Women's Soccer Signs Three Top Local Prospects

San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University head women’s soccer coach Dave Siracusa has announced the signing of three top local prospects to a National Letter-of-Intent for 2007, with two of them the “Senior of the Year” in their respective leagues this season.

Danielle Drago, Lauren Ng-Pinkerton and Stephanie Righetti will be joining Siracusa’s Spartans for the 2007 campaign. All three are currently at area high schools, with Drago at Saint Francis, Ng-Pinkerton at Santa Teresa and Righetti at Pioneer. Righetti was part of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Cal-North state team from 2003-05.

“It’s a small class,” says Siracusa. “We only lost three seniors (tri-captains Nicole Martinez, Cristin Murphy and Cynthia Pinkney). I think it’s a quality class. It’s not a quantity class. It fills specific needs on all three lines (defenders, midfield players and forwards). All three players are Northern California girls, and they are all local. We always want the good players from around here to stay local with us. It’s nice that we are making a name within the community, and that they are staying.”

Danielle Drago is a forward who was a three-year varsity player under head coach Dawn Hill at Saint Francis in Mountain View. As a sophomore, she helped Saint Francis to the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) title. As a junior, Drago was a first-team all-league and second-team All-Central Coast Section selection as Saint Francis won a second straight WCAL crown and advanced to the CCS finals. A team captain as a senior, she earned WCAL “Senior of the Year” and first-team All-WCAL honors, leading the WCAL with 13 league goals among her 16 total strikes. She assisted on five others. Drago attended the Super Y-League Olympic Development Program (ODP) National Camp in Tampa, Fla., earlier this year.

Commented Siracusa, “Danielle Drago is a goal-scorer. She plays up top. She holds the ball well and can shoot with both feet. She’s got an extremely high work rate. We look to have her contribute right away. She’s just a pure goal-scorer.

“We’re having quite a connection with the West Catholic Athletic League. (Current sophomore) Liz Behlen played at Saint Francis, and we are looking at a few more players from that league. It is a nice relationship that we have with them.”

Lauren Ng-Pinkerton joins her older sister, Erica Ng-Pinkerton, who will be a fourth-year senior on the 2007 Spartan women’s soccer team. Both attended San Jose’s Santa Teresa High School, with Lauren playing under co-coaches Steve Sellars and Anna Thomas. A four-year varsity starter and scholar-athlete, Ng-Pinkerton was a first-team All-Blossom Valley Athletic League selection for the Mt. Hamilton Division as a senior in 2006. She helped Santa Teresa to an undefeated league season at 11-0-3 and a division title while playing in central midfield for the Saints. The two-year varsity captain earned All-BVAL second-team recognition as a sophomore. At the club level, Ng-Pinkerton plays for the SASC Phoenix, the Super Y-League state champions in 2005.

Says Siracusa, “Lauren is a left-footed player. She’s an outside back. She’s technical. She understands the game and makes good decisions. She’s fast. She actually has a wide array of technical skills to apply to the game.”

Stephanie Righetti was the “Senior of the Year” in the Mt. Hamilton Division of the Blossom Valley Athletic League as a member of the Pioneer High School soccer team under head coach Randy Worthington. The Righetti-led Mustangs finished second with an 8-5-1 league record behind soon-to-be-teammate Ng-Pinkerton and Santa Teresa this season. A two-time team captain, Righetti also captained her side at the BVAL Senior Showcase at Piedmont Hills High School. The four-time first-team all-league pick was also the “Sophomore of the Year” and the “Junior of the Year” in the BVAL, as well as a second-team All-Central Coast Section honoree as a junior. She is the niece of former Major League Baseball All-Star and current San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, and the daughter of former professional baseball player Steve Righetti.

“We look at Stephanie as an outside midfielder, but she can also play forward” says Siracusa. “She, too, can score goals. She is a player that can go from 18 (-yard box) to 18 (-yard box). She’s strong, fast and skilled. She plays on one of the best club teams in California, MVLA (Mountain View-Los Altos Soccer Club). We’re expecting her to fill a hole right away.”

San Jose State finished the 2006 season with a record of 7-11-3, improving its overall win total for the third straight year since Siracusa took over as head coach. The Spartans posted a league record of 4-2-1 for the second year in a row, matching their most-ever single-season Western Athletic Conference wins. They advanced past Boise State via a penalty kick tiebreaker and into the WAC Tournament semifinals against defending tournament champion Fresno State, dropping a heartbreaking 1-0 decision in double overtime in Reno, Nev.

2007 San Jose State University Women’s Soccer Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Hometown/Last School
Danielle Drago F 5-4 Mountain View, Calif./Saint Francis HS
Lauren Ng-Pinkerton D 5-6 San Jose, Calif./Santa Teresa HS
Stephanie Righetti MF/F 5-7 San Jose, Calif./Pioneer HS