May 22, 2014
Over the past two months, Vanderbilt soccer has introduced members of its 2014 signing class. We continue with a goalkeeper form Alton, Ill.: Harley James
Harley James didn’t show up on Derek Greene’s radar until an ID Camp at Vanderbilt last year.
Once she was there, she was hard to miss.
Despite her 5-foot-3 frame, James impressed with her range and athleticism and won over Greene and the Vanderbilt coaching staff.
“She was remarkable in goal,” Greene said. “She is a tremendous shot stopper, has great feet and quickness, and has some of the best range on low shots I have seen in the women’s game. She makes some highlight reel-type saves and we are looking forward to having her.”
James arrives on campus this fall after starting three years in goal in high school. She did not play her senior year at Alton High School, instead opting to play with her club team, St. Louis Scott Gallagher.
She split her high school years between Granite City High and Alton High, spending the last two at the latter. At Granite City, she helped the Warriors to the Illinois state championship in 2011. She made 57 saves and had four shutouts for Alton in 2013. That year the Redbirds won the Fralish Cup championship in Carbondale, Ill., and James was named to the all-tournament team.
At the club level, she played in numerous national tournaments around the country, including the Elite Clubs National League National Event in Fort Worth, Texas and the ECNL National Playoffs in Aurora, Colo. She has also trained with Paul Rogers, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s goalkeeper coach.
James, who turns 18 in June, has played soccer since she was 4 years old. Academically, James was near the top of her class, ranking in the top five percent. She has maintained a GPA above 4.3 throughout her high school career. She is a member of the National Honor’s Society and Student Council. She will be a pre-med major wanting to study sports medicine. Her career goal is to work on a medical staff of a professional team.
She says she chose Vanderbilt because the school and Nashville felt like home to her the first time she visited. She is determined to work on defending crosses, improving the quickness of her feet and stopping the high shots.
“I know she will work very hard to do all she can to improve her range and ability on crosses,” Greene said, “but we are very excited to watch her compete with our other keepers this fall.”
Personal: Harley Nicole James... Born June 6, 1996 in Clayton, Mo. ... Daughter of Don and Amy James... Has one brother, Hunter (12)... A pre-med major with plans to study sports medicine.
Photo courtesy of stltoday.com