March 24, 2014
Vanderbilt soccer will introduce each member of its 2014 signing class over the next few weeks. We continue with three-time all-state selection from Overland Park, Kan.: Defender Cristina De Zeeuw
Cristina De Zeeuw expressed a heavy interest in playing soccer at Vanderbilt.
Her club coach, well aware of this, notified Vanderbilt coach Derek Greene. When Greene saw her at a tournament two years ago, he knew he needed to act fast.
“Once we saw her there we said, ‘We have to get this kid on campus,’” he said.
De Zeeuw, a 5-foot-7 defender from Overland Park, Kan., arrived on campus later that summer for one of Vanderbilt’s camps. As soon as she left camp she had a scholarship offer.
“One of the first things you notice about Tina when she is on the field is just her leadership ability and her poise,” Greene said. “She is very calm, very poised. She does a great job of directing her teammates when she is on the field. She is a very bright player. She reads the game well. We feel very blessed to have that kid.”
De Zeeuw, a senior captain at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Mo., ranks as the No. 32 player in the IMG Academy 150 by Top Drawer Soccer. The recruiting service also pegs her as the second-best player in the Heartland Regional.
She was named second-team All-State the last two seasons and honorable mention All-State in 2011 as a freshman. Last year, she led St. Teresa’s all the way to the Missouri state championship game. She made the Mo-Kan All-Tournament team three straight years and the Heart of America All-Tournament team in 2011.
She reached the U16 Elite Clubs National League Final Four, “which is huge,” Greene said. There she played against future teammate and fellow 2014 signee Colby Ciarrocca.
Greene showed excitement about De Zeeuw’s ability to come in and play right away. Sticking out to Greene was De Zeeuw’s ability to win balls in the air and the way she strikes balls out of the back line of defense.
De Zeeuw, who is undecided on a major, comes from a soccer family as her brother, Alex, played for Creighton and Loyola Chicago.
“When we’ve seen her in opportunities defensively, in 1 v. 1 situations, where it is her and her team, it is fantastic,” Greene said. “We see her go against some of the top attackers in the country in her age group. She always does a great job defensively. We’re very excited about what she is going to bring to our team. We expect to either play along the back line or in a holding midfield situation. Overall, a fantastic player and has a tremendous understanding of the game.”
Personal: Cristina De Zeeuw... Born March Sept. 23, 1995 in Kansas City, Mo. ... Daughter of Steven and Elizabeth De Zeeuw... Has one brother, Alex (24) and three sisters, Patricia Guevara (30), Rocio (28), and Isabella (10)... Alex played soccer at Creighton and Loyola Chicago… Undecided on a major.
More from Coach Derek Greene on Cristina De Zeeuw:
“When we evaluated one of our needs in this class was to add a special defender to what we already have on our team right now that can not only make our group more competitive in the back but also maybe allow us to move some people into different positions on the field. I think Tina has an excellent opportunity to come into push to start right away – if not (earn) immediate playing time as a freshman.
“She is very poised and understanding. She played at a very high youth level so her transition coming into this level she is prepared for it.
“Tremendous student. Tremendous family background. Tina comes from an awesome family and has a tremendous upbringing and goes to a private school. Just done well academically. She embodies everything you want in a student-athlete at Vanderbilt. We’re just excited to have her and her entire family joining our Vanderbilt soccer family. It is a great group of people.
“She has risen and taken her game to another level. She stayed very committed to her team and is getting better every day. We’re very excited about that.”
Photos courtesy of Heart of America Classic (outside) and Caroline Fiss (above)