By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team made its mark during the annual National Letter of Intent Signing Day, as the Golden Eagles and head coach Steve Springthorpe announced the additions of three incoming freshmen to join the TTU ranks for the 2022 campaign.
Reagan Smiley, Katie Toney and Jaiden Weston will be the latest to suit up in purple and gold, helping to shore up a Golden Eagle squad that is coming off a trip to the OVC Tournament semifinals in 2021, the program's fourth appearance in the last seven seasons.
"When we looked forward to the future of our program, some of the important things we wanted to look at was adding depth to certain positions as well as bringing in players that will have a winning type of mentality and ones that want to work to become better on a day in and day out basis," Tech head coach Steve Springthorpe said. "These three players fit this mold in every way and we are confident that bringing them in with where our current team stands will help us win an OVC championship. We are certainly looking forward to having Reagan, Katie and Jaiden joining us this fall."
A two-sport athlete that spent one season playing high school basketball as well, Reagan Smiley (pictured left) joins the Golden Eagles out of Donelson Christian Academy in Nashville. A varsity soccer starter since the eighth grade, Smiley's resume on the pitch speaks for itself behind 134 career goals and 49 career assists throughout her high-school tenure. A three-time All-District performer and two-time team captain, the 5-foot-8 incoming freshman posted a career-best 40 goals as a junior, before capping off her time at Donelson Christian with a 37-goal, 17-assist senior campaign.
"Reagan is a player that will not only bring immediate depth to our team, but is also the type of athlete that has the ability to play multiple positions for us," Springthorpe claimed. "We anticipate her playing out wide as a winger or potentially as an outside back. I think Reagan has a real upside to her game that can help our team and will fit right into our system of play. We are looking forward to having her join our group next fall."
In addition to a strong high-school stint, Smiley also excelled within the club ranks as a member of the Tennessee United Soccer Club 04. The Nashville native helped lead her squad to a 2018 DI State Championship as well as an appearance in the 2021 Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) Girls National Tournament.
Off the pitch, Smiley is a member of the National Honor Society, her high school's Senior Class President and has made the honor roll all four years. Her family's background is rooted within Tennessee Tech, as her mother Cheri is a TTU graduate, her grandmother Linda Bennett taught English and history at Tech and her great grandfather Harold Funk was a horticulture professor at TTU. Smiley's uncle Greg Bennett was a Golden Eagle baseball player as well.
Katie Toney (pictured right) is set to throw on the purple and gold after a two-sport tenure at Warren County High School in McMinnville, Tenn. that included one season suiting up in track and field. On the pitch, Toney's accolades include a three-time team MVP, a District 6AAA Rookie of the Year honor, a three-time District 6AAA MVP, a Region 3AAA Co-MVP, a three-time All-Region 3AAA performer and a two-time first-team All-State player.
"Katie is an attack-minded player that has shown both in high school and on the club stage that she can score goals and create opportunities," Springthorpe noted. "I like her aggressiveness going to the goal, as well as her ability to take on players and finish inside the box. Katie is a competitive player who will bring a mentality that is conducive to the college game. We are excited that she is joining our team next fall."
Toney tallied a combined 113 goals and 62 assists throughout her high-school career, highlighted by a 37-goal, 22-assist senior season. The 113 scores are the most in her high school's history and the McMinnville product also spent time with the Murfreesboro Soccer Club 03/02 squad as well as the Tennessee Soccer Club 04.
On the track, Toney broke school records for the 400-meter dash and the 1,600-meter dash. Academically, the 5-foot-5 incoming freshman was a member is a member of the National Honor Society.
A two-sport athlete that also ran track and field while at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Jaiden Weston (pictured left) makes her way to Cookeville after racking up a series of awards on the pitch that included All-District and All-Region accolades in every high school season as well as team MVP honors as a junior and senior. The Oak Ridge product collected over 20 goals and over 30 assists throughout her high-school career.
"Jaiden is a great athlete who is both quick and aggressive," Springthorpe said. "She loves to play the game and certainty has a winning mentality. Jaiden will fit in well with the team and her work ethic and desire will put her in a spot to play multiple positions for us. I am eager to see her play and train with our team and am excited that she is joining our program."
Weston's soccer background extends to a successful club stint as a member of FC Alliance, and on the track, the 5-foot-1 incoming freshman has competed in the 800, 4X8, 4X4 and mile, claiming a spot in sectionals last year. In the classroom, Weston is a member of the National Honor Society.