ODP, Local Prospects In 2008 Women's Soccer Class

San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University women’s soccer program, under the direction of newly-appointed head coach Jeff Leightman, has announced the signing of eight top prospects to a National Letter-of-Intent for 2008.

Shanelle Furner, Kira Helmer, Kelsy Holm, Jessica Ingram, Amanda Martin, Lauren Sanchez, Angela Santoro and Jordan-Michelle Santos will be joining the Spartans for Leightman’s first year in charge. Furner, Ingram, Martin, Sanchez and Santoro are all currently at Bay Area high schools, with three of them natives of San Jose. Helmer, Holm and Santos are at Southern California high schools. Ingram, Martin and Santos all have Olympic Development Program (ODP) experience, with Martin reaching the highest level, up to the Region IV team, this year.

Said San Jose State assistant coach Craig Winans about the group, “It’s a very solid class all the way around, not just athletically, but academically as well. They are all excited about starting here in the fall and we feel that they should contribute right away. I think that they will all fight for playing time quickly.”

Furner is out of San Carlos, Calif., and Carlmont High School. The four-year varsity letterwinner and senior captain was recently named the Midfielder of the Year of the Bay Division of the Peninsula Athletic League, as well as a first-team All-PAL honoree. She was a second-team All-PAL pick as a junior, and first-team selection her first two years. Furner, who also picked up All-Central Coast Section honorable mention one year, helped lead Carlmont to three Bay Division titles and one runner-up placement, alongside a pair of CCS Division I crowns in 2004 and 2005 and two semifinal runs her last two seasons under head coach Jim Kelly.

At the club level, Furner was a three-time State Cup finalist in 2003-05 with the De Anza Strykers under head coach Bob Joyce, and was invited to the Super Y-League ODP National Camp in Florida in 2006.

“Shanelle is a central midfielder who plays her club soccer for the De Anza Strykers,” said Winans. “She’s fast, strong, good in the air and has great endurance.”

Helmer, a midfielder out of Mission Viejo, Calif., plays her club soccer for SC Blues (Coach Larry Draluck), with whom she won a national title. She is a three-year letterwinner in both soccer (Coach Susie Daher) and track and field at Mission Viejo High School.

“She’s a midfielder who plays on the flanks,” remarked Winans. “Kira plays for one of the top club teams in Southern California, SoCal Blues. She has great speed, really strong technical ability and also really good endurance. She can go from 18 (-yard box) to 18 (-yard box).”

Holm is a defender and midfielder out of Alta Loma, Calif., and Los Osos High School. She plays her club soccer for Arsenal FC Premier for Roland Sandquist. She began playing for Arsenal at the age of 10, progressing from the bronze level to premier and serving as a team captain for five years. She has lettered all four years in soccer at Los Osos for head coach Joe Klum. As a team captain in her senior season, she helped lead Los Osos to the 2008 Baseline League title and a CIF Division I section playoff appearance. Holm was voted Most Inspirational by teammates as a junior. Los Osos reached the CIF quarterfinal round in her sophomore year.

“Kelsey plays in central defense and central midfield. She is strong, good in the air and tracks opposing players well. We really look forward to having her here.”

San Jose product Ingram is currently at nearby Santa Teresa High School. At the club level, she previously played for the De Anza Strykers with current Spartan Stephanie Righetti under Righetti’s father, Steve. The Strykers were Cal North State Cup U-13 finalists in 2003. Ingram most recently has competed for arguably the top club program in Northern California in MVLA Mercury for head coach Albertin Montoya. With MVLA, currently ranked second in Cal North, Ingram won three consecutive Cal North State Cup championships between 2004-06, earning trips to the Far West Regional semifinals in 2004 and 2006 and a finals berth in 2005.

Ingram played on the Cal-North state ODP squad in 2003-04 and was a state ODP invitee in subsequent years. She competed on the district team in 2003-04 and 2005-06.

Ingram was a starter as a freshman for the Central Coast Section finalist Saints (Co-Coaches Steve Sellers and Anna Thomas). She earned first-team all-league and team Most Valuable Player honors for the CCS quarterfinalists as a sophomore starter. As a starter and team captain in her junior year, Ingram was the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division MVP, an All-BVAL first team and an All-CCS second team pick. Santa Teresa was a CCS semifinalist. She played with current Spartan Lauren Ng-Pinkerton her first three years.

“Jessica Ingram can play anywhere in the back, as well as in central midfield,” said Winans. “She is a hard-nosed player who doesn’t give up. She is going to fight for a position really quickly”

Martin is a defender out of Fremont, Calif., and will be a third Spartan on the 2008 roster from Saint Francis High School, alongside senior-to-be Liz Behlen and sophomore-to-be Danielle Drago. Martin was a Region IV ODP participant this past year after previously playing for the Cal-North state ODP squad in 2006 and the District II team in 2005. She is a third-year member of the varsity team, having played two of those seasons with Drago for head coach Dawn Hill and assistant coach Stacie Alberico, formerly a two-time all-region selection and Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year for San Jose State as Stacie Savage in 1996-97.

Martin, who earlier this week guided Saint Francis to the CCS Division I title with a 2-0 victory in the final against Los Gatos, was a two-time All-West Catholic Athletic League second-team selection heading into this season. She helped Saint Francis to a WCAL co-championship and the CCS Division II finals as a sophomore, and the CCS Division II semifinals as a junior.

Martin has played her club soccer most recently for the Central Valley (CV) Mercury 90 (Coach Edd Villapando) in 2004-05, Mountain View Los Altos (MVLA) Mercury 90 (Coach Alberto Montoya) in 2006 and the De Anza Force 90 Blue (Coach Adrian Fass) in 2007-08. She has one Cal North State Cup title (2004) and one US Club Soccer national title (2005) to her credit.

“Amanda plays left back. She’s left-footed, and a Region IV (ODP) player. She’s quick, hard-nosed, tenacious, and never gives up. Once she wins the ball, she’s got good technical ability to get the ball forward. She can make runs up the flanks or find her teammates.”

Sanchez is a San Jose native currently at Archbishop Mitty High School. She played two years of varsity soccer at Mitty for head coach J.T. Hanley, and was part of one CCS championship squad. Sanchez played her club soccer for the Los Gatos Lock, rated fourth in Northern California and 16th regionally by NationalSoccerRanking.com, under head coach Joan Meulman. The Lock produced a third-place showing at State Cup.

“Lauren is most comfortable playing in midfield. She is very strong physically and battles for every ball. She can hold off players and win balls. She has good speed and a nose for the goal.”

Santoro just finished her senior season at nearby Leigh High School, where she played four years of varsity soccer, the previous three with current Spartan Kim Johnston under head coach Michele Kennedy. The top-seeded, league champion Longhorns fell 2-1 in overtime to Furner’s Carlmont squad in the CCS Division I quarterfinals in February. Santoro was the All-Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division Junior of the Year and first-team All-BVAL pick a year ago, and a second-team All-BVAL Mt. Hamilton Division selection her first two years.

Like Sanchez, Santoro played her club soccer for Joan Meulman with the Los Gatos Lock, reaching the State Cup semifinals.

“Angela is a back, a central defender, primarily, but could see time as an outside back as well. She has a very calming influence on the defense. She is good in the air, and is able to read the attack and deny her opponent from getting forward. She positions herself well, looks to intercept the ball and after winning it, can find her teammates.”

Santos is the lone goalkeeper among the group, from Cypress, Calif., and Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School. A two-year varsity player for head coach Steve Solar, she led Los Alamitos to the 2007 Excalibur Tournament championship with five consecutive shutouts, including one victory through a penalty kick tiebreaker, and the 2007 Sunset League title.

For Olympic Development Program experience, Santos played for the Cal-South state ODP team and was among the Region IV player pool. She played her club soccer for the Fullerton Rangers under head coach Demian Brown. The Rangers were the 2007 Cal-South National Cup finalists.

“Jordan-Michelle is an excellent goalkeeper from Southern California. She is considered one of the top three goalkeepers from Southern California (this year). She has played on the state Olympic Development Program team for Cal-South. She controls her defense excellently, and is extremely vocal. She is one of the best young goalkeepers that we have seen, and will definitely have a shot at significant time this next year.”

In addition to the eight NLI signees, the Spartans also added a junior college walk-on in Emily Belding. A native of Santa Cruz, Calif., Belding transferred from Cabrillo College. She is currently enrolled at San Jose State and participating in spring training.

Said Winans, “Emmy is a local player who spent the last two years at Cabrillo College. She scored 28 goals as a forward this last year and was voted the conference MVP. She’s fast, strong, can hold off players and has a nose for the goal.”

San Jose State officially began the spring season on Saturday, March 1, and will have several competition dates in the month of April. The full schedule will be announced at a later date.

2008 San Jose State University Women’s Soccer Signees

Name    Pos. Ht. Hometown/Last School
Shanelle Furner  MF 5-6 San Carlos, Calif./Carlmont HS
Kira Helmer   MF 5-9 Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo HS
Kelsy Holm   D/MF 5-8 Alta Loma, Calif./Los Osos HS
Jessica Ingram  D/MF 5-9 San Jose, Calif./Santa Teresa HS
Amanda Martin  D 5-2 Fremont, Calif./Saint Francis HS
Lauren Sanchez  MF 5-7 San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty HS
Angela Santoro  D 5-8 San Jose, Calif./Leigh HS
Jordan-Michelle Santos GK 5-9 Cypress, Calif./Los Alamitos HS