Texas A&M-Corpus Christi head coach Craig Shaw has secured his first commitment from a fellow Australian since moving to the Islanders, inking former Australian youth international Molly Arens to a National Letter of Intent. Arens’ signing brings the number of Australians in the Southland Conference to three, joining Nicholls State senior Shauni Reid and Incarnate Word junior Madison McComasky.
A member of the Junior Matildas side that competed in the 2017 AFC Under 16 Championship, Arens was part of a squad that featured Stanford freshman Amy Sayer, as well as Matildas World Cup player Karly Roestbakken and a list of W-League players that includes, among others, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Angelique Hristodoulou, and Taylor Ray. Arens also featured four times in the qualification stage, tallying a goal in the Junior Matildas’ 8-0 win over Iraq as the Australians cruised through their group with five wins and a goal difference of +65.
At club level, Arens has been an integral part of the Emerging Jets side which plays in the NPL New South Wales competition. The defensive midfielder has chalked up 73 appearances for the Novocastrian side across the last four seasons, more than holding her own against vastly more experienced players in the senior competition.
Arens has also made her mark at the national schoolgirls level. With two consecutive Player of the Tournament awards at the School Sport Australia national championships, the newest Islander has led New South Wales to the most recent of their four consecutive championships since 2016. Arens’ commitment also means that the players to win the last three Player of the Tournament awards will play in college, after Hawaii’s Eliza Ammendolia picked up the award in 2017. Annika Clayton, Liz O’Reilly, and Vanessa Hart have also won this award, all of whom went on to have highly successful college careers.
“Molly is a great pick up for our midfield. As a defensive mid she is such a great distributor of the ball. She has national team experience playing for the Australian U17 team winning the Asian Cup Qualifiers. She will help take our team to the next level,” Coach Shaw remarked in an official release.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi finished in a respectable fifth place in the Southland standings in 2019, a vast improvement on their 10th place finish in 2018. However, after a 5-1 loss to Lamar in the semi-finals of last year’s conference tournament, there will no doubt be plenty of determination to go a couple of steps better in 2020.