BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) Head Women's Soccer Coach Gary Lawson welcomed more members to the incoming class with Rachel Rocha, Nicole Pantaleon, Samantha Rom, Rebecca De Rosa, Emily Farrell, and Alexandra Rowland making financial deposits and signing the NCAA celebratory form. The six join Deserae Sequeira and Lisa Loschiavo who signed their forms earlier this year.
Hometown: Linden, N.J.
High school: Linden H.S.
Rocha is a central defender from Cedar Stars Academy, N.J. At the heart of the Linden High School defense, she earned back-to-back 2015 and 2016 Union County Girls Soccer Association honorable mention awards. The Tiger's senior played in 22 games this past high school season and totaled four goals scored and five assists across her high school career.
At club level, Rocha capped a memorable 2016 year with five separate first place championships at the National Elite Women's Soccer Showcase, EDP Cup Fall Showcase, Bethesda Premier Cup College Showcase, National Cup XV Mid-Atlantic Regionals, and EDP Memorial Classic Tournament. Rocha earned 22 wins from 33 games during her time at Cedar Stars Academy.
Away from the pitch, Rocha is in the National Honor Society and was awarded Outstanding Cadet in NJRTOC Unit. She participates in Spanish Club and Portuguese Club and has volunteered her time as a Little Kickers Coach.
"We knew immediately once we saw Rachel play we wanted her to become a part of SJC," said Coach Gary Lawson. "She's a combative, strong, and skillful central defender that can also play as a defensive midfielder. To the coach's eye, Rachel has everything you want in a defender. She can read the game well and has wonderful anticipation to make interceptions. Rachel's gameplay goes under the radar because she's winning headers, making tackles, and regaining possession for her team. We have acquired a top-quality, defensively solid soccer player, and I am delighted to bring not just bring her soccer ability, but her attitude towards winning to our team."
"From the first time I visited SJC, I loved the atmosphere and community of the school," said Rocha. "It has always been a dream of mine to go to school in Brooklyn and it has also been a dream of mine to play soccer while studying to receive my degree. I believe SJC is the best place for me to succeed in both these areas to make my 4 years of college unforgettable and prepare myself to excel in my future."
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
High School: HS Telecommunication Arts & Technology
Pantaleon is a four-year varsity high school player, and was awarded the Most Valuable Player in her senior year. Playing in the PSAL, she tallied 47 games, 27 goals scored, and 13 assists, and received the top goalscorer award in 2015. Pantaleon supplemented her development by playing two seasons in the AYSO Brooklyn league. At a young age, she also played in the St. Anselm and St. Patrick's youth leagues located in Bay Ridge. Pantaleon became a member of the National Honor Society and the Blueprint Leadership Club this year.
"Nicole appeared on our radar from our first-ever ID clinic hosted at the Hill Center. She really impressed and we are delighted she chose SJC," said Coach Lawson. "She represents the direction our program is going, and will immediately improve our team. Nicole is going to have the opportunity to play NCAA soccer and contribute in her freshman year. We are excited to see what her dangerous left-foot can do at the collegiate level."
"Choosing the school where I will spend the next four years of my life was a tough decision for me," said Pantaleon. "In the end, I picked St. Joseph's College which I believe is going to provide me with the best opportunities as a student-athlete. The nursing program and soccer program look remarkable and I am glad I will have the chance to be a part of them. The more I spoke to Coach Lawson the more I was convinced St. Joseph's was the school for me."
Hometown: Breezy Point, N.Y.
High School: Bishop Kearney H.S.
Rom is a defender recognized as one of the "Best in the City" with her 2016 selection on the Catholic High School Athletic Association's (CHSAA) Mayor's Cup roster. Rom was selected on The Brooklyn Eagle's '2016 All-Area First Team,' and was captain and an MVP Award recipient at Bishop Kearney High School.
"Samantha is a player with great potential," said Coach Lawson. "She has the athleticism and speed to compete at the collegiate level, and I am delighted she'll bring her high school playing experience and leadership to Clinton Hill. Samantha has the ability to play across the back line and demonstrates the competitive streak we want in our team."
"I chose SJC because it offers me the opportunity to be able to get a quality education as well as play soccer," said Rom. "The school provides a close-knit, community feel, which I like and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few years will have in store for me."
Rebecca De Rosa
Hometown: Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
High School: Connetquot H.S.
De Rosa is a defender from Bohemia Soccer Club's Blue Thunder team. She was a two-time recipient of the Defensive MVP award for her club team and was selected to represent Suffolk County Girls Soccer Coaches Association's (SCGSCA) 2016 showcase team for Suffolk, Long Island. Away from the soccer field, De Rosa is part of the Honor Society, High Honor Roll, and Tri-M Music Honor Society.
"Rebecca is an excellent defender, and I feel extremely humbled by the fact she believed in our soccer program," said Coach Lawson. "She excels in 1v1 defensive situations, and reads the game very well. We identified her from the Suffolk versus Nassau senior showcase game, and I had the pleasure of watching her again at our ID soccer clinic. After meeting her in person, I was determined to bring Rebecca to SJC, and I am so delighted she is becoming a Bear."
"I chose St. Joseph's College because of its small community," said De Rosa. "I felt instantly welcomed the first time I visited the campus unlike any other college. I am excited to be part of the amazing Nursing program and soccer team."
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y
High School: Bishop Kearney H.S.
Farrell is a varsity player from Bishop Kearney High School. She primarily plays as a defender, and can play further forward in midfield too.
"Emily becomes part of our growing team and will become an important member of our squad," said Coach Lawson. "She's one of two recruits to join us from Bishop Kearney HS this year, and I am excited to have the opportunity to coach Emily. I look forward to seeing her contribution on and off the field as a teammate as we continue to build this program."
Farrell said of her decision to choose SJC, "I chose SJC because I always look for ways to better my future. St. Joseph's is the ideal school for me to do so because it is full of opportunity. I strive to excel and improve in both soccer and my education which are the two most important aspects in my life right now."
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
High School: St. Saviour H.S.
Rowland is a three-year varsity player from St. Saviour High School. She has played the game since an early age being part of AYSO, and became a defensive starter on her high school team.
"Alexandra promised she will train, work hard, and give nothing but her best," said Coach Lawson. "This is everything you want to hear from your incoming freshman players. She is going to strengthen our squad and contribute through the season, and I am really looking forward to working with her this season."
"I chose to study at SJC because I felt that it was a place where I could strive and put forth my best self," said Rowland. "I knew that at SJC, I could really work on what I am most passionate about, Child Studies. I chose to play soccer for the same reason, it is a passion that I didn't want to give up.