Soccer recruiting class of eight brings accomplished players

Erik Svensson

The Kent State women’s soccer team has an incoming class of recruits that will be sure to generate some attention.

The eight recruits are Rachel Ernst, Karly Hellstrom, Maddie Holmes, Vital Kats, Isabelle Mihail, Kloe Moore, Faith O’Neill and Cameron Shedenhelm.

Every player in the recruiting class is an accomplished player and an exciting prospect for the team.

“It’s hard to compare year to year with this sort of thing,” coach Rob Marinaro said of the class. “But we’re really excited with the group we have. On paper, it’s a real strong group of young ladies.”

“The next step is to see what we can do and how we fit them into an already strong program.”

The class includes two NSCAA All-Americans, two Ohio All-State first team members, one U-17 World Cup team member and one U-20 World Cup Canadian team member.

Four of the incoming players are from Canada, and the other four are from Ohio.

“It’s been a lot of hard work from the assistant coaches Abby (Richter) and Pat (Sweeney) scouring around and finding opportunities,” Marinaro said. “We put in as much time as we could to secure some of those players, and it’s really worked out for us this year.”

Several of the incoming players have a relationship with Kent State already.

“A lot of the Canadian ladies have played for people we know,” Marinaro said. “They already know some of the players. It’s about creating a great environment so the feel comfortable stepping into a situation.”

Karly Hellstrom is the younger sister of Kent State player Jenna Hellstrom, Kent State’s first-ever NSCAA All-American player. For Karly Hellstrom, having a relationship with current players made Kent State feel more welcoming.

“Visiting my sister, I got to know all the girls on the team,” Hellstrom said. “So I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with a lot of them. I’m just excited to get there and be around them all the time.

The atmosphere at Kent State factored into Hellstrom’s decision to attend Kent State. She was originally committed to another college.

“After all the years of seeing my sister’s experience, I asked myself if it would be the same at another college,” Hellstrom said. “Seeing how the coaches treated the girls on the team, it was great to see how much they treat them like a family. I feel so much more comfortable knowing I’m gonna be playing under Rob, Pat and Abby.”

Hellstrom has also already had the chance to bond with some of the other incoming players.

“Two of them were on my Team Ontario team,” Hellstrom said. “I played with Isabelle and Vital and I was really close with them. I’m really excited to be reunited with them and all the other girls we met on our official visit.

“We talk all the time now. I’m really excited to get down there and become best friends with all of them.”