MIAMI (March 28, 2012) - FIU Women's Soccer Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt announced the addition of seven players that will join the program this fall. The class includes Alexa Arrasate, Shelby Bowden, Jazmin Jones, Morgan Morris, Celeste Rios, Marlena Stablein and Melina Cox-Ferreras.
"I'm very excited about the 2012 class," Chestnutt said. "This class provides us with the pieces to fit the holes created by our wonderfully successful recruiting class of 2008 that will be graduating this spring. These seven players have had the fortune of having great club coaches and environments to learn. They will have an opportunity to impact our program right away. They each possess great potential and we are looking forward to aiding them in their journey to discover what they are capable of during their four years at FIU. We cannot wait to get started with this 2012 team. This can be another exciting year for FIU soccer."
Three of the players - Arrasate, Rios and Stablein - are from Florida and the Miami area. Morris hails from Virginia, Bowden from Colorado, Jones from Washington and Cox-Ferreras from Arizona.
Arrasate is a midfielder out of West Broward High School. She is a four-year letterwinner and a three-time first-team all-county member. The team captain also led Broward County in scoring during her senior campaign, as her squad earned a pair of district titles during her time at West Broward.
"Alexa has an understanding and vision that can undo defenses with ease," Chestnutt said. "She is extremely creative and has powerful shot. She will be able to create problems for defenders by help her attacking players with playing well-timed and weighted passes."
Bowden is a defender from Ft. Collins, Colo. and will graduate from Rocky Mountain High School this spring. She lettered three years and is currently the team's captain. An honor roll student, Bowden was a also a member of the All-State Academic Team as a junior. She was a two-sport athlete, lettering in basketball as well. Bowden played club for the Colorado Rush and Colorado Force.
"Shelby possesses a great demeanor and understanding as a defender," Chestnutt said. "She has great composure on the ball, as well as being able to give a physical presence as well."
Jones, a defender, will make the longest trip to Miami, hailing from Gig Harbor, Wash., and will graduate from Gig Harbor High School. She lettered two years and was an all-district honorable mention pick as a freshman. She was also named Narrows League Top Incoming Freshman while a member of the National Honor Society.
"Jazmin plays at one of the best club teams in the Northwest," Chestnutt said. "She has speed, strength, and communicates very well out of the back. She will be able to help us right away in the back."
Morris is a four-year starter out of Chantilly High School in Oak Hill, Va. The forward was an all-district honorable mention selection as a freshman and sophomore, then an all-district first team member as a junior with all-region honorable mention laurels. Morris led her squad to a 3A state championship in 2009 and was an active member in the National Honor Society. She played club ball for Vista Omni.
"Morgan is a great goal scorer who can get behind defenses as well as take advantage of them if given space," Chestnutt said. "She will provide us with another dimension as a forward in our attack."
Rios is defender out of Gulliver Prep in Miami. A multisport athlete, Rios lettered in soccer, softball, volleyball and bowling. She led her soccer team to a state championship in 2011 and her softball team to a title in 2010. Rios earned Defensive MVP honors in 2010 and 2011 and was an All-Dade County Second Team member. She captained her soccer team as a junior and senior.
"Cece is another versatile player that will put it all on the line for her teammates," Chestnutt said. "She will make us tougher as a team in training and in games."
Stablein, a midfielder, will graduate from South Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla. She lettered four years in soccer and two in track. Stablein guided her team to its first district title in 39 years as a sophomore and helped the team repeat the following season. She led Broward County in scoring as a freshman and received all-country honorable mention for her efforts.
"Marlena may be the most versatile player in our incoming class," Chestnutt said. "She can play all over the pitch, which makes her extremely valuable to her team."
Cox-Ferreras is a freshman transfer from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona and had a great high school career at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Ariz. A team MVP her senior year, Cox-Ferreras was also a 5A All-State first team member and led her team to a pair of regional championships in her career. She played club for AZ Sting FC.
"Melina transfers to us from Arizona," Chestnutt said. "She has great composure on the ball and has the creativity to deliver the ball to teammates out of difficult situations. She will help us control play in the middle of the park."
This freshman class will be tasked with helping FIU repeat as Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions, as the Panthers will lose eight graduating seniors.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 17 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls 46,000 students in two campus and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in 17 sports. In 2010 the Panthers won their first bowl game. For more information about FIU, visit www.fiu.edu.