April 14, 2009
STORRS, Conn. - University of Connecticut women's soccer head coach Len Tsantiris announced Monday that five players will join the team for the 2009 season. Danielle Dakin (Wilbraham, Mass.), Georgina Giddings (Feltham, England), Hillary Lackman (Storrs, Conn.), Ally Mancino (Belle Mead, N.J.) and Linda Ruutu (Espoo, Finland) will enroll at UConn this coming fall.
Danielle Dakin was named the 2008 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year and a 2008 NSCAA All-American. As a senior midfielder at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Mass she captained her team to the 2008 Division I State Championship and helped her team record a 68-5-10 record during her four year career. She was also named to the ESPN RISE All-American First Team in 2008. During the summer months, Dakin plays for the New England Mutiny of the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and is the youngest player to ever have played for the team. In 2008, she helped the Mutiny to the WPSL National Semi-Finals and was named to the All-Tournament team at the WPSL Final Four. In 2007, she was a WPSL National Championship finalist with the Mutiny. She has also participated in the Olympic Development Program for the last five years as a member of the U15, U16, U17, and U19 state and regional teams.
"Danielle has very good skills and is a very tactical player that has experience at the regional level," said Tsantiris. "As a defensive player, she has the ability to win balls and does a great job keeping possession and starting the attack. She has the potential to do very well for us and we are excited to have her join us this coming fall."
Dakin on why she chose UConn: "I chose UConn because I wanted to be at a school that not only has a top soccer program, but also a great academic environment. I love the style of play, the girls on the team, and the coaches. UConn all around seemed to be a perfect fit for me as a student athlete. I can't wait to wear the University of Connecticut jersey and become a Husky!"
will attend UConn this fall after graduating from the Longford Community School and Therfield School. She has played for the u-17, u-19 and u-23 English National teams, competing in several training camps and tournaments including the European Finals with the u-17 and u-19 teams. She has also played for Staines Town WFC, winning the Russell Cup and earning a goal difference of +100. In addition, she has been of member of Chelsea FC for seven years and was the reserve team captain in 2008-2009. Chelsea were league champions and County Cup winners in 2007-2008 and League Cup winners in 2008-2009. At this point in their season, Chelsea also has the potential to win the League Championship and County Cup again.
"Georgie is a very technical player that has developed into a very good flank player," said Tsantiris. "She has the ability to get forward and join the attack, but also is a solid defender. Her sense of the game and her international experience will help her compete at the college level."
Giddings on why she chose UConn: "I chose UConn because I wanted to be a part of a strong soccer program and to also attend a good school. Even though I am from England it was obvious that the school had great tradition within all sports and that is something I wanted to be a part of. I also want to be successful academically and I believe that UConn will enable me to do so."
Hillary Lackman joins the Huskies from nearby E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Conn. where she was named to the Connecticut Girl's Soccer Coaches Association All-State team in her junior and senior years. An attacking player, Lackman also earned All-Conference honors in each of her four years on varsity and captained the team as a senior leading her squad to an ECC Championship. In addition to her high school experience, Hillary has played with and captained FSA Soccerplus based in Farmington, CT.
"Hillary is a local player that is a good student-athlete," said Tsantiris. "She has grown up watching UConn soccer and she wanted to stay close to home. As an attacking player, we hope that she can bring her strong work ethic and soccer abilities to help our team. "
Lackman on why she chose UConn: "I decided to attend UConn because I've lived in Storrs all my life. I grew up going to UConn soccer games and I couldn't imagine going to college anywhere else. Also my family and friends will be able to come to all of the games. UConn is also a great academic school and it offers a lot of different programs. I'm excited to be part of UConn soccer and can't wait to get started."
Ally Mancino, a goalkeeper from Montgomery High School in Skillman, N.J, joins the Huskies after a very successful high school career. Mancino helped Montgomery to a Group Three State Championship her freshman year, a Somerset County Championship during her sophomore campaign, and to the Skyland Conference Championships her junior and senior years. During her final two seasons she was named to the First Team All-Skyland Conference team, the First Team All-Princeton Packet team, the First Team All-Area Courier News team, and the First Team All-State Star Ledger team. As the team captain her senior year, she received the team's MVP award and was also named to the ESPN RISE First Team. Her overall career record stands at 74-9-5 with a total of 56 shutouts. In addition to her high school team, she is also a member of the New Jersey 1991 ODP team and the PDA Pride.
"Ally is a talented goalkeeper that plays for a very good club team," said Tsantiris. "She is solid in goal and does a good job communicating and organizing the players in front of her. She will join our two other goalkeepers to make it a very competitive training environment."
Mancino on why she chose UConn: "I decided to go to UConn because my goal was to play Division I soccer in a program with a winning tradition. As soon as I met the team, watched them play and toured the campus I knew that this is where I wanted to spend the next four years. The combination of great athletic teams and high level academics were very important to me. I know that I have found them at UConn. I am so excited to join the team and am proud to be a Husky."
Linda Ruutu is the second international player joining the Huskies this fall. Ruutu, an attacking player from Helsinki Finland, has experience at the national team level. In 2008, Ruutu competed in the UEFA European Women's u-19 Championship. She is currently competing with the national team and has advanced to the second round of the UEFA European Women's u-19 Championship. In late April, her team will play England, Spain and Hungary in hopes of advancing to the Final Round in Belarus from July 13-25. She is a graduate from the Makelanrinne Sports High School in Helsinki and in addition to the national team, she is currently on HJK Helsinki.
"Linda brings international experience to our program," said Tsantiris. "She is a tactical player with a good sense of the game. She will add a different element to our team and the fact that she has played with the national team will help her adjust to the college game."
Ruutu on why she chose UConn: "Moving to US and studying and playing there has been an option for me for many years. After some research about UConn I realized that it might be the best school for me, and the more I learned about it, the more convinced I was. During my visit to UConn I was impressed by both its athletics and academics and finally knew that I wanted to join the program."
In addition to the freshman class, UConn added another recruit in transfer Courtney Lazos (Medford, N.J.). Lazos joined the Huskies in January after one semester at the University of Alabama. She did not compete during her freshman season at Alabama, but in high school started every game for Shawnee High School in Medford, N.J. As a defender, Lazos still managed to record 20 goals and 32 assists during her high school career. She led Shawnee to 2006 and 2007 Olympic Patriot Division titles and to the 2006 South Jersey Group III title. Before playing at Shawnee, Lazos was an athlete at Bishop Eustace Prep where she helped the team win the 2004 National Division title, the 2004 Non-public South Jersey Championship and the Non-public New Jersey state title.