GREENVILLE, N.C. – Coming off the third AAC Championship appearance in four seasons, the East Carolina soccer team will add seven players to the program for the 2022 season, as announced by head coach Jason Hamilton on Wednesday.
“I think the one thing that jumps out about this class is the size and athleticism that is coming in,” said Hamilton. “This is a really good group of young ladies with a lot of quality. We think they will have an immediate impact on the program when they arrive both on and off the field.”
Savannah Hauser – Wake Forest, N.C. – NCFC
Savannah Hauser arrives in Greenville after playing for Wake Forest High School as well as NCFC. Hauser has been a starter at Wake Forest since her freshman campaign and has led the Cougars to a 18-10-3 record in her time there. The Wake Forest, N.C., native is a two-time All-Conference selection and was named All-Region as well as her team’s MVP during her junior season. She will serve as a team captain during her senior campaign this spring. On the club side, she has helped NCFC earn a pair of berths in the ECNL National Playoffs, including reaching the Champions League phase as a freshman. She has been on the Dean’s List throughout her academic career and was an All-Conference Academic selection.
Hamilton on Hauser: “Savanah was one that we met very early in our time here at ECU. She is a long-time Pirate fan and had us at the top of her list. We have been able to watch her over the years being closer to us, and she has continued to get better and better each year. She is a big strong player, she is good in the air and has a good range of pass, all good qualities you want from a central defender.”
Maddie Milliron – Harrisburg, N.C. – Charlotte Independence
Maddie Milliron joins the Purple and Gold after four seasons playing for Hickory Ridge High School and the Charlotte Independence Soccer Club. Milliron has been the captain of the Charlotte Independence since her freshman season and has racked up 12 goals and 19 assists during her career. She helped the Independence reach the ECNL National Postseason a year ago and will have a chance to do the same in her final prep season. In her two seasons representing Hickory Ridge, Milliron has scored 33 goals and tallied 12 assists. The Harrisonburg, N.C., product is a two-time All-Conference and All-Region selection and helped lead the Ragin’ Bulls to the third round of the state playoffs in her freshman season. She will serve as team captain during her senior season in the spring of 2022. Milliron was a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club as well.
Hamilton on Milliron: “Maddie is one of three lefties in this class, but her ability to serve balls in makes her a dynamic wide player. She is a physical outside back who has a very good presence on the field. She was a multiyear captain for her club team and will bring leadership qualities to our program.”
Jordan Novak – Strongsville, Ohio – Internationals SC
Jordan Novak joins East Carolina from Strongsville, Ohio where she played for Internationals Soccer Club. Novak has anchored the middle of the defense for Internationals SC each of the past three years as the club competed in the ECNL Ohio Valley Conference. The Strongsville, Ohio product and her club teammates are coming off reaching the ECNL National Championship game this past summer and will be looking to make another run at the title when the ECNL schedule starts this month. Novak has also gone to multiple US Youth National Team Identification Center Trainings as well as the ODP Region II Identification Camps. Novak attends Strongsville High School and she is a four-year Academic Award Recipient and earned is in the Honors Diploma Program of Study.
Hamilton on Novak: “Another left footed player, we see Jordan as someone that could fit in to multiple roles. She is very comfortable on the ball, a good passer, and can get herself out of things. She plays center back for her club, but we have seen her play in the midfield and out wide and do very well.”
Natalie Mitchell – Temecula, Calif. – San Diego Surf
Natalie Mitchell, a native of Temecula, California, will join the Pirates after representing Temecula Valley High School and the San Diego Surf. Mitchell has led the Surf in scoring each of the past three seasons, racking up 35 goals, helping her earn ECNL “Player to Watch” honors as well as becoming an ECNL Conference Selection Program Invitee. While playing with the Sutf, Mitchell has helped her club win the 2018 USCS West Region Championship and reach the semifinals of the UC Club National Cup. The Surf has also won a pair of Man City Cup Championships as well as a Phoenix Cup, Surf Cup and Albion Cup. On the high school side, Mitchell has helped lead Temecula Valley to three-straight Southwestern Conference Championships and reach the 2021 Div 1 CIF quarterfinals. She is a two-time First-Team All-Southwestern Conference selection and was her team’s Offensive Player of the Year and Breakaway Player of the Year a season ago. Mitchell will be a team captain during the 2021-22 campaign and will be looking to add onto her career totals of 20 goals and eight assists. Along with her exploits on the soccer pitch, Mitchell is a four-year member of the school’s track team and holds a 4.0 GPA, earning her a spot on the Principal Honor Roll.
Hamilton on Mitchell: “Natalie is a very good attacking player who will make us a more dynamic offensive team. She can beat players on the dribble, score goals, and has great vision to lead to opportunities for her teammates. She is the type of player that goes out every day on their own to get better and become the best they can be.”
Jazmin Ferguson – Conyers, Ga. – GSA
Jazmin Ferguson arrives in Greenville after representing Heritage High School and Gwinnett Soccer Academy (GSA) during her prep career. Ferguson has been a team captain for GSA since her sophomore season. She is a two-time First-Team All-Region selection and a two-time Region Player nominee. She helped GSA reach the playoffs during her junior campaign. During her freshman season, Ferguson helped GSA finish undefeated in regional play and reach the league’s Final Four, a performance that helped Ferguson earn Defensive Player of the Year honors. Off the field, Ferguson has made Heritage’s Academic Honor Roll.
Hamilton on Ferguson: “Jazmin was highly recruited and one we spent a lot of time on during the process. She is one of the best ball winners I have seen at the youth level. She was a great leader on the field for her club team and someone that we think can become one of the best defenders in the conference. She has very good positioning and overall pace not to get beat.”
Mackenna Gregory – Jacksonville, Fla. – Jacksonville FC
Mackenna heads north to join the Pirates after playing for Bishop Kenney High School and Jacksonville FC. Gregory has bagged 53 goals and 23 assists heading into her senior season at Bishop Kenney. The Jacksonville, Fla., native helped lead Bishop Kenney to a FHSAA Class 4A State Championship in 2020, the first state title in the program’s history. Mitchell has also helped the Crusaders to a pair of District 4, Class 4A titles and a Region 1 Class 4A championship. In her junior season, Gregory was an All-First Coast Girls Soccer Second-Team selection and a All News4Jax Girls Soccer Second-Team honoree as well as winning the team’s Golden Boot. Gregory played for not only Jacksonville FC at the U17 level in 2021, earning Southeast All-Conference First Team honors, but she also competed on the UWSL2 Women’s Team. She was named an Armada FC Youth Academy ECNL Southeast Conference Player to Watch during her freshman season, helping the team qualify for ECNL Nationals as well as attending the US Soccer Training Center. Gregory has earned First and Second Academic Awards and is a three-time Athletic Scholar award winner.
Hamilton on Gregory: “Mackenna has some great qualities that could make her a very successful college soccer player. She has good size, very good technical ability, and just a high soccer IQ in general. She can play inside or wide, she can hold balls up as a center forward or drop in and be a playmaker out of the midfield.”
Sofia Serrano – Henderson, Nev. – Heat FC
Sofia Serrano comes to East Carolina from Henderson, Nev., where she played for Green Valley High School and Heat FC. Serrano helped Green Valley qualify for the 5A Playoffs during her senior season and she led the team in scoring and was named MVP during her sophomore season. She has helped Heat FC to a pair of Surf Cup finals as well as qualifying for the ECNL playoffs during her junior year. She was named an ECNL standout player during her sophomore campaign and helped lead Heat FC to a conference championship and a berth in the ECNL Champions League during her freshman season. Serrano also lettered in volleyball at Green Valley and was named the Student of the Month.
Hamilton on Serrano: “Sofia brings a ton of pace as an outside player. She can play on both sides of the field and gets up and down. She has a lot of composure on the ball and is a very smart soccer player. As our program continues to grow, she is the type of player that can be impactful with the style we are trying to get to.”