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Penn State Women’s Soccer Announces 2021 Signing Class

Penn State women’s soccer will add seven new players to the squad for the fall 2021 season, the program announced Monday.

Erica Dambach kept with her tradition of looking well outside Pennsylvania’s borders for new recruits. Midfielder Julia Raich is the single in-state recruit and will join current freshman Ellie Kershner as the only other player on the roster from the Keystone State.

If the program is going to be picky about Pennsylvanians, then Raich was the correct choice for the 2021 class. She has frequented most of TopDrawerSoccer’s top recruit rankings and has a chance to immediately slot into the rotation next year once Sam Coffey and Frankie Tagliaferri leave.

Raich is one of two midfielders in the newest recruiting class. The other, Riley Gleason, is likely the star of the group.

Gleason, a California native, has played for the under-15 and under-17 United States national teams and won two California State Cups, a prestigious championship at the youth club level.

“Riley’s passing range and ability to play with different weight and texture set her apart as does her incredible character,” Dambach said. “From the moment we met Riley, we knew she would fit our culture and style of play incredibly well.”

Versatile lefty Kara Ogden joins Gleason as the other Californian joining the team in the fall. Ogden can play on both sides of the ball, which will be a big draw for Dambach next year. The Coto de Caza native excels off the field as well, finishing her time at Tesoro High School as Valedictorian.

For yet another year, Dambach looked outside of the United States for talent. This season, German Mieke Schiemann will join the Nittany Lions after extensive experiences with the German youth national teams.

Schiemann will head to Central Pennsylvania after playing professionally with Turbine Potsdam, the same club Penn State alumnus and current United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher played for between 2011 and 2013. Ohio-born goalkeeper Amanda Poorbaugh, another member of the 2021 class, also has experience playing in Europe after living and playing youth soccer in Amsterdam from 2013 to 2016.

The last two 2021 recruits bring an attacking threat for Dambach. Jilly Shimkin of Rockville Center, New York can play in any of the front six positions, while versatile goal-scorer Sofia Mancino was named to New Jersey’s All-State team in 2020.

“Sofia is joining us after a highly successful high school and club career and embodies the ‘blue collar’ pillar that we take such pride in as a program,” Dambach said. “Sofia is incredibly competitive and also possesses excellent versatility that could see her impact the team in multiple positions.”

While the seven new recruits wait for the fall to make an impact for Penn State, Dambach’s current team will play its second game of the season against Northwestern on Thursday. Kickoff in Evanston is set for 8 p.m. on BTN+.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons


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