Photo by Laura Leffler

Six Soccer Players Commit to Huskers for 2019

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska soccer team announced the addition of six student-athletes for the upcoming season on Friday. The commits include Kathleen Aitchison, Alicia Cardenas, Mila Gretzky, Marissa Popoola, Makinzie Short and Carly Walker.

The Huskers previously announced the signing of January 2019 enrollee Emma Marcus on Nov. 14.

Nebraska Soccer 2019 Recruiting Class

Kathleen Aitchison

Delta, B.C. (Little Flower Academy)

TSS Black



Kathleen Aitchison joins the Huskers from Little Flower Academy in Vancouver, B.C., where she plays under Coach Sue Bryde. In 2017, Aitchison earned Most Outstanding Player when she helped the team to an eighth-place finish at the Girls AA High School Provincial Championships. An honour roll student during all four years, Aitchison earned the class scholarship bronze medal (awarded to the student with the highest average from each class) in social studies, French, physical education, physics and chemistry. She earned the class scholarship gold medal for highest overall average in 11th grade during the 2017-18 academic year. Aitchison also played basketball and competed for the cross country and track and field teams at Little Flower Academy. Aitchison played club soccer for TSS Black under Coach Brendan Quarry. She helped the team to a first-place finish in the Metro Women’s Soccer League in 2017.


Aitchison on Nebraska

“The coaching staff and team at Nebraska are amazing. Also, the amount of support student-athletes are provided is great and will definitely help me to reach my full potential. I know that I will get the best university experience at Nebraska.”


Alicia Cardenas

Erie, Colo. (Erie)

FC Boulder



Alicia Cardenas joins the Huskers from Erie High School in Colorado, where she played for two seasons under Coach Jeff Vigil. An all-state and all-conference performer, Cardenas scored 22 career goals and tallied 17 career assists to help Erie to the playoffs each season. She was also an honor roll student and all-state academic athlete award recipient. Cardenas played club soccer for FC Boulder under Coach Fields Brown. Cardenas helped the team finish runner-up at the State Cup in 2016 and 2018. In 2017, she earned State Cup MVP honors in helping FC Boulder to the semifinals of the State Cup. Cardenas also earned All-Star Tournament MVP accolades.


Cardenas on Nebraska

“I chose Nebraska because I wanted to be challenged on the soccer field and have to play for my spot on the team. I also love the environment around Lincoln.”


Mila Gretzky

Brantford, Ontario (North Park Collegiate)

Salt Fleet Stoney Creek/Provincial Team Ontario



Mila Gretzky joins the Huskers from North Park Collegiate in Brantford, Ontario, where she played soccer under Coach Emilio Melfi. Gretzky was named varsity player of the year. She also competed on the cross country, track and field, basketball and volleyball teams for North Park Collegiate. Individually, Gretzky won the BCSSA titles in 200, 400 and 800. Gretzky played club soccer for Salt Fleet Stoney Creek under Coach Carm Lancia and for Provincial Team Ontario in 2016. Gretzky helped the team advance to the finals of the Ontario Cup in 2018. In 2017, the team won the Golden Horseshoe after winning the Ontario Cup in 2016.


Gretzky on Nebraska

“It feels like home. The coaches want you to succeed, the facilities are great and everyone is very friendly.”


Marissa Popoola

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley West)

KC Blaze Academy Blue Angels



Marissa Popoola joins the Huskers from Blue Valley West in Overland Park, Kan., where she plays under Coach Alex Aiman. Popoola helped the team win back-to-back state titles in 2017 and 2018 after a runner-up finish in 2016. She earned first-team all-state and first-team Eastern Kansas League honors during all three years. In 2018, Popoola scored 29 goals and tallied 13 assists en route to earning Eastern Kansas League Offensive Player-of-the-Year recognition. In 2017, she scored 19 goals after netting 12 goals in 2016. Popoola played club soccer for KC Blaze Academy Blue Angels under Coach Ben Popoola. The team’s leading goal scorer, Popoola helped the team win three consecutive Kansas State Cup titles from 2016 to 2018. The team also won the MRL First Division, the Heartland Midwest Classic Tournament, the Midwest All Girls Tournament, the Challenger Sports Invitational, the Heartland Invitational and Kansas City Invitational.


Popoola on Nebraska

“I chose Nebraska because of the quality of education, the tradition of excellence, the warm community, the chemistry of the women’s soccer team and the chance to be part of one of the best soccer programs in the country.”


Makinzie Short

Erie, Colo. (Peak to Peak Charter School)

Real Colorado



Makinzie Short joins the Huskers from Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, Colo., where she plays under Coach Joe Swanson. Short played for the school during her first two years before spending her junior and senior years in the developmental academy. As a freshman at Peak to Peak Charter School in 2016, Short was named MVP when she helped the team to the Elite Eight of the 3A Playoffs. As a sophomore in 2017, the team made the finals of the 3A Playoffs. Over the span of two years, Short compiled 598 minutes, earning 43 saves and posted nine shutouts. Short played for the Real Colorado Developmental Academy under Coach Jared Spires during her junior and senior years of high school. The team won the Developmental Academy U-16/17 title. Short also played club soccer for FC Boulder from 2013 to 2017.


Short on Nebraska

“When I visited Nebraska, I knew I had found my home. Not only does Nebraska have an amazing soccer program with unforgettable facilities, but more importantly, I knew right away that Nebraska would be committed to developing me as a top student-athlete and also a student leader and individual. After meeting the coaches and players, I knew instantly that Nebraska was where I was meant to be. I am so excited to call Lincoln my home for the next four years!”


Carly Walker

Wyoming, Minn. (Forest Lake)

Minnesota Thunder Academy



Carly Walker joins the Huskers from Forest Lake in Minnesota, where she played under Coach Amanda Saelens. A four-year letterwinner, Walker served as the team captain in 2017 and 2018. She earned multiple other team awards, including Most Committed (2014), Hardest Working (2014-16), Rookie of the Year (2015) and MVP (2017, 2018). Walker was an all-conference selection in 2017 and 2018. She achieved “A” honor roll status from 2014 to 2016, and made the “B” honor roll in 2017. Walker also competed for the Forest Lake track team, earning a letter in 2013. Walker plays club soccer for Minnesota Thunder Academy under Coach Dave Alberti. She helped the team capture the league title in 2016. In addition, Walker played on the ODP state team in 2016 and the ODP regional team in 2017.


Walker on Nebraska

“No other University compares to the players, coaches or facilities that are offered here. This is such a great program both on and off the field and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I am finally able to live out my dream and play at Nebraska for the next four years.”


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