Feb. 11, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. – After recording an eighth-straight season with at least nine victories and reaching the Conference USA Championship semifinals in 2013, East Carolina Head Coach Rob Donnenwirth announced the team’s 2014 signing class Tuesday afternoon.
The Pirates will welcome nine newcomers beginning with the Fall 2014 semester: Deborah DeGraff, Amanda Duke, Danielle Eule, Brittany Fary, Allison Kemp, Charlotte Pearsall, Rachel Renfrow, Courtney Taybron and Drew Williams.
“Our 2014 class spans from California to our local club in Greenville and I am excited that we have attracted top-level student-athletes,” Donnenwirth said. “With the way recruiting is today, it is also hard to find the “diamonds in the rough,” but I feel we have done that this year. All nine of these ladies are fantastic students and people that embody the “Undaunted” spirit and what it means to be a Pirate. I look forward to coaching them.”
Deborah DeGraff, F, 5-7, Fr., Statesville, N.C. (Statesville Christian/95 Eclipse)
High School: Played five years under coach Kelly Taylor … Named first-team all-conference, to the first-team all-conference tournament team and an all-state selection in each of her five years … Helped the team to a state championship during her senior season in 2013 and scored 189 goals during her career … Earned all-county recognition in back-to-back years during her final two seasons … Named the conference MVP in both 2009 and 2010 … Was listed as a junior marshal for ranking in the top six of her class and was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and Beta club. Club Experience: Played for Philip Poole at the Lake Norman Soccer Club’s ’95 Eclipse squad … Reached the North Carolina State Cup final four in 2011 and 2013 … Member of the team that won the ASL Regional Championship and was a Disney Showcase Runner-Up in 2013 … Helped the team to a Vulcan Cup Championship in 2011.
DeGraff on Choosing East Carolina: “I chose ECU because I love the campus, and especially the school spirit. After my unofficial visit, I immediately knew I wanted to become a Pirate.”
Donnenwirth on DeGraff: “Deb is an intelligent forward. She makes good runs, creating space for herself and her teammates. She is a good link-up player, combines well, and also knows how to get in good scoring positions.”
Club Coach Philip Poole on DeGraff: “Deb has worked very hard for us at LNSC (Lake Norman Soccer Club). She has been a key member of our Eclipse program for many years. She is the kind of player who has the ability to pull a goal out of nowhere and has been vital in us winning some major games. Deb is a team player and will always work hard for her coaches, teammates and friends.”
Amanda Duke, D, 5-6, Fr., Clemmons, N.C. (West Forsyth/’95 CSA ECNL)
High School: Lettered and started four years under coach Scott Bilton at West Forsyth High School … Earned all-conference and all-region honors multiple times during her career … A team captain and was received the team’s best defensive player award … Helped the team to the fourth round of the state playoffs and a conference championship … A member of the National Honor Society during her junior and senior years. Club Experience: Played in the ECNL under coach Mark Thorton … Helped the squad to a first-place finish in the southeast conference during U-17s … Attended the ECNL National Qualifier … Competed in regionals during U-16s while playing for the Fusion.
Duke on Choosing East Carolina: “After being surrounded by immense school spirit, an extremely welcoming group of both coaches and girls, and an overall great and exciting atmosphere, I had no doubt that ECU was where I wanted to be for the next four years of my life. I couldn’t be more excited to be a Pirate!”
Donnenwirth on Duke: “Amanda is a tough defender that can play center or outside back. She reads the game well and has good ball-winning ability. She has faced some of the best players in the country and will bring that experience with her to the college level.”
Club Coach Mark Thorton on Duke: “It has been a pleasure coaching Amanda. She has a fantastic work ethic and always wants to improve as a player. Amanda always has the team’s best interest in mind when she is practicing or in games, and her overall intensity will bring out the best not only in her own game, but also her new teammates. Her commitment not only to how she performs, but also the game of soccer itself, will only keep her progressing at the college level."
Danielle Eule, MF, 5-5, Fr., Lutz, Fla. (Steinbrenner/West Florida Flames)
High School: A two-year captain under coach Sue Peet at Steinbrenner High School … Member of the 2011 FSHAA 3A state championship team … Earned Steinbrenner MVP Midfielder and Team MVP during her career … Named a Laker-Lutz News first team selection … Received St. Petersburg Times All-Hillsborough County First Team and Tampa Tribune All-Hillsborough County Second Team recognition … Also named an all-western conference American Division first team choice. Club Experience: Played under Rhys Lloyd for the West Florida Flames … Helped the team to a pair of Florida State Cup Championships at both the U-16 and U-17 levels … Played for the Super Y U-17 National Championship team … Took third place at the U-17 ECNL National Championship … Won the Region III U-16 Southern Premier League title.
Eule on Choosing East Carolina: “After my visit to ECU, I couldn’t stop talking about it. I loved the atmosphere and the school spirit, felt immediately welcomed by the girls and the coaching staff, and was very impressed by the facilities. It’s definitely a team that I am excited to be a part of.”
Donnenwirth on Eule: “Danielle played on one of the top teams in the country and was an integral part of their success. She is a hard-nosed center midfielder that is strong on both sides of the ball. She is a competitor and uses her strength and power well by being a tough ball-winner. She also has excellent attacking ability whether in possession or in the attacking third of the field.”
Club Coach Rhys Lloyd on Eule: “Danielle is an example of a truly great student-athlete. Her passion, work rate and enthusiasm for the game and life have led her to a lot of success. As she moves forward to the next stage of her life and career, I have no doubt that she will excel and become an exemplary member of the community and ECU soccer program. We as a staff wish her nothing but success as she moves forward. We can't wait to see her represent the school and everything it stands for."
Brittany Fary, MF, 5-5, Fr., Centreville, Va. (Westfield/FC Virginia)
High School: Lettered and started four years under coach Kristi Williams at Westfield High School … Received All-Met honorable mention, second team all-region, and Concord District first team honors as a senior captain … Led the team in goals scored during her final campaign … Helped Westfield to two Concord District finals in 2011 and 2013 … Reached the Northern Region quarterfinals in 2012 and 2013 … In the classroom, was named a Northern Region scholar athlete and received an academic achievement award for accounting … A Manga and Suma Cum Laude honors student … President and former treasurer of the Spanish Honor Society … Also a member of the Business and English Honors Societies, respectively. Club Experience: Played five years in the ECNL from 2010-14 under coach Terry Foley … Participated in the ECNL Player Development Program in 2013 … Ranked as high as the No. 17 player in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s regional rankings … A team captain from 2010-12 … Member of the 2010 State Cup final four team.
Fary on Choosing East Carolina: “When I visited ECU for the first time, I felt like I was at home and I didn’t want to leave. It has everything I could ever ask for in a college: Division I athletics, a dedicated coaching staff and faculty, an excellent business program, a beautiful campus and breathtaking athletic facilities. I love the coaches, staff an all the Pirates, and I can’t wait to continue to work with them. I am so honored and excited to be a part of the Pirate Nation!”
Donnenwirth on Fary: “Brittany is a great attacking player that can play wide or underneath a target forward. She is creative with good playmaking ability taking players one-on-one, combining, and playing killer passes. She is also a goal-scorer with an aggressive mentality in the box.”
Club Coach Terry Foley on Fary: “Brittany is a versatile player and was one of the best box-to-box midfielders at FCV. She is smooth, intelligent and has a good engine. Having coached her, I know she will score goals, bring a lot to the table and will be a great addition to the East Carolina soccer program in 2014.”
Allison Kemp, D, 5-4, Fr., Chantilly, Va. (Chantilly/FC Virginia)
High School: Lettered four years at Chantilly High School under coach Melissa Bibbee … Member of the district and regional championship teams as a senior in 2013 … Also helped the team to a district championship and was an honorable mention all-district selection as a junior in 2012 … Also lettered three years on the basketball team … Member of the National Honor Society all four years and the English Honor Society for three. Club Experience: Played for FC Virginia Heat under Gerry Austin in 2012 … also played for the SYA heat under Austin from 2013-14.
Kemp on Choosing East Carolina: “I chose ECU because I wanted to play soccer at the Division I level, but I also wanted a school that I would feel comfortable calling my home for at least the next four years. The coaching staff, current soccer team members and facilities made my decision easier. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”
Donnenwirth on Kemp: “Alli is an aggressive outside back that loves to get forward. She is a tenacious defender with good tackling ability. She has good speed and quickness. This combined with her work-rate allows her to be dangerous getting forward.”
Club Coach Gerry Austin on Kemp: “Alli’s work ethic both on and off the field is second to none. Alli’s ability to get up and down the field will definitely be a strength for the next level. With her ability to cross a ball and her range of passing, I’m sure she will be a great asset to ECU. Alli has a great passion for the game and her willingness to listen and learn will take her to the next level.”
Charlotte Pearsall, F, 5-6, Fr., Wilmington, N.C. (Eugene Ashley/Cape Fear Wave White)
High School: Lettered four years under coach Claire Caldwell … Received all-region and all-conference recognition each season and ranked among the team’s top scorer during each campaign … Named a team captain and an all-state selection during her junior and senior years … A member of the National Honor Society and Beta club ... Received the Top Female Scholar Athlete Award. Club Experience: Played for the Cape Fear White Wave under coach Justin Schatz … Led the team in scoring en route to an NC Premier League Championship in 2013 … Reached the NC State Cup semifinals in 2011 and 2012, and the championship game in 2013 … Won the Adidas GSA Final Four College Showcase and CASL College Showcase titles in 2011 … Possesses a United States Soccer Federation ‘E’ Coaching License.
Pearsall on Choosing East Carolina: “After visiting ECU and meeting Coach D, I knew I was going to be a Pirate. The atmosphere, pride in the school, quality academic programs in the medical sciences and the opportunity to get involved, on and off campus, were everything I was looking for in a school. I am really excited to be a part of the team and can’t wait to get on campus.”
Donnenwirth on Pearsall: “Charlotte is a great athlete with a good competitive spirit. We first identified her with her high school team and her engine never stopped. She has a great attacking mentality and can play in various positions."
Club Coach Justin Schatz on Pearsall: “Charlotte has represented Cape Fear Soccer Club well and I am excited for her opportunity to be a student-athlete at ECU. Charlotte has put in effort and time to be successful on the field and in the classroom. I know she will be a great asset to the team and the university. Charlotte's work rate, attitude, and personality will benefit the ECU soccer program."
Rachel Renfrow, MF, 5-7, Fr., Wilson, N.C. (Wilson Christian/Pitt-Greenville)
High School: Four-year letterwinner under coach Don Samson at Wilson Christian Academy … Earned NCCSA all-region honors each season, including first-team recognition in 2011 and 2012 … Named to the all-state team and received Wilson Christian’s Soccer MVP award following her junior season … Was given the team’s offensive award during her sophomore season … A Junior and Senior National Honor Society Member … Co-founder of the WCA Student Government Club Experience: Played two years under Darren Dawson and the PGSA Stars … Dual-rostered in her first season with the ’94 premier division and the undefeated ’95 Classic ‘A’ Division squad … Also competed for the WYSA Explosion in 2011 … Played in the 2010 North Carolina ODP and participated in the 2010 USYS Region III ODP Camp.
Renfrow on Choosing East Carolina: “After visiting ECU, I knew I had an exciting opportunity. I realized that this school was the place for me, not only because of the Division I level of soccer, but also the strong academics. The soccer coaches and team were very welcoming and made me feel like a part of the team. I knew ECU would be great in improving my skills on and off the field.”
Donnenwirth on Renfrow: “Rachel solidified our decision when she came to our camp. She is extremely composed under pressure and has excellent technical ability. She has good vision and plays simple possession soccer, but also has the ability to play killer passes.”
Club Coach Darren Dawson on Renfrow: “Rachel is a composed player with excellent vision. She is crafty with the ball and can create her own space when necessary. I think Rachel will fit the Pirates’ style of possession soccer by linking play with simple and imaginative passes.”
Courtney Taybron, F, 5-6, Fr., Wilson, N.C. (Wilson Christian/Pitt-Greenville)
High School: Lettered four years at Wilson Christian under head coach Don Samson … Member of the 2010 NCCSA 3A State Championship team during her freshman season … Named an all-state and all-region performer all four years … Received the team’s Game-changer award in 2010, offensive award in 2011 and was named Team MVP in 2012 … Was a star track and field performer, earning three All-America nods in the javelin, in addition to five state championships in the event … Competed in six Track and Field Junior Olympics from 2008-13 … Also lettered three years in basketball, winning NCCSA 2A and 3A championships in 2012 and 2013 … Named to The Wilson Times’ All-Area Basketball Team in 2012 and 2013 … Held the secretarial position for the National Honor Society. Club Experience: Played for the Wilson Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) from 2005-12 … Competed in the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) in 2012-13 and the Pitt-Greenville Soccer Association (PGSA) in 2013-14.
Taybron on Choosing East Carolina: “I chose to attend ECU because it offers excellent academic and athletic programs. After the exciting official visit, effective communication with the coaches and much prayer and reflection, God directed me to attend and play soccer at East Carolina.”
Donnenwirth on Taybron: “Courtney has exceptional athletic ability. She is powerful with good speed. This combined with her attacking mentality will make her a handful for defenders. We were able to coach her first hand at our camp and she has a great attitude and is very coachable.”
Club Coach Darren Dawson on Taybron: “Courtney is one of the most athletic players I’ve coached. Her explosiveness and acceleration will cause headaches for opposing defenders. I think Courtney’s positive attitude and personality will also help her on the field and with her new teammates.”
Drew Williams, GK, 5-10, Fr., Claremont, Calif. (Claremont/Eagles SC ECNL)
High School: Was a three-year starter under coach Tim Tracey … A two-time All-Sierra League honorable mention … Helped the team to a second-place finish in the Sierra League and a CIF SS quarterfinal appearance as a senior in 2013 … Received the 2012 Coach’s award and was named a team captain as a senior in 2013 … Was the goalkeeper for the 2012 Sierra League Championship team … Claremont was ranked No. 9 nationally and No. 3 in the state according to ESPN rankings … Posted nine shutouts with 31 saves and six goals against in 920 minutes in net as a junior in 2012 … Also lettered two years as a thrower for the track and field team … Captured third place All-Sierra League honors in the shot put … A member of the National Society of High School Scholars … Earned a California State Seal of Biliteracy and was a four-year honor roll student. Club Experience: Played under coaches Lala Alvarado and Mike Alexander for Eagles SC of the ECNL … listed as a three-star prospect by TopDrawerSoccer.com … Was a Surf Cup semifinalist in 2013 while playing with Germany’s National travel team after winning the championship in 2012 … Led the team to a So Cal Summer Showcase Championship in 2011 and was named Tournament MVP.
Williams on Choosing East Carolina: “I chose ECU because I felt like I was at home while on my official visit. The coaching staff and team members were so welcoming which was very comforting. It’s a great environment and I can’t wait to be a Pirate. I love everything about the school which made my commitment an easy decision.”
Donnenwirth on Williams: “We are excited to get a goalkeeper of Drew’s caliber late in the recruiting process. She is a physical presence with very good quickness. She can be dominant on crosses and she organizes her defense very well for a young goalkeeper.”
Club Coach Lala Alvarado on Williams: “Our coaching staff here at Eagles SC feels that Drew will be an important addition to the ECU program. She is a solid goalkeeper that has the tools to compete for a spot on the team. Not only does she have good hands, quick feet, wonderful shot-stopping ability and great presence in and around the box, but also she communicates well, which leads to great defensive organization. We are proud of Drew and we are excited to see her compete at the next level. We wish her the very best!”