April 4, 2013
Head Coach Derek Greene continued his transformation of the Vanderbilt women's soccer program Thursday when midfielder Lydia Simmons--one of the Top 30 players according to Top Drawer Soccer's IMG Academy 150--signed her National Letter of Intent to play for the Commodores and enroll as a member of Vanderbilt's Class of 2013.
"We could not be more excited about Lydia joining our program and becoming part of our soccer family here at Vanderbilt," Greene said. "When I first saw Lydia play a few years ago, I knew that she was going to be one of our top recruiting targets. What she does with the ball is truly special and unique. Her ability to play-make and distribute are unmatched in women's soccer."
A native of Londonderry, N.H., Simmons was one of 24 participants called to the U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team camp in California by coach Albertin Montoya just 15 months ago. She previously played for coach Mike Dickey on the U-15 Girls National Team in 2010.
Simmons helped lead head coach Matt Butcher's Brewster Academy (N.H.) squad to the NEPSAC Class C championship game in 2011, scoring 22 goals and adding 23 assists for the Bobcats. Simmons recorded 36 goals in 2009 and 2010 under coach Derek Dane at Londonderry (N.H.) High School, leading the Lancers to the state championship game in 2010. She returned to Londonderry this past season and helped propel the squad to second the Division I semifinals. Simmons was named an NSCAA All-American in 2012.
"One of the things we love about Lydia is her ability to set teammates up for wonderful scoring opportunities," Greene said. "She is a tremendous passer and has the vision you want to see from your playmaking personalities. She can bend balls into a forward's path with the inside or outside of her foot, and she can clip balls in behind a back line better than most players in the women's game. Lydia also is lethal on free kicks and will afford us some dangerous opportunities when free kicks present themselves near the goal."
Simmons plays her club soccer for coach David Burgess at Seacoast United. She was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Y North American Finals in Tampa, Fla., leading Seacoast United's U-16 side to a national championship. Simmons scored a first-half goal in the 2-1 championship game victory over the Long Island Rough Riders.
"The other thing we love about Lydia is the type of person she has grown to be," Greene said. "She was going to originally sign with us as a member of the 2014 class, but she has worked extremely hard in the face of some adversity to get herself ready for Vanderbilt in 2013. We have had the opportunity to watch her mature both on and off the soccer field, and her coaches love having her on their team. I know our goals of winning an SEC Championship and reaching an NCAA College Cup are closer with the addition of a player like Lydia. We have a fantastic group of players returning this fall and I know Lydia will fit in very well with this team."
While Simmons will enroll at Vanderbilt this fall, she is expected to redshirt during the 2013 season while recovering from injury.