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Faherty Announces Class Of 2023

Steve Musco photo
Steve Musco photo

Seven Talented Newcomers Headed To Yale In Fall

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Brendan Faherty, who was named the Loring Family Head Coach of women's soccer in December, will welcome seven first years to Yale in the fall. Giovanna Dionicio (West Hartford, Conn.), Simone Eligon (Croydon, England), Molly Fallek (New York, N.Y.), Chloe Laureano (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Zia Makhathini (Henderson, Nev.), Lauren Marks (Addison, Texas) and Ellery Winkler (Concord, Mass.) all bring strong credentials both on and off the field.

"It's an exciting time for these seven student-athletes, not only will they be graduating from their respective high schools soon, in a few short months they will be pulling on a Yale jersey for the first time. We believe they will be a great representative of Yale women's soccer on the field, in the classroom, and in the New Haven community," Faherty said. "We look forward to integrating these seven young women with our current team in late August. They will be joining a group of highly motivated returning student-athletes eager to leave their mark on the soccer field this fall."

Here is a closer look at the Class of 2023:

Giovanna Dionicio
West Hartford, Connecticut
Hall High School

High School: Named all-state as a senior at Hall High School… Three-time all-conference selection… Four-year starter… Two-year captain… First junior captain in school history… Helped lead Hall to the quarterfinals of the state tournament in her first year… State champion in outdoor track.

Club: Played with FSA FC for seven years… Helped club win showcase bracket at the 2017 ECNL nationals and the 2018 North American Cup bracket at ECNL nationals.

International: Nominated to travel with Generation Adidas team to France in 2017.

Personal: Daughter of Leonardo and Georgina Dionicio… Father was a semi-professional baseball player… Older brother Bryan played baseball at UMass and Franklin Pierce.

Why Yale? "Because of the community of people. The first time I visited, I felt like I was right at home. Everyone is down to Earth and welcoming, and that alone made me excited to want to become a Bulldog!"

Favorite Soccer Memory? "Winning the State Cup in seventh grade. It was at this point I knew for sure I wanted to continue playing soccer through college and beyond because of how much joy came out of competing with my friends and working as a team to win something through hardwork."

Simone Eligon
Croydon, England
Coloma Convent Girls' School
Chelsea WSL Academy

Club: Posted six shutouts in 10 games playing for Chelsea WSL Academy… Helped team to a second-place finish… Spent nine years with Millwall Lionesses… Team went 19-0 in league play in 2017 and finished second in the FA Cup.

Personal: Daughter of Michelle Eligon… Uncle, Eugene Gilkes, was a decathlete in the Commonwealth Games… Regional netball player in 2016 and helped school team reach the national finals in 2017… Volunteered for Million Miles Challenge, helping local residents lead healthier lifestyles.

Why Yale? "The chance to have a world class education while still playing in an amazing soccer program, combined with the countless experiences available made Yale the community I want to be a part of."

Favorite Soccer Memory? "My last home game of the season with Chelsea against Arsenal. It wasn't just that we won, but it was how we won the match. Our play was completely in tune with one another and the air was imbued with such happiness that it is undeniably an unforgettable moment for me."

Molly Fallek
New York, N.Y.
Riverdale Country School
F.C. Fury

Notes: Ranked as the No. 29 top defender in the Class of 2019 by TopDrawerSoccer.

High School: Four-time first team all-league selection at Riverdale Country School… Named team MVP three times… Selected by MSG Network to the All-New York City team in 2017 and 2018… Scored 24 goals in her senior season and 19 goals as a junior… Team captain as a senior… Helped lead Riverdale to the championship game of the NYSAIS Tournament in her junior season… Played one season of lacrosse and was a three-year member of the swimming team.

Club: Played one season with F.C. Fury and 11 seasons with Manhattan Soccer Club… Helped lead Manhattan SC to three New York State Cup titles.

ODP: Member of ODP from 2013-18… One of 18 players on U.S. Soccer ODP Regional team, serving as captain in 2016 and 2017… Member of Eastern New York ODP team from 2013 to 2017.

International: Played with an Adidas Select team that travelled to Lyon, France in the summer of 2017.

Personal: Daughter of Susan and Steve Fallek… Worked as a summer intern at the New York Historical Society… Lead attorney for Mock Trial Team… President and founder of Falcons On The Air, Riverdale's TV Network for athletics.

Why Yale? "When I visited Yale on my birthday two years ago, I came to appreciate a palpable energy that resonated through the classes, the soccer field and across campus. I felt invigorated and intellectually challenged by Yale's students, professors and courses. What ultimately drew me to Yale was the attitude of the athletes, who are committed to balancing their education and athletic careers."

Favorite Soccer Memory? "Travelling to Lyon, France, with Adidas International to play at Olympique Lyonnais with their academy teams and to watch and meet both their men's and women's professional teams."

Chloe Laureano
Pembroke Pines, Florida
American Heritage School
Sunrise Sting

High School: Two-time Broward County first team selection at the American Heritage School… Scored 35 goals and had 43 assists in her career… Had 12 goals and 16 assists as a junior… Helped lead American Heritage to a pair of state championships… Named a National High School Coaches Association Academic All-American.

Club: Played for the Sunrise Sting, the 2018 USYSA National champions… Assisted on the game-winning goal in the championship game.

ODP: Invited to 2015-16 US Youth Soccer ODP national training camp… Played for state and regional ODP team from 2014 to 2016.

International: Played with Puerto Rican U-17 and U-20 Women's National Team.

Personal: Daughter of Alyson and Juan Laureano… Father was an offensive lineman at Florida State and was a part of the 1993 national championship team… Earned 320 community service hours, including coaching youth teams, assisting and teaching students with disabilities and assisting in fundraisers with the National Honors Society.

Why Yale? When it came to making my college decision, I knew Yale would be the best fit for me. It offers the opportunity to receive an elite, world class education and continue playing soccer at a competitive level. Additionally, Yale allows me to experience many new rich traditions and interests."

Favorite Soccer Memory? "Coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the 2018 National Championship game and winning 3-2 with my Sunrise Sting Club team."

Zia Makhathini
Henderson, Nevada
Coral Academy of Science
Heat FC Club

Club: Played for Heat FC in Nevada for 11 years… Helped lead club to the Champions League national semifinals in 2017 and the quarterfinals in 2018… 2018-19 team captain… Invited to the 2015 US Club Soccer Training Camp… Named to Best XI at 2015 Top Drawer Soccer Seattle Combine.

ODP: Member of 2015-16 ODP state team.

Personal: Daughter of Kristen and Mannie Makhathini… National Honor Society and College Mentorship & Leadership member… Class Vice President and Secretary… AP Scholar With Distinction Award recipient… Helped coach middle school co-ed soccer team.

Why Yale? "Yale provides a perfect balance of world class academics and a great soccer program within a diverse and welcoming environment."

Favorite Soccer Memory? "My team made it to the Champions League Division of the ECNL playoffs in Seattle. Through the pouring rain, I scored a goal directly off a corner kick to tie up the game in the final minute of the quarterfinals."

Lauren Marks
Addison, Texas
Episcopal School Of Dallas
Dallas Texans SC

High School: All Southwest Preparatory Conference selection as a senior at the Episcopal School of Dallas… Two-time Defender of the Year… Co-Rookie of the year and First Year Female Athlete of the Year in 2015… Missed all of her junior season with an injury… Helped lead Episcopal to two first-place league finishes… Also ran track for two years and was the first year MVP… Competed in the 100 and 200 dash.

Club: Played for Dallas Texans SC, which finished second in the 2017 State Cup and second in 2016 Disney Junior Showcase.

Personal: Daughter of Erinn and Paxton Marks… Vice President of National Honors Society and Psychology Club… AP Scholar… Coaches a youth soccer team.

Why Yale? "The new and unparalleled variety of cultural and social perspectives found in the residential colleges while contributing to the greater global community amazes me. Yale also possesses my ideal balance of academic rigor, athletic discipline and meaningful connections.

Favorite Soccer Memory? "Taking part in my high school's road to the championships. I remember developing confidence and a greater sophistication of my game and overall mentality. When holding the trophy, I felt a surge of excitement, pride and appreciation that drives me to compete each day."

Ellery Winkler
Concord, Massachusetts
Middlesex School
FC Stars

High School: Scored a school record 58 goals at the Middlesex School… Also tallied 30 assists… United Soccer Coaches All-Region and NEPSAC All-New England selection… Earned Massachusetts all-state honors as a sophomore, junior and senior… Three-time first team ISL All-League honoree… Helped lead Middlesex to the quarterfinals of the state tournament three times.

Club: Played for the FC Stars, helping them win two ECNL Northeast Conference championships and advance to the national championship game in 2017… ECNL PDP invitee in 2018.

Personal: Daughter of Leanne and Paul Winkler… Great uncle, Robert Gerard Peterson, is a Yale medical school graduate and great aunt, Linda Mary Nesbit Peterson, attended Yale Graduate School… Volunteered for Open Table, an organization that provides meals to families with food insecurity… AP Scholar With Distinction.

Why Yale? "With rigorous academics and elite athletic programs, I chose Yale because of the unmatched opportunities it would provide for me. After meeting the team and seeing the rest of Yale's diverse and welcoming community, I knew it was an environment where I would thrive on and off the field. I cannot wait to be a Bulldog!"

Favorite Soccer Memory? "When I was a sophomore, my high school team made our playoff quarterfinals and lost devastatingly to the team that went on to win the whole tournament. The following year we met again and played nearly the same team. Determined to be the team we knew we were, we thrashed them 6-0. As a team, that feeling of redemption was priceless. Individually, with my second of three goals that day, I broke my school's career goals record. The culmination of such a powerful team effort with a special personal achievement made that one day I'll never forget."

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity