STARKVILLE, Miss. - Four in-state products, a talented duo from Alabama and one player each from Tennessee and North Carolina comprise the eight-member 2006 Mississippi State soccer recruiting class announced Monday morning by head coach Neil Macdonald.
The class marks the third-straight year the Bulldogs have inked an eight-member signing class, but the largest crop from the state of Mississippi in the history of the program. Four soccer players completed their final year of eligibility for the Maroon and White this past season. The 2006 roster is expected to reach at least 28 student-athletes.
"I think that we signed a quality group," Macdonald said "There are a lot of natural leaders in the group and, with this signing class, we will be filling key positions on the field. You always need square pegs for square holes and, this year, we got it."
Mississippi State began Spring workouts on Monday afternoon and will continue offseason work until the end of April. The team will report for Fall practice in early August with the Bulldogs opening their 2006 campaign with an exhibition game later in the month.
MADISON BRAKEFIELD, D/M, 5-3, HUNTSVILLE, ALA. (GRISSOM HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Prepped at Grissom High School for coach Erick Chomskis … Played club soccer for Vestavia Attack and coach Jason Lockhart … Played and started all 24 games for Grissom and helped lead the Tigers to a 15-7-2, the semifinals of the state tournament and a no. 2 ranking in the state … Scored 60 points and led her team with 23 goals as well as 14 assists en route to garnering all-metro honors from The Huntsville Times … Also earned Grissom's most valuable player and best offensive player awards … Helped lead Vestavia Attack to semifinal appearances at both the Disney Classic and Germantown Shootout tournaments, while also pacing the team to a pair of state championships … A six-year participant (2000-05) in the state of Alabama Olympic Development Program.
PERSONAL: Born Madison Lange Brakefield on May 11, 1988, in Huntsville, Ala. … Daughter of Julie and George Brakefield … Has an older sister, Mandy, and a younger brother, Tanner … A nominee for the 2006 National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON BRAKEFIELD: "Madison is athletic and very quick. She reads the game extremely well from any defensive position and has the ability to break up plays before they begin. She also has good natural leadership qualities."
HEATHER BUTTREY, D/M, 5-6, CHARLOTTE, N.C. (PROVIDENCE SENIOR HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Prepped at Providence Senior High School for coach Jeff Mercado … Played club soccer for the Charlotte Soccer Club and coach Sean Bubb … Has not started her senior season of prep soccer … Played and started all 22 games as a prep junior and helped her team live up to its second consecutive preseason top 5 ranking with a trip to the quarterfinals of the state tournament … As the team captain for the second-straight year, scored 18 points on five goals and eight assists … Earned Providence's leadership award … Played and started every game for Charlotte S.C., scoring 10 points on a pair of goals and six assists en route to a trip to the championship game of the WAGS tournament, as well as its fifth consecutive state championship … A four-year participant (2002-05) in the state of North Carolina Olympic Development Program where she was a member of the state team, as well as the regional pool.
PERSONAL: Born Heather Joy Buttrey on Oct. 15, 1987, in St. Claire, Mich. … Daughter of Robin and Dan Buttrey … Has an older sister, Danielle, and a younger brother, Ty … Father was a standout baseball player at Northwood University … A member of her high school honor roll while also ranked in the top half of her 550-member senior class at Providence having maintained a 3.87 grade point average … Voted "Most Athletic" girl at Providence and was a member of the homecoming court … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON BUTTREY: "Heather is very versatile in that she is very good with her left or right foot. She is very athletic with good pace and her versatility will allow her to step into a number of different roles for us."
KATELYN GRABEN, F/M, 5-4, GULFPORT, MISS. (GULFPORT HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Enrolled at Mississippi State in January and will participate with the Bulldogs in Spring drills … Prepped at Gulfport High School for coach Chris Pryor … Played club soccer for Mississippi United and coach David Johnson … Played and started all 24 games for Gulfport as a prep junior and helped lead the Admirals to a 19-4-1 record … Scored 54 points on 20 goals and 14 assists en route to her second consecutive first team all-state nod from the Mississippi Association of Coaches … Also earned first team all-district accolades and all-coast laurels from the Biloxi Sun-Herald for the second-straight year … Earned three consecutive team most valuable player and best offensive player honors … Helped lead Mississippi United to five consecutive state championships, a runner-up finish at the 2005 regional tournament and a no. 6 national ranking … A four-year participant (2002-05) in the state of Mississippi Olympic Development Program.
PERSONAL: Born Katelyn Louise Graben on Dec. 7, 1987, in Gulfport, Miss. … Daughter of Nance and Steve Graben … Has an older sister, LeeAnn, and an older brother, Drew … Member of Gulfport's academic honor roll and ranks in the top 18 percent of her 297-member senior class … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON GRABEN: "Katelyn is a very good technical player. She has a good turn of pace and she has tremendous potential for growth. Once she gets into the college environment she will prosper very quickly."
LAURA HAMM, GK, 5-7, TUPELO, MISS. (TUPELO HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Prepped at Tupelo High School for coaches Shelley Miller and Mark Enis… Played club soccer for the Memphis Futbol Club and coach Richard Bute … Also played club soccer for Tupelo Futbol Club and coach Phil Nash … Has played and started every game in goal for Tupelo since her 8th grade year while helping to lead the Golden Wave to a 13-0-2 record and a top ranking in the state by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger this season … Has allowed just four goals in 1,311 minutes of playing time for a goals against average of 0.27 … Has also logged more than 50 saves … In addition, her 14 shutouts this season brings her prep career total to 69 … Played and started all 22 games as a prep junior for Tupelo and helped lead the Golden Wave to its second consecutive 5A state championship while recording 86 saves … Garnered first team all-state laurels from the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) and was a Clarion-Ledger all-star selection … Led Tupelo to consecutive state championships in 2003 and 2004 … Recipient of Gatorade's "Will to Win" award, while also being named the Clarion-Ledger's state player of the week on two occasions … Also lettered three times in track and field at Tupelo where she was a state qualifier in the pole vault in 2005 after winning the event in the 5A north state meet in 2004 … Helped lead Memphis F.C. to the finals of the 2004 Tennessee state tournament after leading Tupelo to runner-up finishes the previous three seasons … A five-year participant (2000-04) in the state of Mississippi Olympic Development Program and was a region pool selection in 2004.
PERSONAL: Born Laura Elizabeth Hamm on Dec. 14, 1987, in Flowood, Miss. … Daughter of Elizabeth and Jeff Hamm … Has a younger brother, Jeff, and a younger sister, Leslie … Great uncle, Bob Stevens, is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame … Member of Tupelo High's National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society … A recipient of Cellular South's Scholar-Athlete of the Month award … Ranks in the top eight percent of her 342-member senior class while maintaining a 3.882 grade point average … Expecting to major in English or Political Science at MSU.
MACDONALD ON HAMM: "Laura is a very solid goalkeeper and a great shot-stopper. She is a natural leader on and off the field and does a very good job of organizing her defensive unit because she is a good communicator."
KATIE LYNN HARDEN, M, 5-6, MADISON, MISS. (MADISON CENTRAL HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Prepped at Madison Central High School for coach Mike Curley … Played club soccer for Mississippi United and coach David Johnson … Has played and started all 24 games for Madison Central this season while captaining the Jaguars to a 18-2-4 record and a second place ranking in the state by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger … Played and started all 24 games as a prep junior and captained Madison Central to a 23-1-0 record and the 5A state championship … Named a first team all-state selection by both the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) … Also garnered State Player of the Week honors several times by the Clarion-Ledger … Helped lead Mississippi United to five consecutive state championships, a runner-up finish at the 2005 regional tournament and a no. 6 national ranking … A two-year participant (2003-04) in the state of Mississippi Olympic Development Program.
PERSONAL: Born Katie Lynn Harden on Sept. 23, 1987, in Jackson, Miss. … Daughter of Penni Shirley and Mike Harden … Has a younger brother, Christian Michael, and a younger sister, Amanda Claire … A member of the A honor roll and the AB honor roll at Madison Central while maintaining a 95.464 grade point average … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON HARDEN: "Katie Lynn is a true leader. She is also a very intelligent soccer player who reads the game well. She always looks to play away from pressure and will be a real asset for us in the center of the park."
TARYN HOLLAND, GK, 5-11, FRANKLIN, TENN. (FRANKLIN HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Prepped at Franklin High School for coach Jimmy Burchett … Played club soccer for Diadora Impact and coach Laban Defriese … Accumulated a 66-18-10 record, including a 22-3-0 playoff clip, as a four-year starter at Franklin while also tallying 371 saves, 30 career shutouts and a pair of 3A state championships … Played and started all 20 games in goal for the Lady Rebels as a prep senior and helped lead her prep squad to an 11-6-3 record … Surrendered 19 goals in 1,860 minutes of playing time for a goals against average of 0.91 … Also tallied 77 saves and seven shutouts … Earned her district's defensive MVP laurel … Earned Midstate goalkeeper of the year accolades while also garnering a spot on the all-region team as well … Collected all-state accolades from both the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association and the Tennessee Sportswriters Association … Also earned all-county honors for the third time in four years … Also lettered in basketball at Franklin, earning all-district team and all-district tournament team honors as a junior … Helped lead Diadora Impact to four consecutive state championships and a pair of trips to the Region III quarterfinals … In her last two seasons with the Impact, amassed 50 shutouts and an 0.51 goals against average … A one-year participant (2005) in the state of Tennessee Olympic Development Program.
PERSONAL: Born Taryn Donnell Holland on April 24, 1988, in Raleigh, N.C. … Daughter of Robbin and William Holland … Has two older brothers, Jared and Drew … Jared is a rising junior tight end for the football team at Western Kentucky, while Drew is a sophomore at Chattanooga and a member of the student senate … Has been a member of Franklin's honor roll for all four years of her prep academic career while maintaining a 3.2 grade point average … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON HOLLAND: "Taryn is incredibly athletic and very quick. Again, she is someone with natural leadership abilities because she has such a big personality. She has the ability to make incredible saves and commands her 18-yard box."
ASHLEY HOOD, M/F, 5-7, HUNTSVILLE, ALA. (HOMESCHOOLED)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Attended A Beka Home School ... Played club soccer for Vestavia Hills Attack and coach Jason Lockhart … Lettered twice in soccer at Buckhorn High School and earned all-metro honors as an eighth and ninth grader … Also garnered all-county honors in ninth grade … Helped lead Vestavia Attack to semifinal appearances at both the Disney Classic and Germantown Shootout tournaments, while also pacing the team to a pair of state championships … Played 90 percent of the minutes over the last two seasons and lists one of her club highlights as scoring a goal last season in an exhibition game with Auburn University … A six-year participant (2000-05) in the state of Alabama Olympic Development Program.
PERSONAL: Born Ashley Nicole Hood on April 12, 1988, in Lancaster, Calif. … Daughter of Cheryl and Bryon Hood … Has an older sister, Shelly, and an older brother, Travis … A member of the National Honor Society while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average … Recipient of award for Academic Excellence in U.S. History … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON HOOD: "Ashley is a very skillful player who is both left- and right-footed. She is a very good 18-to-18 player and her versatility will allow her to play a number of different attacking roles."
HANNAH TYLER, F, 5-2, FLOWOOD, MISS. (NORTHWEST RANKIN HS)HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Prepped at Northwest Rankin High School for coach Montgomery Hinton … Played club soccer for Mississippi United and coach David Johnson … Has played and started all 24 games for Northwest Rankin this season, scoring 76 points on 25 goals and 26 assists in leading the Cougars to a 20-4 record and a sixth place ranking in the state … Played and started all 24 games in captaining the Cougars to a 18-6 record and a spot in the state tournament as a prep junior … Scored 81 points on 29 goals and 23 assists … Earned Rankin County Player of the Year laurels, while also garnering first team all-state laurels … Helped lead Mississippi United to five consecutive state championships, a runner-up finish at the 2005 regional tournament and a no. 6 national ranking … A five-year participant (2000-04) in the state of Mississippi Olympic Development Program where she was a member of the Region III pool.
PERSONAL: Born Hannah Dee Tyler on March 23, 1988, in Jackson, Miss. … Daughter of Amanda and Mark Tyler … Has an older brother, John Mark, who currently plays soccer at the University of Evansville … A four-year honor roll selection at Northwest Rankin … Currently ranks in the top 28 percent of her 235-member senior class while maintaining a 3.9 GPA … Selected for Who's Who Among American High School Athletes … Selected as Most Athletic girl at Northwest Rankin … Undecided on a major at MSU.
MACDONALD ON TYLER: "Hannah is a player's player. She has incredible work ethic and is very versatile. She has proven herself at every level in all positions. She is very quick and she leads by example every time she steps on the field."