KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s soccer team signed eight players to their 2018 recruiting class on Wednesday, Feb. 7 in what proved to be a tremendous signing day for the program.
The 2018 class – Rylan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.), Afton Fennewald (Lake Winnebago, Mo.), Autumn Ferguson (Pleasant Hill, Mo.), Bela Gonzalez (Papillion, Neb.), Emily Jensen (Wichita, Kan.), Sarah Karloff (Omaha, Neb.), Amanda Sampson (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) and Emma Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) – come together to form a talented group of incomers from across the Midwest.
“We are thrilled to welcome the 2018 class to our awesome UMKC family,” commented head coach Chris Cissell. “These eight wonderful student-athletes possess the character, integrity, talent, heart, passion and grit to help us continue winning championships on the field.”
Childers, the younger sister of junior midfielder Reighan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.), joins the UMKC program after what has been a stellar high school career thus far. In her first three seasons for Grain Valley High School, the prolific scorer has tallied 132 goals and 91 assists. With one more season to play, Childers has already set school records for career goals and assists, season goals (51), season assists (32), goals in game (6) and assists in game (4). Her illustrious career has garnered her three First-Team All-Conference selections and a pair of First-Team All-State awards in addition to being named the Class 3 KC Region Offensive Player of the Year last season.
Fennewald, a goalkeeper for Notre Dame de Sion High School, has seen action between the posts since her freshman high school season. In 49 starts in net the past two seasons, Fennewald has compiled a 43-6 record while securing 36 shutouts and allowing just 13 goals. Her stellar career at Notre Dame de Sion included a Class 3 State Championship in 2016 and First-Team All-State selections the past two years. Her 43 career shutouts tops the record book at Notre Dame de Sion as well as her 0.2 goals against average and five goals allowed in the 2017 season.
Ferguson joins the program from nearby Pleasant Hill High School. A starting midfielder/defender since her freshman season, Ferguson has racked up 90 career goals along with over 40 assists in her three seasons at Pleasant Hill, both which are school records. Additionally, she holds the season records for goals scored in 2015 and assists in 2016. Ferguson has picked up significant accolades during her high school career, including three First-Team All-Conference selections and two First-Team All-State awards. Her work in the classroom has also been exceptional, boasting a pair of Academic All-Conference awards.
Gonzalez, along with junior defender Emily Talmon, joins the Roos from Papillion, Nebraska. Prior to missing part of the 2016 season and the entire 2017 season to injury, Gonzalez made hefty contributions in her first two seasons as a starting forward on the Skutt Catholic High School team. She recorded a pair of goals and assists in 2016 and helped lead the team to a State Runner-Up finish in 2015. A multi-sport athlete, Gonzalez has also found success on the hardwood in her high school career as a three-year letter-winner and two-time All-State Honorable Mention recognitions.
A Wichita native, Jensen has played in three seasons as a starting forward/midfielder for Wichita Northwest High School. She enters her senior campaign after back to back 2nd-Team All-State awards. In 60 starts, Jensen has scored 69 goals and recorded 33 assists in her high school career as well as setting a school record in 2016 for most goals in a game with seven. Her academic success has been equally impressive as her on the field accomplishments, serving as a member of National Honors Society since 2016 and Principal’s Advisory Council from 2015-2017.
Karloff, a forward/midfielder from Omaha, heads to UMKC from Gretna High School. A 2nd-Team All-State selection last season, she has served as a major contributor for her high school team that has been a consistent presence in the postseason as Class B State Runner-Up’s in 2015 and 2016 along with a Semi-Finalist finish in 2017. Karloff has been actively involved at Gretna High School off the field as well, serving as a member of National Honors Society and class Vice President.
Another local product, Sampson enters the program from nearby Lee’s Summit High School. She prepares for her high school season as a three-year contributor with 21 career goals and 10 career assists in the program. Sampson has helped guide her high school team to a wealth of success in her first three seasons, securing Conference Championships in 2015 and 2016 that resulted in 3rd and 4th place finishes in the State Tournament, respectively. All three of Sampson’s older sisters played soccer at the collegiate level with two having played at Baker University and one at Missouri Southern.
Wilson rounds out the 2018 class and, along with Karloff, will be the third player in the program to hail from Omaha. A three-year starting midfielder for Westside High School, Wilson has tallied 11 goals and 4 assists in her high school career. With a pair of 7th place finishes in the State Tournament in 2015 and 2017, Wilson will look to finish off her tenure for Westside with another strong postseason finish before heading to UMKC. She joins the rest of the 2018 class as another great student, landing on the high school honor roll in 2015-16.
“This phenomenal class will assist us in continuing to strive for excellence in the classroom and community service,” noted Cissell. “We are proud to welcome all eight student-athletes to the UMKC family.”
– UMKC –