IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa soccer program signed seven players that will join the Hawkeyes in the fall, it was announced Thursday by head coach Dave DiIanni.
The class includes forwards Skylar Alward and Jenny Cape, midfielder Hailey Rydberg, defenders Riley Burns, Sara Wheaton, and Riley Whitaker, and goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm.
Four of the seven-player class are from Illinois, and players also hail from Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, and Wisconsin.
“Our class of 2018 is a good combination of speed, competitiveness, and talent,” said DiIanni. “This class will enter into the program and immediately give us a deeper, more talented roster to help us continue the journey of climbing the ladder in the Big Ten Conference.
“This a highly-rated group of players who are equally gifted in the classroom. They will represent Hawkeye Nation very well.”
The seven players join forward Adrianna Naumoski and goalkeeper Zoey Slettehaugh, who joined the program in January.
2018 Iowa Soccer Recruiting Class
|Skylar Alward||F||5-7||Littleton, Colo./Columbine|
|Riley Burns||D||5-5||Green Oaks, Ill./Loyola Academy|
|Jenny Cape||F||5-9||Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central|
|Hailey Rydberg||M||5-8||St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North|
|Sara Wheaton||D||5-6||Chandler, Ariz./Basha|
|Riley Whitaker||D||5-6||Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny|
|Monica Wilhelm||GK||5-10||Antioch, Ill./Antioch Community|
5-7, Fr., Forward
Columbine High School
High School — Two-time Jeffco League honorable mention all-conference selection… has scored 21 goals and tallied 10 assists in three seasons… helped team to three 5A Jefferson County titles and a state semifinals appearance as a sophomore… has played club soccer for the Colorado Rush since 2007… 2015 Region IV President’s Cup semifinalist… ranked fifth in region in scoring… led Rush ECNL team to 2017 North American Cup championship… three-time Jeffco League Academic Honor Roll member in basketball and soccer… two-time CHSAA Academic All-State and CHSAA Academic Team Championship Award honoree… member of the National Honor Society… also was an all-conference point guard in basketball and a 2015 U.S. Junior National Mountain Madness All-Star… high school coaches were Brian Todd and Nick Cavarra… club coach was Peter May.
Personal — Daughter of Scott and Christine Alward… has a younger brother, Tristan… majoring in health & human physiology (pre-med).
Why Iowa? — “It was during our tour that I fell in love with Iowa — the campus, environment, coaches, everything. My parents always told me college would be some of the best years of my life, and I knew Iowa was the school for me both academically and for soccer. I left campus feeling that if I chose to play soccer for Iowa, I would thrive and grow as a player and person. I wouldn’t want to play for any other school and I am so happy and excited for my future as a Hawkeye.”
DiIanni on Alward — “Skylar has an incredible work ethic and competitive spirit. She has the ability to stretch the game behind the line, be a connector, and link up with players. She is a very good first line of defense forward who will work incredibly hard to win the ball back.”
Riley Burns (@rileysburns)
5-5, Fr., Defender
Green Oaks, Ill.
High School — Two-time all-conference selection… all-area and team MVP as a sophomore… team captain as a junior and senior… missed junior season because of injury… has scored eight goals and tallied 12 assists… led team to a 39-8-6 record as a freshman and sophomore and to GCAC and regional titles… played club soccer for FC United UC13-17, where she was team captain… was a 2017 Phoenix President’s Day Tournament finalist, 2016 San Diego Surf Cup semifinalist, and 2016 CASL Showcase champion… also a member of the U-18 FC United Developmental Academy Team… played on the Illinois ODP team for five years, helping team to a 2016 title… also played in Region 2 ODP ID Camp in 2016… Loyola Honors Scholar from 2015-18… high school coach was Craig Snower… club coaches were Craig Snower and John Soltani.
Personal — Born March 18, 2000… daughter of Bill and Heidi Burns… has three siblings — Corey, Johnny, and Devin… Corey played soccer at Iowa from 2013-17, while Devin is a junior for the Hawkeyes… pre-medicine major.
Why Iowa? — “I chose Iowa because Iowa is family to me. Being a Hawkeye has always been in my blood. I love everyone and everything about Iowa. I love the traditions and welcoming atmosphere of everyone who attends. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to wear the Hawkeye jersey, so attending Iowa is an honor. I always have and always will bleed black and gold.”
DiIanni on Burns — “Riley is a versatile player, who can play in all three lines on the field. She has great composure on the ball and is a very technical player. Riley understands and reads the game at a very high level. She is one of three Burns sisters to come through the Iowa soccer program, so she understands the commitment required to be successful.”
Jenny Cape (@cape_jenny)
5-9, Fr., Forward
Brookfield Central High School
High School — Two-time all-conference selection… Team MVP as a junior after scoring 17 goals and tallying 14 assists for a 17-win team… voted as team Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore after scoring 13 goals and registering 15 assists… scored eight goals and had six assists as a freshman… helped team to a state title as a junior and three Greater Metro Conference titles… played club soccer for SC Waukesha from 2009-17, where team was a five-time state champion and a 2015 Midwest Region semifinalist… also played for Elmbrook United in 2017-18, where she was team captain… 2018 National Merit semifinalist… four-year Honor Roll… 2017 AP Scholar Award… 2018 Presidential Scholar candidate… class secretary from 2014-16… also played basketball, where she was team captain as a senior… high school coach was Dan Maki… club coaches were Xavi Rico, Pat White, and Troy Dusosky.
Personal — Born March 2, 2000… daughter of Chad and Debbie Cape… has three siblings, Ryan, Emily, and Leah… mother ran cross country at Cornell University, father rowed at Cornell University… majoring in biomedical sciences.
Why Iowa? — “I am excited to play soccer at the University of Iowa because it is a prestigious institution as well as an outstanding Big Ten soccer program. The coaching staff at Iowa has an impressive track record in building great programs, and I look forward to adding onto the team’s past success. As a leader in health sciences, Iowa is also a great place to pursue my interest in the medical field. For all of these reasons and many more, I am proud to be part of Iowa’s class of 2022.”
DiIanni on Cape — “Jenny is someone we have known about for two years since she came to our camp in the summer and performed well. She is a crafty and elusive left-footed forward who can be dangerous on set pieces and in the final 1/3 service from the width.”
Hailey Rydberg (@hailey_rydberg)
5-8, Fr., Midfielder
St. Charles, Ill.
St. Charles North High School
High School — All-American and all-state honoree as a junior… team MVP as a junior and senior… three-time all-conference, three-time all-sectional (honorable mention as a freshman), two-time Kane County Chronicle All-Area team, and two-time Daily Herald All-Area team honoree… helped team to three conference titles… played club soccer for Campton United for 10 years… three-time academic all-conference selection… high school coaches were Brian Harks and Eric Wilson… club coach was Scotty Keena.
Personal — Born Jan. 10, 2000… daughter of Tom and Janelle Rydberg… has two silbings, Abby and Sami… cousin, Oliver Scott, swims at Auburn… undecided on a major.
Why Iowa? — “I chose Iowa because I liked the environment and community. The people and coaches are amazing and it is a good distance away to still make me feel at home.”
DiIanni on Rydberg — “Hailey is very good with an elite level frame and soccer mind. She can play anywhere in the midfield and is effective off the dribble or a final pass. She has a knack for scoring goals and leading her team with her work ethic and competitiveness. We look for Hailey to make an immediate impact next year.”
5-9, Fr., Defender
Basha High School
High School — All-Chandler Unified School District and first-team all-section honoree as a sophomore… played National League during junior and senior seasons… played for the Arsenal Soccer Club from 2008-11, 2000 Premier Girls Black San Tan Legacy Soccer Club from 2011-16… 200 Red Girls state champion in 2012, 2013, and 2015… member of the Scottsdale Blackhawks from 2016 on… 2000 Girls Taylor state champions in 2017 and National League Red Division champions in 2017… 4.0 and Above Honors Recipient from 2014-18… member of National Honor Society… high school coach was Greg Johnson… club coach was Paul Taylor.
Personal — Born May 25, 2000… daughter of Tim and Brandy Wheaton… has two brothers, Justin and Ryan… majoring in criminology.
Why Iowa? — “I chose to continue my soccer and academic career at the University of Iowa because of the overall excellence the school provides. Getting a degree from a Big Ten university is something that is appealing to me and growing up in Arizona, I knew I wanted to go somewhere that had seasons. The school offers a wide range of academic courses, while providing an outstanding soccer experience. I fell in love with the coaching staff, players, and facilities instantly. My mom’s side of the family is from Iowa so I often visited the area. I fell in love with it as a little girl and it is a-dream-come-true that I get to be a Hawkeye the next four years.”
DiIanni on Wheaton — “Sara is a natural leader whose teammates have the utmost respect for as a soccer player and person. She is composed on the ball, has good range of pass, and is a good individual defender. She has the ability to be dominant in the air all over the field.”
Riley Whitaker (@rileywhitaker07)
5-6, Fr., Defender
Ankeny High School
High School — Played club soccer, competing for the Iowa Rush since 2004… was a State Cup champion from 2013-14 and 2016-18… helped team to Region II Championships from 2013-18 and to a Midwest Regional League title in 2018… member of the Rush National Select Team from 2013-15 — a team that trained in Europe… Rush team captain… played on the 1999 Iowa ODP State Team from 2012-15… was a Region II Camp participant from 2012-15 and was in the Region II Pool in 2015… played for the Michigan Hawks club team in 2015-16… recipient of the Presidential Academic Achievement Award and was on the Honor Roll… member of the National Honor Society… club coach was Daryl Brazeau.
Personal — Born Sept. 10, 1999… daughter of Kyle Whitaker and Becky Neal… has six siblings, Cole Whitaker, Adam Neal, Noah Neal, Haley Neal, Brandon Angus, and Reagan Angus… majoring in human physiology.
Why Iowa? — “I chose to attend the University of Iowa because when I visited the campus it felt like home. I appreciated the quality of the coaching staff and felt they would push me to my full potential. I also felt that Iowa would give me a good education in the major I wanted to pursue.”
DiIanni on Whitaker — “Riley is a versatile left-footed player who can play as a defender or a forward with room to grow into a central player. She loves to play the game and is a soccer junkie who will improve every year at Iowa. She has good range of pass and can strike a ball from distance.”
5-10, Fr., Goalkeeper
Antioch Community High School
High School — Team MVP and team captain as a junior… three-time all-conference, all-area, and all-sectional honoree (honorable mention all-sectional as freshman and sophomore)… has led team to 35 victories in first three seasons (35-24-9 record)… has made 263 saves and posted 30 shutouts in 68 career games.. had 82 saves and eight shutouts as a freshman, 93 saves and 10 shutouts as a sophomore, and 88 saves and 12 shutouts as a junior… led team to the regional final in 2015 and 2017… played club soccer for Lindenhurst Area Soccer Club from 2007-16… also played at FC United Pre Academy from 2016-18… team was the Disney Showcase Champions in 2017, was a regional qualifier in 2017-18, a State Cup finalist in 2017, and played in the National League… named to the 4.0 Academic Honor Roll all four years… was a Ben Carson Scholar… named to National German Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Quill & Scroll International Journalism Honor Society… high school coaches were Marni Polakow and Matthew Bohmann… club coach was Craig Snower.
Personal — Born Feb. 26, 2000… daughter of Rick and Tricia Wilhelm… has an older brother, Steven… intends to major in education or athletic training.
Why Iowa? — “I chose Iowa because it has quickly become a place that I cannot wait to call home. From the moment I stepped foot on the University of Iowa, I instantly fell in love with the Hawkeye pride that can be seen across the nation, the welcoming campus, and the ??outstanding women’s soccer program. For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to play Big Ten soccer. Having the opportunity to play for a school with high academic standards as well as a soccer program with such dedication, passion, and talent is surreal to me. Every day I get closer to becoming a Hawkeye, and I have never felt more ready to fight for Iowa.”
DiIanni on Wilhelm — “Monica is a great athlete with a lot of potential. She does a good job moving her feet and covering ground and is dominant inside the box. She has shown the ability to make big saves and keep her team in games.”