THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Head Coach Frank Marino announced nine incoming freshmen to the Cal Lutheran women's soccer program, Monday morning, including four Ventura County natives. The class of 2022 will take the place of the team's seven graduated seniors who led the program to its Sweet Sixteen run in the NCAA postseason last year.
"Sonia is a fantastic central midfielder for the California FC Thorns development academy. She is great technically, reads the game well and plays at a high level," said Coach Marino.
Chan joins the Regals as a central midfielder from Foster City, California. The Aragon High School graduate was a three-year varsity letterwinner for the Dons. She earned the cap as a freshman in 2014 and went on to be named Peninsula Athletic League Freshman of the Year. She was also named to the all-league first team and voted Freshman MVP by her high school.
The 5'2" midfielder later helped her team reach the first round of Central Coast Section Championships as junior in 2017. Off the field, Chan was an Honor Roll honoree and the senior class vice president. She also was a member of the California Thorns Development Academy in Cupertino, Calif.
Chan on why she chose Cal Lutheran: "I found Cal Lutheran's small class size to be a perfect fit for my learning style. Its location and proximity to home is ideal. Cal Lutheran's state-of-the-art athletic programs are also second-to-none. I look forward to the next four years challenging my academic and athletic talents."
"Kaitlyn is an athletic outside back from Eagles Soccer Club. She is a great one-vs.-one defender and gets forward in attacks. She is an excellent addition to our backline," said Coach Marino.
Chandler joins Cal Lutheran as a defender from Simi Valley, California. The Ventura County-native was a two-year varsity letterwinner at Simi Valley High School and a Renaissance program honoree for her achievements in the classroom. She additionally played for Eagles Soccer Club in Calabasas, Calif.
Chandler cites Cal Lutheran's "great academic and soccer program" and proximity to home as her primary reasons for choosing the university.
"Janelle is a talented forward with a great understanding of the game. She is quick, crafty in one-on-one's and an excellent finisher," said Coach Marino.
Another local, Effarah joins the Regals offense from Simi Valley High school. The 5'1" striker was a two-year varsity letterwinner for the Pioneers, earning Offensive MVP and All-Coastal Canyon League Second Team accolades. She also played for Eagles Soccer Club in Camarillo, California.
Off the pitch, Effarah volunteered with the Simi Valley Youth Summit, Children's Hunger Fund and the children's ministry at her church. She was also a high school Scholar Athlete and National Honor Society member.
Effarah on why she chose Cal Lutheran: "The campus is close to home and I will be able to be challenged academically while also playing soccer at a high level."
"Raquel is a forward from the Colorado Rush soccer club. She is an excellent back-to-goal player and target. Raquel is athletic, technically strong and an excellent finisher," said Coach Marino.
Adding depth to the offense, Gunkel joins the Regals from Littleton, Colorado. The 5'3" forward was a two-sport varsity athlete at Chatfield Senior High School and played for the Colorado Rush Soccer Club. She was named First Team Academic All-State for both soccer and basketball in 2017 and 2018. She additionally served as the junior varsity soccer captain in 2016 and earned the Charger Pride Award for basketball in 2018.
Off the field, Gunkel was an Honor Roll and National Honors Society member all four years of high school. During that tenure, she also served with the Chatfield Holiday Outreach Program working with underprivileged children and was a team captain for Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society.
Gunkel on why she chose Cal Lutheran: "Through camps I fell in love with the campus and the programs they offered for all of my interests, including my interest of being close to the ocean. I felt a personal connection with Coach Marino and that's when I knew it was the place for me."
"Aly played this past year for Eagles soccer club. She has great technical ability, vision and is a very versatile player," said Coach Marino.
Legrand joins the Regals as a forward-midfielder from Royal Valley High School. The Simi Valley, Calif., native was a two-year varsity starter for the Highlanders and a two-year All-Coastal Canyon League honoree. Her accomplishments in the classroom also earned her Honor Roll and Scholar Athlete accolades.
Legrand additionally played for Eagles Soccer Club in Camarillo, Calif. and the Eclipse Soccer Club in Simi Valley.
Legrand on why she chose Cal Lutheran: "I love the campus, and the soccer team seems so inviting."
"Zoe played for San Diego Surf ECNL and is a central midfielder. She is great technically, a strong back-to-goal player and has a great understanding of the game," said Coach Marino.
Rodriguez-Willie joins Cal Lutheran as a 5'7" midfielder from Temecula, California. The three-year varsity letterwinner at Great Oak High School was named team captain her junior and senior years and the led the program to its CIF Southern Section Quarterfinals appearance in 2018. She additionally played for the San Diego Surf ECNL club team.
Off the field, she was a four-year Scholar Athlete Award winner (4.0+ GPA) and was in the top fifteenth percentile of her class academically. Rodriguez-Willie also served with JDRF and Camp Conrad Chinnock helping kids with Type One diabetes, as well as, with the Inspire Kidz Club which helps local foster kids in the community.
Rodriguez-Willie cites the "Southern California location, beautiful campus, welcoming environment, amazing and supportive coaching staff, strong soccer program and great team dynamic" as her reasons for choosing Cal Lutheran.
"Alexa is an outstanding goalkeeper for Westlake High School. She has great hands, is a great shot stopper and is fantastic on set pieces," said Coach Marino.
Soto joins the Regals as a 5'10" goalkeeper from Thousand Oaks, California. The Conejo Valley native was a four-year varsity team member at Westlake High School and played for the Real So Cal Soccer Club.
In 2017, Soto led Westlake to first in the Marmonte League, third in the Division I Southern Section with 8-0-2 record in league play and 15-1-2 record overall. She picked up 11 shutout victories on the season helping the Warriors to the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Soto cites Cal Lutheran's "positive environment and good fit" as her primary reasons for the choosing the university.
"Danielle is a top defender from Santa Clara Sporting Soccer Club. She is a great one-vs.-one defender, terrific technically and great going forward," said Coach Marino.
Vis joins the Regals backline from Fremont, California. The 5'7" defender was a three-sport varsity letter winner at John F. Kennedy High School in soccer, dance and softball. She was also a four-year All-Mission Valley Athletic League selection.
As a freshman, she was named to the all-league first team after nailing a 40-yard free kick to upset the No. 2 seeds and send the No. 15 Titans to round two of section playoffs. She then went on to be named a second team honoree for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons before earning first team recognition again as a senior. During her junior year campaign, Vis finished the second in the MVAL in goals, assists and overall points.
Outside of her high school accomplishments, Vis was a four-year Honor Roll member and volunteered over 80 hours at YMCA. She was also a member of the Santa Clara Sporting Soccer Club.
Vis cites Cal Lutheran's great location, facilities and overall program as her reasons for choosing the university.
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director