Isleib selected to U-23 roster

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

Utah midfielder Kelly Isleib made headlines all season for her team8212;so much so that the United States Women’s soccer federation took notice.

Last week, Isleib was invited to the United States Under-23 Women’s National Team training camp. Isleib and 23 others from around the country will travel to Portland, Ore., to take part in a three-match training session.

“Kelly is a very talented player with several unique qualities to her game,” said Utah head coach Rich Manning. “This will be an important opportunity for her to test herself in a competitive environment at the highest level. This will also be an opportunity for her to sharpen her skills for her upcoming senior year.”

Portland native Bill Irwin will coach the U-23 squad.

Irwin, who has coached the United States U-21 team since 2007, is in his first year at the helm of the U-23 team.

Isleib had a stellar junior season for the Utes, leading Utah in almost every offensive category.

Isleib was top of the team with six goals and six assists, along with 18 points earned, and she earned her second straight All-Mountain West Conference first-team selection.

The Park City native also made her way into the Utah record books with her 23 career assists8212;the highest total ever for a player’s first three years on the team.

Isleib will report to Portland on April 11 and will take part in all three matches before returning home April 19.

The U-23 squad will open up competition against the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis, Ore., on April 14 before traveling to Beaverton, Ore., to take on the University of Washington at the Nike World Headquarters on April 16. The women will wrap up the week by playing the University of Portland Pilots on April 18.

However, Isleib won’t be the only Ute in Portland.

In fact, the whole Utah squad will be there to take on Washington in a spring training match.

Isleib is going into her final year as a Ute and will be getting a lot of help from six recruits who have signed letters of intent to play for Manning in the fall.

“By adding these six players, our team speed and power has just increased by miles,” Manning said. “We really feel that after two years of thin rosters, our team depth will finally be restored. We expect these new players to come and challenge for starting positions and playing time right away.”

Of the six recruits of the 2009 class, four are Utah locals8212;Park City natives Hanna Terry and Zoe Van Gorder, as well as Monica Okapal from Bountiful and Springville native Natalie Young.

“Our roster has endured tremendous turnover the last two years,” Manning said. “It seemed like our needs were always changing. We were recruiting the class of 2009 for a long time, right up until signing day. It feels great, like we just won a big game.”

Either way you slice it, Manning has a returning gem who will command the midfield next season for her swan song.

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Lennie Mahler

Kelly Isleib, a midfielder on the Utah women?s soccer team, received an invitation to join the United States Under-23 Women?s National Team training camp. The camp will start on April 16 and will take place in Portland, Ore.