Feb. 7, 2018

ROCHESTER, Mich. -- Oakland women's soccer head coach Juan Pablo Favero has announced Wednesday the addition of 14 student-athletes during the 2018 signing period. The 2018 class is comprised of Natalie Abbate, Carmela Barro, Maria De la Fuente, Fotini Demetriou, Elyssa Holfeld, Jordan Lafferty, Nikki May, Kaylie Peake, Laura Rodrigo, Alexa Sabbagh, Lauryn Souflard, Noëmi Stadelmann, Sophie Wilsey and Kendra Zak.

"We are so excited about the overall quality of this class as we feel we have genuinely addressed every single need we had identified for next year's roster. The class is made up of one goal-keeper, six defenders, three midfielders, and four attackers and since most of them can play in multiple positions, that versatility makes them an even stronger group," Favero said. "While this is certainly a large class, the largest one we plan on bringing in to our program, the quality of it is even more impressive; They are just outstanding in every aspect we value. Every player coming in is extremely technical, athletic, and a great fit for the style of soccer we want to continue to implement. Just as importantly, they are great students with a high level of character and integrity and they will add tremendous value not only to our team, but to the Golden Grizzlies, Oakland University, and our community at large. We really feel like we have scored a "golazo" with this class and can't wait to having them join the rest of our roster in the fall."

The 2018 signing class marks the first for Favero and his staff. Favero was named head coach of the program last March.

"As our returning players continue to invest in themselves and grow, we are optimistic and confident that when the whole team begins to gel during the pre-season, we will have an exciting opportunity to make a huge jump forward as we strive to return Oakland women's soccer to the high levels of success the program has experienced in the past."



Natalie Abbate
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Notre Dame High School
5'9 • Forward

• Top goal scorer in the U17 CGSL
• 2017 U21 Ontario Cup Champions
• Among the top three in scoring for the Ontario Youth Soccer League

Why Abbate chose Oakland
• Educational program
• Soccer
• Location

Favero on Abbate: "Natalie is a very technical attacking player with great soccer IQ and an uncanny ability to put the ball in the back of the net. We like her versatility as she can play in all three attacking roles for us."

Carmela Barro
Ferrol, La Coruña, Spain
Ies As Telleiras
5'2 • Midfielder

• Started all 36 games for Racing de Ferrol
• Two time Ferrol Cup Champions
• Named team MVP four times

Why Barro chose Oakland
• Academics
• Soccer program

Favero on Barro: "Carmela is an extremely technical midfielder who can play in any of the three central midfield roles as well as in our back line. Her vision and great decision making on the ball will be key for us as we continue to build a possession-oriented team."

Maria De la Fuente
Madrid, Spain
Rey Juan Carlos University
5'2 • Defense

• Individual interstate tournament champion
• Named rookie of the season
• Competed five years for Atletico de Madrid

Why De la Fuente chose Oakland
• The university
• Scholarship
• Promising soccer program

Favero on De la Fuente: "María is an incredible outside back from Spain. For those who watch La Liga, she plays the outside back position like Jordi Alba for Barcelona or Marcelo for Real Madrid. Her technical skills are extraordinary, coupled with a very high decision-making ability will make her a dangerous attacking threat down the flank."

Fotini Demetriou
Troy, Mich.
Seaholm High School
5'8 • Midfield

• ECNL U17 National Champions
• Two-time Oakland County All-District honoree
• Selected as an All-League honoree two times

Why Demetriou chose Oakland
• Reputation of University
• Athletics
• Location

Favero on Demetriou: "Fo is an extremenly technical and composed player who comes to us from one of the best clubs in the Country. Her experience winning an ECNL National Championship last year is an intangible added value for our program as well."

Elyssa Holfeld
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
St. Clements School
5'6 • Defender

• National runner-up for travel team
• Won league title for St. Clements High School
• Named team captain for her high school team as a senior

Why Holfeld chose Oakland
• Soccer Scholarship
• Size of University
• Welcoming/kind coaching staff

Favero on Holfeld: "Elyssa is a tough and technical defender who can play in any role of our back line. Her speed and athleticism are a welcomed addition, but what we like most about her is her composure on both sides of the ball."

Jordan Lafferty
Surprise, Ariz.
Shadow Ridge High School
5'8 • Midfielder

• Shadow Ridge High School career leader in assists with 38
• Named first team all-conference and first team all-region
• 2018 Valedictorian

Why Lafferty chose Oakland
• Amazing Engineering Program
• The soccer program
• Beautiful campus

Favero on Lafferty: "Jordan is an outstanding midfielder with very high technical and tactical ability. Her relentless work rate and ability to create connectivity in the midfield is something we value highly."

Nikki May
Brownstown, Mich.
Woodhaven High School
5'5 • Defense/Midfield

• 2017 Michigan State Cup Soccer Champion
• All-District and All-League selection
• Four time letterwinner and two-year captain

Why May chose Oakland
• Educational programs
• Soccer tradition
• Close to home

Favero on May: "Nikki is another outstanding addition to our back line as an outside back. Her athleticism, speed and ability to attack out of the back will help our team tremendously."

Kaylie Peake
Troy, Mich.
Troy Athens High School
5'6 • Defense

• Made three ECNL playoff appearances with Vardar
• ECNL five year starter
• Four time honor roll honoree

Why Peake chose Oakland
• Great nursing program
• Close to home and great atmosphere
• The soccer program

Favero on Peake: "Kaylie is a very tough central defender, who comes to us from Vardar, so definitely a home-grown product. What has been most impressive about Kaylie is her grit and determination and that toughness is something we love seeing in all players but specially incoming freshmen."

Laura Rodrigo
Madrid, Spain
St. Francisca Javier Cabrini
5'1 • Forward

• Was the team's top scorer in 2016-17, netting 25 goals
• Earned the Lennart Johansson Trophy in 2014
• Donosti Cup winner

Why Rodrigo chose Oakland
• Soccer program
• Earn a degree
• To better learn English

Favero on Rodrigo: "Laura is a true winger whose crafty technical ability and creativity on the ball will be fun for all to watch next year. Also from Spain, her way of reading the game is a perfect fit for how we aim to play in the future."

Alexa Sabbagh
Dearborn, Mich.
Dearborn High School
5'7 • Forward

• Led her team in scoring as a sophomore with 40 goals
• Named 2016 Offensive MVP
• U17 Michigan Hawks ECNL National Champions

Why Sabbagh chose Oakland
• The coaching staff
• Close to home
• Great medical program

Favero on Sabbagh: "Alexa is an extremely versatile player from Hawks. She can literally play in all three lines on the field and her experience playing in the DA as well as winning an ECNL national championship last year gives her an invaluable mental edge we will be counting on as well."

Lauryn Souflard
Herbignac, France
Cowley College
5'2 • Forward

• Played six years of club soccer
• Made it to the 64th French Cup FInal
• Appeared in three finals with club team

Why Souflard chose Oakland
• To play soccer at a high level
• The University
• The soccer program

Favero on Souflard: "Lauryn is yet another very talented attacking player who can play both as a center forward or attacking midfielder. Her creativity and ability on the ball will make her a goal scoring threat for us next year."

Noëmi Stadelmann
Arlesheim, Switzerland
Gymnasium Liestal Switzerland
5'4 • Goalkeeper

• Switzerland U17 European Championship runner-up
• FC Basel U19 Swiss Championship runner-up
• Allowed zero goals in an entire season for the FC Basel U19 team

Why Stadelmann chose Oakland
• Coaching staff
• Chance of building something new and important
• Academic standard

Favero on Stadelmann: "Noëmi's high-level experience with the Swiss U-19 National team is an intangible asset to our program in one of the most important positions in our game. She has great size, great hands and great presence in goal and we look forward to seeing her in the Black and Gold."

Sophie Wilsey
Laingsburg, Mich.
Laingsburg High School
5'10 • Defense

• 2017 team MVP
• Four time Nike Classic Cup Champion
• Four time Canton Cup Champion

Why Wilsey chose Oakland
• Business Program
• Soccer Program
• Campus and location

Favero on Wilsey: "Sophie, is a dominating presence who can play both as a centerback or defensive midfielder. Her ability in the air, as well as her composure on the ball are two things that stand out, but she is a very complete soccer player."

Kendra Zak
West Bloomfield, Mich.
Concordia International School Shanghai
5'7 • Midfield

• Two time All-APAC selection
• 2016 Shanghai International Schools Association Conference (SISAC) Champions
• 2016 Asia Pacific Athletic Conference (APAC) Champions

Why Zak chose Oakland
• Soccer program
• Campus atmosphere
• Location

Favero on Zak: "Kendra is a versatile player with a unique journey to division I soccer. Super technical, and composed on the ball, but also an extremely hard working player who can play in several areas of the field for us."


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