LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women's soccer coach Mark Francis announced Wednesday that the Jayhawks have signed five student-athletes to letters of intent during the early signing period. Maddie Dobyns (Kansas City, Mo.), Tayler Estrada (Bentonville, Ark.), Jackie Georgoulis (Arlington Heights, Ill.), Ashley Pankey (Red Bank, N.J.) and Morgan Williams (Carrollton, Texas) will all suit up for the Crimson and Blue next season.
“We really hit all the areas that we needed to replace with this class,” said Mark Francis.
“We covered the map pretty well with this group.”
Dobyns, a six-foot goalkeeper out of Kansas City, Mo., was the 2012 Class-3 All-State Goalkeeper of the Year her junior year at Lee’s Summit North High School. She notched nine shutouts in 17 games in helping the Broncos to a 23-4 record and a second-place finish at the 2012 3A state championships. Dobyns was named to the Missouri Class-3 All-State First Team and the All-Kansas City Goalkeeper of the Year. She also played for the Harambe Viati Club Team the last two years, helping it to a first-place finish at the Missouri State Cup in the spring of 2012.
“I really connected with Kelly (Miller) because he’s a lot like my previous coach,” said Dobyns. “I was a big KU soccer fan growing up so I’m excited to keep the success going.”
“Dobyns is a goalkeeper with great size and great athleticism,” said associate head coach Kelly Miller. “I’m excited to work with Maddie and I feel she has the potential to be one of the best goalkeepers in the nation.”
Estrada is a 5-foot-7 center midfielder from Bentonville, Ark. She is a three-time Arkansas 7A All-State selection and was named the 2012 Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year following her junior season. Estrada led the Tigers to a 15-4-2 record and the Class 7A state championship in 2012 and concluded her junior year totaling 42 goals and 26 assists in her high school career. She was twice named a high-school All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and claimed the Arkansas Player of the Year award in 2012 as well. Estrada played eight years of club soccer with the Northwest Arkansas Lightning and was twice a member of the U.S. You Region 3 Olympic Development Europe Team the played matches in Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland.
“Tayler is a very skilled player with great field vision and awareness for the game,” said Francis. “Her versatility will allow us to play her in multiple positions.”
Georgoulis, a 5-foot-7 center midfielder from Arlington Heights, Ill., is listed at No. 14 on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Midwest rankings. She attends Buffalo Grove High School, has amassed four years on the Eclipse Select Club Team and led it to a U17 Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) Midwest regional championship last year. She twice attended the U.S. Soccer’s id2 National Camp in 2011 and 2012 and was named to the ECNL Final Four All-Tournament Team in 2010, where she helped Eclipse Select to a fourth-place national finish.
“I love the coaching staff here and when I came on my unofficial visit the team was so welcoming,” said Georgoulis of her decision to attend KU. “I really like distributing the ball and look for passes forward that will create opportunities. I really just want to bring more offensive attacks to the game here.”
“Jackie is a great distributor of the ball and a very solid defender,” said Francis. “We’re excited about what she brings to the midfield.”
Pankey, who hails Red Bank, N.J., is a 5-foot-11 forward who led the Matchfit Chelsea Beat U17 club team to the New Jersey State Cup title and a runner-up finish in the U.S. Youth Soccer League, both in 2012. She was a four-year varsity starter at Middletown High School where she helped lead them to back-to-back Class A North Division Championships the last two seasons. In both her sophomore and senior years she was named to the Coach’s All-Division Team and was selected to the All-Shore second team following her senior year. She also saw action with the New Jersey ODP team in 2009 and 2011, leading it to the Region I title in 2011.
“I really love everything KU has to offer; high-level soccer, great coaching staff, great academics and campus life,” explained Pankey. “I really want to have the ball at my feet at all times. Score goals and do whatever it takes to win.”
“Pankey is an extremely dynamic player,” noted Francis. “She’s a skilled soccer player with great athleticism. She’ll be a very dangerous player up top for us.”
Williams, a product of Newman High School in Carrollton, Texas, is a 5-foot-5 defender who amassed seven years with Sting ’95, which is the top-ranked ECNL team in the nation. She played two years at Newman High School where she claimed first team all-district honors her sophomore season. With Sting ’95 she helped it to an undefeated and untied record in 2010, culminating in the ECNL U15 National Championship. The team also snagged back-to-back U15 and U16 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in 2010 and 2011. Williams has proven to be a versatile athlete as well running for the Newman track team for two years and helping the 4x400-meter relay team to a state championship her sophomore year.
“Kansas really just felt like home to me,” explained Williams. “I love the coaches and I like all the girls, too. We mesh really well so I’m excited.”
“Morgan is an athletic, feisty defender that attacks well out of the back,” said Francis.
“Each of these kids has an opportunity to come in here and play right away,” concluded Francis. “We expect all these players to quickly impact the program.”