Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Freshman Class Ranked Second By Soccer Buzz, Fifth By Soccer America

July 16, 2004

The Notre Dame women’s soccer program once again has added a recruiting class that ranks among the best in the nation. The Soccer Buzz women’s soccer website ranked Notre Dame’s incoming class as the second-best in the nation while Soccer America magazine has placed the Irish fifth on its list of the nation’s top 2004 classes.

The six Notre Dame letter-of-intent signees for the 2004 season include four highly-regarded forwards – Amanda Cinalli (Maple Heights, Ohio), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Susan Pinnick (South Bend, Ind.) and Jannica Tjeder (Espoo, Finland) – plus midfielder Ashley Jones (Westlake Village, Calif.) and goalkeeper Lauren Karas (Flower Mound, Texas). Hanks serves as captain of the United States Under-19 National Team while Cinalli and Pinnick have been members of the U.S. Under-17 National Team, with each of the above three players earning high school All-America honors. Each of the five U.S. signees is a member of her respective Olympic Development Regional team, with Karas formerly a member of the U.S. Under-16 National Team player pool while Jones is a member of the Southern California United club program that has been ranked No. 2 nationally among under-18 teams (behind the Dallas Texans club led by Hanks and Karas). Tjeder is one of the top young players in Finland, playing for her national under-21, u-19 and u-17 teams.

Notre Dame’s 2004 roster is comprised of some of the top-ranked recruiting classes during each of the fast four seasons. In fact, Notre Dame joins North Carolina and Virginia as the only teams to have their recruiting classes in the Soccer Buzz top 15 during each of the last four seasons (ND also was 14th in ’01, 9th in ’02 and 5th in ’03; UNC was 2nd-1st-6th-3rd from ’01-’04; and UVa 1st-3rd-11th-12th from ’01-’04). Notre Dame and UNC are the only teams to be in the Soccer Buzz top-15 classes every year since 1998, the first year of the SB recruiting class rankings (ND also was 11th in ’98, 4th in ’99 and 9th in ’00; UNC 2nd-1st-2nd from ’98-’00).

Soccer America has ranked the nation’s top 10 classes since 2002, with Notre Dame and UNC being the only teams that have been in the SA top 10 every year from ’02-’04 (ND’s classes also were ranked 9th by SA in ’02 and 5th in ’03, UNC 1st in ’02 and 6th in ’03). Notre Dame and Texas (3rd in ’03 and ’04) are the only teams to attract Soccer America top-5 classes in each of the last two seasons.

Soccer Buzz’s top-15 recruiting classes for 2004 are as follows: Texas A&M, ND, UNC, Penn State, Texas, Clemson, Portland, Maryland, Ohio State, Claifornia, Villanova, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois and Santa Clara. Soccer America’s top-10 list for ’04 includes A&M, UNC, Texas, PSU, ND, Nebraska, OSU, Portland, Florida and Cal.

Soccer America also has ranked the top 25 individual recruits for 2004 but (per NCAA rules) schools are not permitted at this time to release updated information about individual signees (this legislation will change on Aug. 1, at which time will include a complete update on the 2004 signees in various sports).

The official signing releases for Notre Dame’s incoming 2004 class are available via the news link on the women’s soccer page at (release dates of Feb. 10 and May 1). Excerpts that are reprinted from those releases are included below.

Look for plenty of news on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program in coming days, including: a preview of the team’s preseason trip to Campinas, Brazil (Aug. 10-19); an update on former ND stars Shannon Boxx and Kate Sobrero, who have been named to the elite 18-player roster for the U.S. team that will complete in the Athens Olympic Games; a visit with former ND All-American/Academic All-American Monica Gonzalez, who also is preparing for Athens as a leader of the Mexican National Team that upset Canada in Olympic qualifying; a look ahead to the Under-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27 in Thailand) that will feature several college players, including ND rising junior forward Katie Thorlakson with Canada (she will be available to play with Notre Dame throughout the 2004 regular season and could return as early as the ’04 NCAA quarterfinal round); an update on current and former ND players active in various summer soccer leagues, plus the annual “Where Are They Now?” update on all ND women’s soccer alums; preseason audio comments from head sixth-year ND head coach Randy Waldrum – and more (also look for plenty of daily offerings from the Brazil trip).

Here are excerpts reprinted from the previous Notre Dame 2004 signing releases:

“We fully expect these players to combine with our great group of returnees for a 2004 team that will contend for the national championship,” says Waldrum. “This is the first time in my 19 years of coaching that we made early identifications of the top five players in the nation and then signed each of those players. … We were able to fill the attacking voids left by the graduation of Amy Warner and Amanda Guertin while replacing the playmaking of Kim Carpenter. Amanda Cinalli, Susan Pinnick and Kerri Hanks are tremendous attacking players and Ashley Jones will give us that playmaking spark. We also added one of the best goalkeepers in the country by signing Lauren Karas. This helps solidify that position, as we now have three quality goalkeepers.”

Hanks is considered one of the nation’s top incoming recruits, after earning 2002 and ’03 All-America honors while starring the past two years with the U.S. Under-19 National Team. She also is a leading player for the nation’s No. 1-ranked club program and earned the Golden Boot top-scorer award at the 2003 USYSA national club championships, highlighted by her two-goal game in the Dallas Texans’ title-game win over Minnesota’s Tsunami Sota squad (2-0).

Tjedder was named the Veikkaus Oy player of the year after totaling 9 goals and 13 assists during 18 games played in the 2003 Finnish Women’s Championship Series (she scored 13 goals in ’02). A member of Finland’s under-17, u-19 and u-21 national team programs, she also has served as captain of her club team FC Espoo.

Cinalli is a three-year veteran of the U.S. soccer program, currently playing alongside Pinnick on the Under-17 National Team. A future hopeful for the U.S. Under-19 squad, she also has played alongside Pinnick on the ODP Region II team and is co-captain of the Cleveland Futbol Club that won the 2003 North Ohio state title. She earned 2003 All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) and was named state player of the year after a stellar senior season at Laurel High School, totaling 37 goals and 26 assists for that district championship squad.

Pinnick will remain close to home, following an impressive career at St. Joseph’s High School and with the Junior Irish and Carmel Commotion club programs. She has served as an outside midfielder and forward with the ODP Region II Team and helped lead the Indiana ODP squad to a third-place finish at the 2002 national tournament – in addition to playing a key role on the 2003 Carmel Commotion squad that went 33-4-3 in a national runner-up season. Most recently, Pinnick earned NSCAA All-America honors after totaling 28 goals and 10 assists for the St. Joseph’s team that reached the 2003 state title game.

The 5-foot-9 Karas has been a member of the ODP Region III team since 2000 and was slated to compete with the North Texas ODP squad as one of four teams at the 2004 national tournament (in Las Vegas during March of 2004), in addition to competing with the Dallas Texans club squad at the 2004 regional tournament. She owned a 0.40 goals-against average in 27 career game with the Texans while posting 34 shutouts in 67 career games at Flower Mound High School. Her career highlights include a shutout win over the U.S. Under-17 National Team (1-0) and a 2-1 win over the defending national club champion Sereno (Ariz.) Golden Eagles.

Jones is a member of the ODP Region IV team and helped the ODP Cal-South state team win 2004 regional ODP title (qualifying them for this summer’s four-team national tournament). She also is in her sixth season as a forward/midfielder with the Southern California United club program (currently No. 2 in the under-18 national rankings) and was on her way to leading Westlake High School to its fourth straight league title as the team’s leading scorer (10 goals, as of Feb. 10), after earning all-state honors as a junior.