Sports Update > National Signing Day
Pitch perfect prospects: Wildcats soccer standouts ink college commitments
Few sports are entrenched into one city's history like soccer is for Plano.
And at the center of the sport's longstanding tradition within the city has been the near-40 years of soccer played at Plano Senior, where seven student-athletes took the next step in their careers Wednesday at National Signing Day.
Happiness manifested all throughout the Wildcats team room, with three standouts from a Plano boys squad that has captured three consecutive district championships committing.
Among those was senior Brandon Aubrey, last seen perusing the pitch at Plano as a sophomore, who committed to Notre Dame.
Committing to the Fighting Irish in December of his junior year, Aubrey first caught Notre Dame's eye at a showcase tournament. With the likes of Michigan, Northwestern and Stanford hot on the trail for the computer science major, a visit and chance to get acclimated to the campus' tradition was all the midfielder needed.
"They have a really well-established alumni program that can help me get a job if I don't make it in soccer," Aubrey said, "as kind of a backup plan. That was a big part."
Playing for a program with plenty of reputation was also a factor for senior Isaac Urcuyo, who will continue his soccer career at Florida Gulf Coast.
Initially noticed by FGC at a practice, Urcuyo followed up by sending video to the school. While other colleges were in the mix, it all went out the window once the Eagles maintained contact with the prospective business major.
"I'm embracing the challenge," Urcuyo said. "There are a lot of great players over there and I know I'm going to be at the bottom of the depth chart to start, but I think I can work my way up."
The approach to the recruiting landscape was a bit different for senior Jessey Hein, whose family has a lengthy lineage with BYU and as such, the Wildcats' captain and midfielder will follow in those footsteps.
"I've been wanting to play at BYU since I was a kid," Hein said. "A lot of my family went there and I've really tried as hard as I could to be a player there."
Attending camps at the school as early as his freshman year, the Cougars took notice of Hein early in the process and that contact was successfully maintained over the years. Finishing among the top prospects in a 105-player tryout at BYU in January was just icing on the cake.
It'll be in an atmosphere he's plenty familiar with, much like senior Kathryn Danhauser in making her commitment to play for McNeese State.
"I like the size and location of it," she said. "It's in Louisiana near Lake Charles; it's warmer and I don't like the cold and didn't want to go anywhere up north. It's a good distance from home as well."
A business major eying a career in medical sales, Danhauser was seeking out a school with an atmosphere similar to that at Plano. A number of smaller sub-Division I schools reached out but the atmosphere at McNeese fit the profile to a T.
"McNeese came to me first and I really didn't know much about the school," she said. "I went and visited, liked it a lot; it was a smaller D-I school which was a good fit for me."
Danhauser was one of four Lady Wildcats to sign on Wednesday, including senior Lauren Perry whose commitment to San Angelo State came about after some initial hesitation.
"At first, I didn't think it was the school for me," Perry said. "I kind of shoed it away at first but they kept in touch and were persistent, so I started listening."
A visit followed, plus some talks in regards to living space and a scholarship offer. Being located in Texas was an added perk as staying in-state was a priority for Perry, who hopes to major in physical therapy or teaching.
That field was also of interest for senior teammates Lauren Fambrough and Katie Huff. Coincidentally, the two will share the same field for years to come after the two committed to Midwestern State.
Both followed the route of sending e-mails to colleges, getting their names out and testing the recruiting waters.
"I got an e-mail back from Midwestern and went on a visit," Fambrough said. "I fell in love with the school and thought the coaches were amazing. Later, I went on an official visit and got to spend some time with the girls, where I verbally committed."
Fambrough was also considering Arkansas, albeit strictly for academic purposes, but the chance to play college soccer was an added incentive too good to pass up.
Huff gained interest from Midwestern after attending a camp at the school following her junior year and turning plenty of heads in her audition. Also considering San Angelo State and Florida Gulf Coast, Midwestern's Division II status and general locale were more to Huff's liking.
"It's amazing," Huff said. "It's a really huge accomplishment for me because I've wanted to do this for so long. I'm so proud of myself and proud of all the other girls and guys who signed today as well."
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