ROCHESTER, Mich. -- Oakland women's soccer head coach Juan Pablo Favero has announced Wednesday the addition of 14 student-athletes during the 2018 signing period. The 2018 class is comprised of Natalie Abbate, Carmela Barro, Maria De la Fuente, Fotini Demetriou, Elyssa Holfeld, Jordan Lafferty, Nikki May, Kaylie Peake, Laura Rodrigo, Alexa Sabbagh, Lauryn Souflard, Noëmi Stadelmann, Sophie Wilsey and Kendra Zak.
"We are so excited about the overall quality of this class as we feel we have genuinely addressed every single need we had identified for next year's roster. The class is made up of one goal-keeper, six defenders, three midfielders, and four attackers and since most of them can play in multiple positions, that versatility makes them an even stronger group," Favero said. "While this is certainly a large class, the largest one we plan on bringing in to our program, the quality of it is even more impressive; They are just outstanding in every aspect we value. Every player coming in is extremely technical, athletic, and a great fit for the style of soccer we want to continue to implement. Just as importantly, they are great students with a high level of character and integrity and they will add tremendous value not only to our team, but to the Golden Grizzlies, Oakland University, and our community at large. We really feel like we have scored a "golazo" with this class and can't wait to having them join the rest of our roster in the fall."
The 2018 signing class marks the first for Favero and his staff. Favero was named head coach of the program last March.
"As our returning players continue to invest in themselves and grow, we are optimistic and confident that when the whole team begins to gel during the pre-season, we will have an exciting opportunity to make a huge jump forward as we strive to return Oakland women's soccer to the high levels of success the program has experienced in the past."
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Notre Dame High School
Top goal scorer in the U17 CGSL
2017 U21 Ontario Cup Champions
Among the top three in scoring for the Ontario Youth Soccer League
Why Abbate chose Oakland
Favero on Abbate: "Natalie is a very technical attacking player with great soccer IQ and an uncanny ability to put the ball in the back of the net. We like her versatility as she can play in all three attacking roles for us."
Ferrol, La Coruña, Spain
Ies As Telleiras
Started all 36 games for Racing de Ferrol
Two time Ferrol Cup Champions
Named team MVP four times
Why Barro chose Oakland
Favero on Barro: "Carmela is an extremely technical midfielder who can play in any of the three central midfield roles as well as in our back line. Her vision and great decision making on the ball will be key for us as we continue to build a possession-oriented team."
Maria De la Fuente
Rey Juan Carlos University
Individual interstate tournament champion
Named rookie of the season
Competed five years for Atletico de Madrid
Why De la Fuente chose Oakland
Promising soccer program
Favero on De la Fuente: "María is an incredible outside back from Spain. For those who watch La Liga, she plays the outside back position like Jordi Alba for Barcelona or Marcelo for Real Madrid. Her technical skills are extraordinary, coupled with a very high decision-making ability will make her a dangerous attacking threat down the flank."
Seaholm High School
ECNL U17 National Champions
Two-time Oakland County All-District honoree
Selected as an All-League honoree two times
Why Demetriou chose Oakland
Reputation of University
Favero on Demetriou: "Fo is an extremenly technical and composed player who comes to us from one of the best clubs in the Country. Her experience winning an ECNL National Championship last year is an intangible added value for our program as well."
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
St. Clements School
National runner-up for travel team
Won league title for St. Clements High School
Named team captain for her high school team as a senior
Why Holfeld chose Oakland
Size of University
Welcoming/kind coaching staff
Favero on Holfeld: "Elyssa is a tough and technical defender who can play in any role of our back line. Her speed and athleticism are a welcomed addition, but what we like most about her is her composure on both sides of the ball."
Shadow Ridge High School
Shadow Ridge High School career leader in assists with 38
Named first team all-conference and first team all-region
Why Lafferty chose Oakland
Amazing Engineering Program
The soccer program
Favero on Lafferty: "Jordan is an outstanding midfielder with very high technical and tactical ability. Her relentless work rate and ability to create connectivity in the midfield is something we value highly."
Woodhaven High School
2017 Michigan State Cup Soccer Champion
All-District and All-League selection
Four time letterwinner and two-year captain
Why May chose Oakland
Close to home
Favero on May: "Nikki is another outstanding addition to our back line as an outside back. Her athleticism, speed and ability to attack out of the back will help our team tremendously."
Troy Athens High School
Made three ECNL playoff appearances with Vardar
ECNL five year starter
Four time honor roll honoree
Why Peake chose Oakland
Great nursing program
Close to home and great atmosphere
The soccer program
Favero on Peake: "Kaylie is a very tough central defender, who comes to us from Vardar, so definitely a home-grown product. What has been most impressive about Kaylie is her grit and determination and that toughness is something we love seeing in all players but specially incoming freshmen."
St. Francisca Javier Cabrini
Was the team's top scorer in 2016-17, netting 25 goals
Earned the Lennart Johansson Trophy in 2014
Donosti Cup winner
Why Rodrigo chose Oakland
Earn a degree
To better learn English
Favero on Rodrigo: "Laura is a true winger whose crafty technical ability and creativity on the ball will be fun for all to watch next year. Also from Spain, her way of reading the game is a perfect fit for how we aim to play in the future."
Dearborn High School
Led her team in scoring as a sophomore with 40 goals
Named 2016 Offensive MVP
U17 Michigan Hawks ECNL National Champions
Why Sabbagh chose Oakland
The coaching staff
Close to home
Great medical program
Favero on Sabbagh: "Alexa is an extremely versatile player from Hawks. She can literally play in all three lines on the field and her experience playing in the DA as well as winning an ECNL national championship last year gives her an invaluable mental edge we will be counting on as well."
Played six years of club soccer
Made it to the 64th French Cup FInal
Appeared in three finals with club team
Why Souflard chose Oakland
To play soccer at a high level
The soccer program
Favero on Souflard: "Lauryn is yet another very talented attacking player who can play both as a center forward or attacking midfielder. Her creativity and ability on the ball will make her a goal scoring threat for us next year."
Gymnasium Liestal Switzerland
Switzerland U17 European Championship runner-up
FC Basel U19 Swiss Championship runner-up
Allowed zero goals in an entire season for the FC Basel U19 team
Why Stadelmann chose Oakland
Chance of building something new and important
Favero on Stadelmann: "Noëmi's high-level experience with the Swiss U-19 National team is an intangible asset to our program in one of the most important positions in our game. She has great size, great hands and great presence in goal and we look forward to seeing her in the Black and Gold."
Laingsburg High School
2017 team MVP
Four time Nike Classic Cup Champion
Four time Canton Cup Champion
Why Wilsey chose Oakland
Campus and location
Favero on Wilsey: "Sophie, is a dominating presence who can play both as a centerback or defensive midfielder. Her ability in the air, as well as her composure on the ball are two things that stand out, but she is a very complete soccer player."
West Bloomfield, Mich.
Concordia International School Shanghai
Two time All-APAC selection
2016 Shanghai International Schools Association Conference (SISAC) Champions
2016 Asia Pacific Athletic Conference (APAC) Champions
Why Zak chose Oakland
Favero on Zak: "Kendra is a versatile player with a unique journey to division I soccer. Super technical, and composed on the ball, but also an extremely hard working player who can play in several areas of the field for us."