The South Carolina women's soccer team announced the addition of five new players for the 2021 signing class Wednesday morning. The new signing class includes players from across the East Coast, including two from South Carolina.
The new Gamecocks boast achievements not only in their high school play but on the international stage, too.
"I think that this group of players coming in the 2021 class might be one of the most talented classes we've ever had," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith told GamecocksOnline. "We're excited about them not only because of what they can bring on the field but what kind of personalities, their attitudes and their desire to be a part of a top college program. We've had the pleasure of getting to know their families during the recruiting process and we're really excited to have them joining our Gamecock family here in Columbia."
Defender Emma Bucci, a 2021 signee, hails from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she played at Carolina Forest High School. Bucci was named to the U19 Ireland national team in 2020 and was a member of the Wilmington Hammerheads of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).
Also a Palmetto State native, midfielder Megan Spiehs from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, played high school soccer at Hilton Head High School. She is ranked as a three-star prospect by TopDrawerSoccer.com and was a top-10 player in goals per game nationally at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy during the 2019-20 season.
Payton Patrick, a forward from Parkton, Maryland, is ranked as a four-star by TopDrawerSoccer.com. Patrick picked up national awards, as she was named to the USA Today High School 2019 All-USA first team and the 2020 High School All-American Watch List. Patrick also played for the ECNL's Pipeline Soccer Club.
"From my first visit and tour of South Carolina I knew it was the school for me," Patrick told GamecocksOnline. "The atmosphere that Coach Shelley and Coach Jamie created was incredible and the players were all so welcoming. After seeing the Graveyard Shift and the support the women's soccer program has from the rest of the University and all of Columbia I knew it was something I wanted to be apart of."
Midfielder Lily Render hails from Centreville, Virginia, where she also played ECNL soccer with the Braddock Road Youth Club Elite Academy. With the team, she was named the 2019 ECNL Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year and named to the ECNL All-Conference team in 2017-18.
Brigitte Bussiere, a three-star prospect by TopDrawerSoccer.com, comes from Monroe Township, New Jersey, where she played at Monroe Township High School. During high school, the midfielder scored 21 goals and garnered 11 assists in three seasons of play.