San Jose, Calif. - One of the best junior college strikers in the west and two of Los Angeles' top high school players have signed a National Letter-of-Intent to compete for the San Jose State University's women's soccer program, head coach Jeff Leightman announced.
Community college standout Kareli Rodriguez from Santa Rosa Junior College; Carley McBeath, a midfielder from El Camino Real High School (Woodland Hills, Calif.); and midfielder Alexis Venegas, a Birmingham Community Charter (Lake Balboa, Calif.) High School senior will join the Spartans for the 2013 campaign.
Rodriguez was a second-team 2012 Junior College Women's Division III All-West Region honoree, the 2012 Big 8 Conference Player of the Year, and Santa Rosa Junior College's Most Valuable Player. She amassed 49 points (16 goals and 17 assists) in her two-year career. Last season, she led the Big 8 Conference in points (29), assists (11), and shots on goal (43) and was second in goal scoring (9).
"Kareli is a really dynamic striker," Leightman said. "She is a personality player on the attack, so she is someone we can let loose on defenses, which she will be able to slice and dice. She is also athletic and smart enough to play in other roles, as well."
McBeath was named first-team all-city her junior season after El Camino Real High won the Los Angeles city championship. El Camino Real lost one league game in her four seasons on the team, and won the 2010 and 2011 Division I CIF Championships.
"Carley is tactically-sophisticated playmaker who is at her best in either midfield or defensive center-mid, running the team," said Leightman. "She is very good at playing in a fast rhythm, slicing defenses apart with quality passing and playmaking. We look forward to her being involved in running our midfield."
Venegas led Birmingham Community Charter High in scoring her freshman, junior, and senior seasons. She was named to the Los Angeles Daily News' all-area second team her junior season after leading the West Valley League in scoring. In 2012-13, her final season, Venegas netted 25 points, which accounted for more than 1/3 of her team's total points scored.
Leightman said of Venegas, "She is an awesome player and person, and we have been amazed at how much she has improved over the past two years. She gives defenses fits because she can break them down in different ways with her athletic ability, or by hard work and determination."
A common theme throughout Leightman's 2013 recruiting class is each player's ability to drive through the opposing team's defense. "We always want players with an attacking mindset who love the ball and can be dynamic," he said. "We like that these three are playmakers who can set up for other dynamic players. Their athleticism and sophistication will fit in nicely with our team, and each of them have qualities that are constants of Spartan soccer."