Four of Nebraska's newcomers hail from the Midwest, two come from Florida and two are Canadian.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Eight Soccer Players Join Huskers for 2017

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln, Neb. - The Nebraska soccer team announced the addition of eight student-athletes for the 2017 season on Wednesday. Four of NU’s newcomers hail from the Midwest, two come from Florida and two are Canadian.

Nebraska went 11-6-5 (5-3-3 Big Ten) during the 2016 campaign and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years. The Huskers, who finished sixth in the Big Ten, surpassed 300 wins in program history during the season.

Nebraska Soccer 2017 Recruiting Class

Allison Ulness
Midfielder
Moorhead, Minn. (Moorhead)
Minnesota Thunder Academy
Allison Ulness prepped at Moorhead High School in Minnesota under Coach Nicole Wiesner. Ulness scored 38 career goals and added 29 career assists. As a senior, she tallied 15 goals and 15 assists in helping Moorhead to an 11-6-1 record, its best in 10 years. An all-state member in 2016, Ulness was named Team MVP in 2015 and 2016 and Best Offensive Player in 2014, 2015 and 2016. She was team captain during each of her last two seasons. Ulness played club soccer for Minnesota Thunder Academy under Coach Bulut “Turk” Ozturk. The team was a three-time State Cup semifinalist, while capturing the U.S. Club Regional title in 2016 after finishing runner-up in 2015.

Ulness on Nebraska
“I chose Nebraska because I wanted to find a school that would challenge me on the field and in the classroom. Ever since my first camp and visit to Lincoln, I knew Nebraska was the place I needed to be. The family-like bond between the players and the coaches really solidified my decision. I am looking forward to achieving my goals here in Lincoln.”

 

Genevieve Cruz
Forward/Midfielder
Racine, Wis. (The REAL School)
Racine United

Genevieve Cruz played high school soccer at The REAL School in Racine, Wis., under Coach Peter Laboda. Cruz enters her senior season with 83 career goals and 25 career assists. The REAL School made the sectional finals in 2015, while making the semifinals in 2014 and 2016. In 2016, Cruz made second-team all-state and first-team all-conference. She was also named county player of the year, Southeast Conference Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year for her team. In 2015, Cruz earned second-team all-county honors. In 2014, she made first-team all-conference and first-team all-county. Cruz played club soccer for Racine United. While playing under Coach Kevin Lawrence, Cruz scored 11 goals in 2016, 10 goals in 2015, 14 goals in 2014 and seven goals in 2013.

Cruz on Nebraska
“I really loved all the soccer coaching staff and all the other staff I met. It really felt like it was a family environment and made me feel like I was a part of the family. I really felt that they will help me succeed and accomplish all my dreams and goals. I felt that this could be home for the next few years. I loved Hibner Stadium and Memorial Stadium. All the facilities were awesome. I really loved everything about the University of Nebraska.”

 

Grace Brown
Defender
Iowa City, Iowa (City High)
Alliance Soccer Club/Davis Legacy Soccer Club/Iowa ODP 1998

Grace Brown enters her senior season at City High in Iowa City, Iowa in 2017 with 16 goals and 15 assists under Coach Michael Prunty. Brown has been named the Team MVP and team captain, while achieving first-team all-state and first-team all-conference status. Brown also has club experience at Alliance Soccer Club, Davis Legacy Soccer Club and Iowa ODP 1998. She helped Davis Legacy Soccer Club to the national title in 2016. Alliance Soccer Club won the State Cup in 2012 and 2016, while placing second at the State Cup in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Iowa ODP was crowned Region II champions in 2014 and 2015, while taking runner-up honors at the national championship in 2015.

Brown on Nebraska
“I felt that Nebraska was the best academic and athletic fit. I loved how committed the coaches and staff are to not only making me the best soccer player I can be, but also the best person. The Nebraska family was very welcoming.”

 

Kayla Mostowich
Midfielder/Defender
Edmonton, Alberta (Strathcona Composite)
Edmonton Strikers
Kayla Mostowich comes to Nebraska from Strathcona Composite High School in Edmonton, Alberta. Mostowich played a key role in the team capturing the city title in 2014-15 and 2015-16. She played club soccer for the Edmonton Strikers under Coach Ameen Kadri. In 2016, the team won silver in both the city and provincial championships. Mostowich also played for Northwest United 1 under Coach Dean Cordeiro. The team won gold in the provincial championship and placed fourth at the Canadian National Championships. Mostowich has trained in numerous academies, including the Green and Gold Academy, the University of Alberta Junior Pandas Academy and the Alberta Soccer Association Provincial Team. In addition, she has trained with FC Edmonton since 2014, which developed into the CSA REX program during the 2016-17 season. In addition, Mostowich has been to several Canadian U-17 national team camps.

Mostowich on Nebraska
“I chose Nebraska because the coaching staff made me feel welcome the moment I stepped on campus. The importance of player development was evident early in the process. It was evident because the coaches took genuine interest in my aspirations and goals. It’s also a long term staff with the track record of national level players and team success to prove it. Choosing Nebraska over other schools came down to having the whole package. Nebraska has top level coaching to help me reach my high aspirations in soccer and to play in a competitive Big Ten Conference. It is a wonderful community of Lincoln with amazing enthusiasm and support of all Husker teams. They have a state of art facility for athletic training and academic learning.”

 

Natalie Cooke
Forward
Richmond, B.C. (Richmond Secondary)
TSS FC

Natalie Cooke hails from Richmond, B.C., where she attends Richmond Secondary School. Cooke was named the Top Female Athlete at her school in 2016, and is a candidate for the award in 2017, which will be handed out at the end of the year. She was also named Top PE Student from 2012 to 2016. Cooke played club soccer for TSS FC under Coach Brendan Quarry. In addition to soccer, Cooke played basketball and volleyball, earning the second-team all-star award in 2016 for basketball.

Cooke on Nebraska
“When I first set foot on campus, I knew I had found a place I could call home. From the knowledgeable coaching staff, friendly players, commitment to athletic and academic achievement as well as amazing facilities. Nebraska was easily my number one choice.”

 

Niejia Watkins
Defender
Orlando, Fla. (Lake Howell)
Florida Kraze Krush

Niejia Watkins attends Lake Howell High School in Orlando, Fla., where she has twice earned Defensive MVP honors (2014, 2015). Watkins earned second-team all-conference honors in 2015 and captured the Sportsmanship Award in 2016. Watkins played club soccer for Florida Kraze Krush under Coach Hue Menzies, where she earned Most Improved Player. The team finished second at the State Cup in 2015 and took third in 2016. An honor roll student, Watkins also competes for the track and field team at Lake Howell.

Watkins on Nebraska
“It has what most schools do not offer: a family environment. The support that the town gives to the students is unbelievable and I cannot wait to be a part of it. Also, the soccer program and coaches will allow me to get better at something that I love to do.”

 

Theresa Pujado
Midfielder
Harrisburg, S.D. (O’Gorman Catholic)
U-19 Girls DASC

Theresa Pujado helped O’Gorman Catholic to a successful run of two state titles (2013, 2015) and two state runner-up finishes (2014, 2016) during her four years. Pujado tallied 43 goals and six assists during her career for Ryan Beier’s squad. During her final season, Pujado was named the NSCAA South Dakota Player of the Year and is a nominee for Gatorade Player of the Year. A team captain, she also earned first-team all-state honors, academic all-state accolades and all-metro conference team recognition. In 2015, she was Gatorade Player of the Year, Argus Leader South Dakota Female Soccer Player of the Year and a first-team all-state selection in addition to several other accolades. Pujado played club soccer for U-19 Girls DASC under Coach James Oppenheimer, helping the team capture the state title in 2012 and take runner-up honors in 2013.

Pujado on Nebraska
“I chose Nebraska because I’ve always been a Husker at heart and it has been a dream of mine to play with such an amazing program.”

 

Sarah Thrush
Forward
Sorrento, Fla. (Mount Dora)
Orlando City ECNL

Sarah Thrush joins the Huskers from Mount Dora High School in Sorrento, Fla. She is a two-time Mount Dora Player of the Year (2015-16 and 2016-17). Thrush made Seminole Athletic Conference Team 1 during her sophomore season after making Team 2 as a freshman. She played club soccer for Orlando City ECNL.

Thrush on Nebraska
“I chose Nebraska because the atmosphere is like no other. The support they give their student-athletes will set me up for success on and off the field. Not only did I feel a connection with the coaches, the bond between the team is something I look forward to being a part of. I’m ready to improve my education and game here at the University of Nebraska.”

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