: The University of South Carolina has one of the best business schools in the country and I’ve always wanted to compete on a competitive collegiate soccer team.
Name: Emily Chico
Hometown: Wyckoff, New Jersey
Club: Players Development Academy
Bio: Chico was recently selected to play in the Girls High School All-American game that will take place December 11. She was twice named to the ECNL National Showcase Best XI. Her PDA club team advanced to the national semifinals in 2021 and quarterfinals in 2019. She played four years on the varsity team at Ramapo High School and was a captain her senior season. She has been named All-State, All-Conference, and All-County. Chico also excels in the classroom where she has been named to the High Honor Roll each year. Her sister Nicky plays soccer at Duke.
Why she chose South Carolina: I love the atmosphere it brings, especially the coaches. The coaching staff was very high on my list along with a family environment. This defines South Carolina. I love how they teach and bring out the best qualities in their players but still with the ability to have fun. It is an outstanding soccer program all around and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.
Name: Dru Drake
Hometown: Centreville, Virginia
Club: TSJ FC Virginia
Bio: Drake was selected for the U18/U19 Women’s National Team Virtual Camp in 2021. She was also selected to participate in the Girls Academy League Mid Atlantic Talent ID camp and the Youth National Team New Jersey Regional ID camp this past summer. For the past four years she has been invited to attend U.S. Soccer National Identification Centers. In 2020 she participated in the Washington Spirit ADP Event. With her club program, Drake was a national finalist in 2021 in addition to being three-time National Playoff qualifiers. She is a three-time conference champion and two-time WAGS Champion. Drake is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Both her parents played soccer collegiately and in the professional ranks. Her father Rob played at Wright State and then four seasons professionally between the Dayton Dynamo (NPSL) and New Orleans (A-League). Her mother Diane played at Dayton and six professional seasons with the Raleigh Wings (USISL) and Maryland Pride (WPSL). Diane was the head women’s soccer coach at Georgetown and George Mason for over 15 years and now works with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Why she chose South Carolina: It was a perfect fit on and off the field. I felt the coaching staff utilized my position as an attacking outside back. The family-like team culture as well as the outstanding athletic facilities and luxuries are also what attracted me to become a Gamecock.
Name: Gracie Falla
Hometown: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Club: Alabama Futbol Club
Bio: Falla helped lead her high school team at Sacred Heart Catholic to three Mississippi State Championships (2017-19). Last season she was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Region Team. She was selected to participate in the Mississippi All-Star game in 2020 and 2021. Falla is a three-time Clarion Ledger All-State Team honoree. During club season, she was named to the ECNL Southeastern Conference Team. She was also a standout on the basketball court, being named the District Most Valuable Player in 2021 and participating in the Mississippi All-Star Game. Off the field, Falla is an Honor Roll student and a member of the choir, Beta Club and Campus Ministry. Her uncle played football at LSU in the mid-80’s, while her brother Grant played soccer at Mississippi College and sister Gabby played at East Central Community College.
Why she chose South Carolina: It has the whole package! It’s a great college town with good food, killer sports, unending outdoor activities, and of course the best women’s soccer program!
Name: Maria Kemp
Hometown: Johns Creek, Georgia
Club: Concorde Fire
Bio: Kemp was named to the U.S. Soccer U19/U20 National Team Pool. Last season she was named the ECNL Southeast Conference U18/U19 Player of the Year and was named an ECNL All-American. She also helped lead her club to the ECNL Southeast championship. In 2019, Kemp was named to the Southeast U17 All-Conference First Team. During the high school season for Northview, she helped lead the team to the Elite Eight last season. For her efforts she was named to the All-Region Second Team. Kemp has been on the academic Honor Roll each year.
Why she chose South Carolina: As soon as I stepped on campus, it felt like home. The culture that coach Shelley and coach Jamie have cultivated is second to none, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Name: Kayla Magee
Hometown: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Club: Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Bio: Magee named an ECNL Player to Watch in both 2018 and 2019. Helped her club team qualify for the North American Cup in 2018 and 2019. In 2018 she also won the Georgia State Cup. She was a member of the 2017 WAGS Championship squad. Magee was selected to participate in the South Carolina Olympic Development Program from 2014-16. She has been an A-Honor Roll student each of the last three years. Her father Skylor was a graduate assistant football coach for the Gamecocks in 2005 and is currently the defensive line coach for Coastal Carolina. Her mother Leslie played collegiate soccer at Auburn and Southern Miss.
Why she chose South Carolina: I fell in love with the culture that coach Shelley and Jamie have established within the team. It’s the type of culture that pushes you to become the best version of yourself every day while still having the comfort of being surrounded by what feels like a second family. From the moment I first walked on campus, I knew it was an environment that I would thrive in, both academically and athletically.
Name: Shay Montgomery
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Club: Virginia Development Academy
Bio: Montgomery was named the 2020-21 Gatorade Virginia Girls Soccer Player of the Year after scoring 20 goals and notching 12 assists for Yorktown High School. Last season she was also named All-State, All-Region, and All-Conference. She helped lead her club team to three Mid Atlantic Conference Championships and three ECNL Champions League appearances. She was named the ECNL Mid-Atlantic Conference Player of the year and was a two-time ECNL All-Conference selection. Montgomery was invited to participate in the US Club Soccer’s Player Development Program. She was also selected for the Virginia State Olympic Development Program and ECNL Conference Selection Program.
Why she chose South Carolina: The sense of family on the team and with the coaching staff. The consistently high level of championship play in the SEC, the honors college, and the amazing campus and atmosphere.
Name: Shae O’Rourke
Hometown: Wheatfield, New York
Club: Western New York Flash Academy
Bio: O’Rourke was selected for the U18 Women’s National Team Virtual Camp in 2021. In each of the last three years she has been invited to the U.S Soccer Training Center. O’Rourke was named the 2020-21 Gatorade New York Girls Soccer Player of the Year after scoring 39 goals with eight assists. Additionally, she was named the USA Today New York State Female Athlete of the Year, USA Today New York State Soccer Player of the Year, and an All-American. She was the Western New York Player of the Year, the Class C Player of the Year, the Monsignor Martin Player of the Year, the Section 6 Player of the Year, and was the Monsignor Martin Championships Most Valuable Player. O’Rourke is a three-time Monsignor Martin Player of the Year and Monsignor Martin All-Catholic Division selection. She has also twice been named the All-Western New York Player of the Year. She has led her St. Mary’s squad to a pair of Monsignor Martin Athletic Association Championships in 2019 and 2021. For her high school career, she has scored 135 goals and dished out 43 assists. During club season last year, she led her squad to the U-17 ECNL North American Cup Championship. She was twice named to the ECNL Ohio Valley All-Conference Team. In 2019, she was named to the ECNL Top XI and participated in the ECNL National Selection Game. In the classroom, O’Rourke has been on the Dean’s List each year and is a member of the National Honor Society. When not playing soccer, she also spends time volunteering as a Retreat Peer Minister, with Camp Good Days, and is on the board for Special Olympics. Her parents Barb and Terry both played soccer and hockey collegiately at Niagara, respectively. Her uncle Moe also played hockey at Niagara.
Why she chose South Carolina: I knew it was the right place for me. The first time I stepped on campus I knew I loved everything about it. The atmosphere and vibe it gave me is what sold me. But the thing that gravitated me the most to South Carolina was the coaches. The coaches are so supportive and enjoy soccer just as much as the players. I love how they can be serious, but also make soccer fun. Overall, the campus and coaches are such a big reason why I chose South Carolina.
Name: Christina Tsaousis
Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida
Club: Tampa Bay United
Bio: Tsaousis was selected for the U18 Women’s National Team Virtual Camp in 2021. She was also selected to attend the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team Regional Identification Center. From 2016-19 she was invited to attend U.S. Soccer National Identification Centers. In 2020, Tsaousis was named to the ECNL Southeast Conference Selection Program. She was named to the U-17 ECNL Southeast All-Conference First Team and the U-15 ECNL Southeast All-Conference Team. In the classroom she has been named to the Honor Roll and is a member of the National Junior Honors Society.
Why she chose South Carolina: How family oriented and competitive the program is. Each time I would step on campus, I felt like I was home. The way that the coaches and players treated me just amplified that feeling even more. The program speaks for itself in regards to why I chose it. The environment that is created each day in training is very positive and competitive, and the players and coaches all hold each other to a high standard. The incredible support that women’s soccer receives at Stone Stadium proved to me that this program was highly competitive but also popular and loved within the community. I knew that South Carolina was going to be the best fit for me because it is a place that I can not only grow as a soccer player, but grow academically and personally.
For the latest on women’s soccer, visit GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockWSoccer, Facebook /GamecockWSoccer, and Instagram @GamecockWSoccer.
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