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Sports >  Gonzaga athletics

Trio of area prep girls soccer players sign with Gonzaga

Nov. 16, 2022 Updated Wed., Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.

By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

It was a special Spokane signing day for Gonzaga women’s soccer as three area stars confirmed their commitment to the Bulldogs for 2023.

On Nov. 10, Emily Todd, Abbie Sicilia and Makayla Werner signed their offers, cementing a 10-woman recruiting class for the Zags.

Todd, a North Central forward and midfielder, orally committed a few weeks ago. She was unaware that signing day was approaching, but when the day came, she was excited for the moment.

Some of her family missed the moment in person, but she was able to FaceTime her sisters, who are in college.

“To see how many people were supportive, and I couldn’t have done it without any of them, it’s really exciting,” Todd said.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking to play at a Division I school, but it’s a good nerve-wracking feeling, and I’m so excited. And I really just can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Todd grew up going to GU basketball and soccer games, so being a part of the Bulldogs was a natural step.

It also helped that after a camp this summer, Zags head coach Chris Watkins came up to her and said she was one of the best people he watched. She said it was an eye-opening experience.

While Todd was undecided until recently, Sicilia had been committed to GU since July 2021.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for a really long time to like make it official,” the West Valley defender said.

Todd and Sicilia play for the Spokane Sounders and Werner suits up for Crossfire in Redmond, Washington.

But the three have played with and against each other for years.

“It’s awesome that we can all stay close to home, I mean going (Division I) is so exciting, so congratulations to both of them,” Sicilia said.

For Werner, a Freeman forward, her oral commitment day was in July, but signing day cemented her dream becoming a reality .

“With Gonzaga, living here and going to a bunch of the games and seeing the culture is so cool,” Werner said. “I’m so excited.”

The Bulldogs were one of the first schools to reach out to Werner, but she let the process play out before making her decision. As she went through the steps, GU emerged as the best choice.

It also means that Werner and the other two Spokane girls are joining a Bulldogs team that prides itself in its culture.

The incoming freshmen have created a group text and a Snapchat group as they continue to foster their relationships before next season.

It’s an important step for the girls to get acclimated to each other while they all finish off their high school careers until they meet for practice in 2023 on Luger Field.

GU went on a program-record nine-game unbeaten streak and the 2022 class of seniors had the highest four-season win percentage in program history.

“The Gonzaga women’s program is on the rise,” North Central head coach Matt Leonard said. “So, to be able to send some people there locally speaks very highly of just how good the Spokane soccer environment is.”

Todd will look to bring her multifaceted attack to the Bulldogs after she jumped between attack and midfield roles for club and the Wolfpack.

“We’ve all seen the talent and know what she’s capable of,” Leonard said. “I think when the stakes are a little bit more even, I think a lot of times at North Central we were very overmatched by quite a few things, so for her to rise up it’s no surprise for us. When she continues to play with players who are going to be at that level and even with her and even better, she’s going to have the ability to even show more of what she’s capable of.”

West Valley, in the 13 years that head coach CC Collins has been in charge, hasn’t produced a Division I athlete.

“We have a lot of younger players and to show them that if you put in the work, great things can happen, and they all saw it right in front of them,” Collins said. “And so, it’s just it’s really motivational. We’ve been doing a lot of things as a team, going and watching college athletes and things like that and they’re all excited to go watch her play next year.”

Sicilia was team captain in 2022, even though she already was a team leader. She was an easy choice for Collins and the team.

“At the beginning of the season, we sat down and talked about what we wanted out of this season, and she said that she was going to make sure that the team would work really hard,” Collins said.

“She set the tone for our team and the team ended up following her. They all listened, and we had a lot of success this season.”

Freeman head coach Dave Ellis has been coaching Werner since she was 7 years old, first as her club coach when she was on the Sounders and now during her time with the Scotties.

When she was 8 or 9, Werner earned a superlative at an end-of-season banquet. Her award was “most likely to take the head coach’s job,” Ellis said.

“She is one of the hardest-working kids you’ll ever find,” Ellis said. “She is an intelligent player, a student of the game.”

Werner also skipped a grade. While she is the same grade as everyone else, she is physically a year behind, which makes the jump from a 1A high school to a Division I college that much more impressive.

“It’s a testament to Spokane Sounders and shows the development that club soccer does to put three girls into a top program right in our backyard,” Ellis said.

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