LEHI — During their time together on the soccer field, the U-18 team affiliated with Utah Avalanche has accomplished things other club soccer teams in the state could only dream of doing.
The defending State Cup champions recently won the super division title at the 2009 Surf Cup in San Diego — becoming the first girls team from Utah to do so in the 45-year history of the tournament.
On Wednesday evening, the Avalanche added another distinction to their growing list of accomplishments when every single player on the U-18 roster signed a letter of intent to play soccer at the NCAA Division I level at a signing party in Lehi.
It is certainly unheard of for an entire girls soccer team in Utah to make it to the collegiate level en masse. And the specialness of the moment was not lost on the Avalanche players.
"Every single girl on this team has so much talent," said national player of the year, Kealia Ohai, one of the team captains. "It's just really cool to say that everyone is signing. This team is really talented and now everyone can see that."
The schools where many of the players committed to play speaks volumes concerning that talent.
Ohai, of course, gained a ton of notoriety when she committed to play for North Carolina — the most successful collegiate soccer program in NCAA history — shortly after her junior season.
Beyond Ohai, there were other notable signings.
Lehi stars Kyleigh Royall and Harley Spier signed with BYU and the University of Utah respectively. Bingham goalkeeper Cheyenne Mulcock also joined Spier in signing with the Utes.
Woods Cross standout Kendra Pemberton signed with Utah State. So did former Alta forward Lauren Roundy. Other in-state signees included Alexa Pulley, who signed with Utah Valley, and Kristy Baron, who will play for Southern Utah.
UNLV, Santa Clara and Virginia Commonwealth University all picked up a pair of Avalanche players as well. Included in this latter group were Bingham defender Shay Haddow, who will play for VCU, and Alta standouts Lexy Webber and Jackie Tillotson — both of whom will join up with the Rebels.
Little drama occurred on the actual signing day concerning where each of these players would be headed. Nearly all of them had made verbal commitments to their respective colleges after their junior seasons in high school.
For them, it was less a time of revelation and more a time for celebration.
"It's really nice to make it official," Royall said. "I just feel like I'm getting closer to going there. I'm just excited. It's made me more excited to play there (at BYU)."
Together, the Avalanche players constitute a formidable group. They are currently ranked No. 5 nationally among club soccer teams and are second in the Western Region.
Many of them have enjoyed success in the high school ranks as well. Several of the Avalanche players helped Alta win its fourth consecutive state title in the fall.
For all of these teammates who finally made their plans to play college soccer official, it represents the payoff of what they have been working towards for the past several years.
"When I was young I wasn't expecting to go to college and play soccer," Mulcock said. "But the further on I went in playing soccer, it became what I wanted to do."
Avalanche U-18 signings
Kristy Baron - Southern Utah University - Hunter High School
Shay Haddow - Virginia Commonwealth University - Bingham High School
Taisha Long - University of the Pacific - Alta High School
Maddie Malmquist - Northern Arizona University - Hillcrest High School
Cheyanne Mulcock - University of Utah - Bingham High School
Kealia Ohai - University of North Carolina - Alta High School
Kendra Pemberton - Utah State University - Woods Cross High School
Alexa Pulley - Utah Valley University - Alta High School61 comments on this story
Ellie Rice - Santa Clara University
Brooke Rice - Santa Clara University
Jordyn Rolling - Virginia Commonwealth University - Northridge High School
Lauren Roundy - Utah State University - Alta High School
Kyleigh Royall - Brigham Young University - Lehi High School
Harley Spier - University of Utah - Lehi High School
Jackie Tillotson - University of Nevada Las Vegas - Alta High School
Lexy Webber - University of Nevada Las Vegas - Alta High School
Megan Mower - Southern Utah University - Lone Peak High School