JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville University women's soccer team added eight freshmen to its class of 2020 Thursday, and the group has a true continental feel.
Maya Fisher (Buchholz High School / Gainesville, Fla.), Kacie Patterson (JW Mitchell High School, Tampa, Fla.) and Kirstin Weed (Mandarin High School / Jacksonville, Fla.) add to an already strong group of returning Floridians.
Rachel Henry (Halifax West High School / Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) joins five of her Canadian compatriots, and Danielle Henry (University City High School, San Diego, Calif.) and Kayla King (San Benito High School / Hollister, Calif.) add a west coast flare.
Micaela (Mica) MacKay (Bishop Lynch High School / Dallas, Texas) joins from the soccer hot bed of the Lone Star State and Zoe Zinis (Broomfield High School / Broomfield, Colo.) rounds out the class of 2020 from the chilly mountains of Colorado.
"We are extremely excited about the class we have put together," said Head Coach Brian Copham. "We have a group of players that will come in and compete at every position on the field. We have a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and forwards, and all will immediately make an impact and help us in preparation to compete for a conference championship."
Fisher is an attacking midfield player who has played a big part in Buchholz's recent successes, assisting the team to an FHSAA 5A state quarterfinals appearance in 2016. Fisher also plays for the nationally-ranked Jacksonville Football Club (JFC) U18 ECNL club team along with the U18 Gainesville Soccer Alliance, and has been selected for the Florida Olympic Development (ODP) team.
During her sophomore year, Fisher was accepted into the prestigious Mount Grammar School in Auckland, New Zealand, where she helped the ladies team win the school's first New Zealand Secondary Schools Championship. In the classroom, Fisher is an AB Honor Roll student and tutors her peers in anatomy, physiology, pre-calculus and calculus. She is also a volunteer soccer coach for the Gainesville Soccer Alliance.
Copham on Fisher: "Maya brings an exceptional technical ability on the ball and a competitive attitude that will help her succeed. She has the ability to play any of the midfield or attacking positions and will compete right away upon her arrival on campus."
Danielle Henry, a sturdy and composed center back, has been named All-Western Second Team All-Conference and team captain at University City High School. Her athletic achievements are paired with phenomenal work in the classroom as she earned a place on the San Diego Union Tribune's All-Academic Team. Henry has also been an integral cog in her SoCal Blues ECNL squad, helping lead the team to the ECNL North American playoffs the past two seasons, and qualifying from the highly competitive ECNL Southwest Conference.
Copham said of Henry: "Danielle is a talented defender. She reads the game well and does a great job starting the attack upon winning the ball. She has played against some of the best attacking players in the country with her SoCal Blues team and we value that high level experience and competitiveness.
Halifax West HS product Rachel Henry adds a proven goal scorer to the 2016 class. On the field, Henry is a member of EXCEL/REX program that is run by the Canadian National Soccer Team staff and Soccer Nova Scotia. She has represented Nova Scotia at the provincial level and has helped her provincial team to two gold and two silver medals in the Canadian Atlantic Championships.
Henry plays club soccer for Halifax County United (HCU). While playing for HCU, she has helped her team represent Nova Scotia in three Canadian Club National Championships, finishing fourth in 2014. She has earned the Soccer Nova Scotia Golden Boot (leading goal scorer) for the past two seasons. At Halifax West, she was named girls' soccer Rookie of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year. In the classroom, Henry has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school.
Copham on Henry: "Rachel is an excellent forward. She has a great combination of pace, guile and work ethic along with the commitment to put herself into good goal scoring positions. Her international pedigree and experience will help her make a successful transition to the college game and we are looking for Rachel to come in and help bolster our attack."
King is a talented and versatile player. She plays her club soccer for the De Anza Force U18 ECNL squad where she has been the team captain for three years. Her leadership on and off the field has helped lead her De Anza Force team to multiple tournament championships, ECNL playoff appearances and a ranking of 11th in the country. As a varsity player at San Benito HS, she was named first team all-conference during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
King also enjoys giving back to the sport that she loves through coaching and mentoring young players in her community.
Copham on King: "Kayla is an excellent defender and all around soccer player. She has played in almost every position on the field and in many different tactical formations with her De Anza Force team. Her versatility will allow her to compete at a number of positons on the field."
MacKay is the starting goalkeeper for both the D'Feeters Soccer Club ECNL team and Bishop Lynch HS. She was named to the 2015 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) All State Team after leading her high school side to the TAPPS 5A State Title, upsetting perennial champions Ursuline Academy in the finals. She was also named to the 2014 and 2015 TAPPS District 1-5A First Team. She is a four-year varsity starter and has been the starting goalkeeper for the D'Feeters for the past two years. Previous to her time with the D'Feeters, Mica was the starting goalkeeper for the Dallas Texans ECNL squad, helping lead the Texans to a Fourth Place finish in the ECNL National Championships.
Off the field, MacKay is an A-Honor Roll student and a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society and the National Honor Society. She also volunteers as a mentor at the Head Start School of Greater Dallas.
Copham had this to say about MacKay: "Mica is a talented goalkeeper. She has been an integral cog to both her high school and club teams' successes on the field. We are looking forward to her making our excellent goalkeeping unit even stronger and more competitive."
As a member of the Tampa Bay United Premier 98 club team, Patterson, a center midfielder, has helped TBU to a top 10 national ranking, winning the Florida State Cup in 2015. She also excels in the classroom. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Mathematics Honor Society and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America. Patterson has been an honor roll student throughout high school and is also an active volunteer with the YMCA, the Special Olympics and with many hospice facilities in the Tampa area.
Copham on Kacie, "She is a very technically proficient player. She has a knack for helping her team keep possession by playing the correct pass and the correct time. Her ability to keep the ball under pressure will help us create goal scoring chances."
A local product from Mandarin HS, Weed has been the leading varsity goal scorer since her sophomore season. She has 98 career goals for the Mustangs putting her on the top 10 all-time goal scorers list at Mandarin. She has been recognized as a four-year All-District Team member as well as a four-year All-State Team member. She was also named MVP of North Florida High School Soccer during her junior year.
Weed plays club soccer for the Florida Elite Soccer Association where she has helped her squad to a Round of 16 appearance in the 2015 Florida State Cup. Away from the soccer field, Kirstin works as a junior councilor for the StrongRock camp and with the Church of Windy Hill.
Copham on Weed, "Kirstin brings a strong work ethic and athleticism that will help her excel in our attack. Her successes on the field are created by her incredible drive and work rate on the field. We are looking forward to her bolstering our attack in the fall."
Zinis is a defensive minded player. As a varsity player at Broomfield HS, she was named to the 2015 Front Range League First Team and helped the Eagles to the Colorado 4A State Finals along with an NSCAA National ranking of 17th in the country. Zinis plays club soccer for the Colorado Rush ECNL team. She helped the Rush qualify for the ECNL North American League Playoffs in 2015.
Off the field, she was named an Academic All-American in 2014 and 2015. She also volunteers for her church, and serves many different organizations including Project Mexico and the Denver Rescue Mission where she serves hot meals to the less fortunate.
Copham said of Zinis: "Zoe is an excellent player. She has the ability to play across the back line and to push forward into the midfield. She plays with high energy and will bring that energy to the field for the Dolphins to help the team succeed."