ELLENSBURG, WA–– (school release) Central Washington University head soccer coach Michael Farrand is excited to announce the signing of six players to the Wildcats’ squad for 2016. All seven are from the state of Washington..
“Overall we are very excited about this class,” Farrand said. “While the 2016 class is not big in terms of number of signees, they have great potential to continue to help us continue to build a quality program that can compete for a GNAC Championship and NCAA regional berth.”
Alyssa Beach – 5’7″ – Outside Defender
Alyssa Beach is a 5-foot-7 Bremerton High product. Beach was a four-year letter winner for Bremerton and was twice named a 1st Team All-League selection in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 she was named to the All-West Sound Girls Soccer Team. Beach was also a four-year letter winner in basketball at Bremerton High.
“She is one of the most physical players we have had the chance to recruit,” Farrand said. “Alyssa combines excellent speed and has the ability to get forward and be a part of the attacking side of things. She has excellent height and is a tremendous competitor.”
Kelsey Bechtholdt – 5’8″ – Goalkeeper
Kelsey Bechtholdt is a 5-foot-8 goalkeeper from Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, Washington. A versatile four-year starter for Granite Falls, Bechtholdt earned seven clean sheets during her senior campaign, helping guide her squad to a district tournament appearance. Bechtholdt tallied seven goals and five assists her junior season as an outfield player. She was a dual sport athlete at Granite Falls, earning two conference appearances in softball. Bechtholdt is a National Honor Society member.
“Our first initial signing for goalkeeper position in 2016,” Farrand said. “She has good size and fits our profile very well. More importantly she can play with her feet so we can attack with her out of the back. She shows great distribution skills and we look forward to an exciting future with her.”
Taylor Karnes – 5’7″ – Midfielder
Taylor Karnes is a 5-foot-7 midfielder from West Valley High School in Yakima, Washington. Karnes helped lead her squad to three state championships in 2012, 2013, and 2015. The central midfielder was named an all-league player all four years of her high school career, including a pair of first-team honors her junior and senior seasons. She also helped guide her club team, G96 Navy, to the WSPL League and State Championship in the 2013-14 season.
“We were fortunate to have been able to see Taylor as a player starting at the age of 12,” Farrand said. “Her development from the youth age through high school has been tremendous. She can shoot from range, tackles well, and compliments that with excellent vision and passing skills. At West Valley she did appear in multiple WIAA state championships.”
Keeley Phommathirath – 5’8″ – Midfielder
Keeley Phommathirath is a 5-foot-8 forward from Kent-Meridian High School. The Kent, Washington product was a four-year starter at Kent-Meridian and led her squad in scoring each season. Phommathirath was twice named a SPSL All-League Second Team player. She was also the starting forward for the Seattle United Copa (RCL Division 1) club team. Aside from her soccer career, Phommathirath was an All-State track and field competitor in the 100-metre dash, high jump, and 4×100-metre relay.
“Keeley is an outside midfielder that is very fast, attacks well from the outside, and has shown an ability to get behind the line of defense,” Farrand said. “She also has a very long throw in, which allows will allow us to attack the penalty box much like we would on a corner kick.”
Amanda Price – 5’3″ – Forward
Amanda Price is a 5-foot-3 forward from Black Diamond, Washington. The Kentlake High School product tallied 10 goals and seven assists during the 2015 campaign for Kentlake. She is a three-time SPSL All-League Second Team selection and, in 2015, she was named the Offensive Player of the Year. During her freshman campaign, Price was named an All-League Honorable Mention. She is a member of the National Honors Society.
“Amanda is a very good attacking player with a solid shot and an excellent feel for the game,” Farrand said. “She can find space in and around the box to pass or shoot on goal. She has range, tackles well, and compliments that with excellent vision and passing skills.”
Michaela Wallitner – 5’5″ – Midfielder
Michaela Wallitner is a 5-foot-5 product of Central Kitsap High School. While at Central Kitsap, Wallitner was a 3A Narrows League First Team Selection and the 2015 Most Valuable Offensive Player, tallying 16 goals and nine assists. She helped guide her side to a Narrows League District Championship. Wallitner also earnred WIAA Outstanding Scholastic Award honors. She is a Distinguished Scholar and member of the National Honors Society.
“Michaela is truly one of the better attacking players in her age group,” Farrand said. “She has the vision to see the game and the ability to connect passes that are both well weighted and timed correctly.”
The Wildcats look to build on their late season success in the 2015 season and make a return to the GNAC postseason in 2016