Aug. 8, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. - Lindsay Johansen, Celina Minissian and Rachel Smith's experience are similar, yet unique, as all three started their collegiate careers at another university. However, the trio was impressed with UC Davis' women's soccer program, its potential and decided to continue their athletic careers in an Aggie uniform.
"I am really excited about all three student-athletes joining this program," said UC Davis head coach Twila Kaufman. "Each arrived with different backgrounds, are ready to use their previous experience to help this team succeed on the field and shape the culture of this program off it."
After spending the last two seasons at Arkansas State, Johansen was named a starter in every game played and helped the Red Wolves capture their first-ever Sun Belt Tournament victory before making the (near) cross-country trek to Davis.
As a freshman, Johansen was an integral part of a Red Wolves defense that set a new program record with seven shutouts. Last year, she recorded her first assist and helped her team finish third with 10 victories.
Even though she competed nearly 4,000 miles from home, the North Vancouver native caught the attention of Canadian soccer officials and received an invitation to compete in Canada's U-20 National Excel camp. By doing so, she became the first player in Arkansas State's history to receive a national team camp invitation, at any level.
A member of the Canada's Olympic Development Program, she also competed for the Whitecaps Football Club throughout her final two years at secondary school before making the jump to Division I competition.
"Lindsay is talented center back who provides this team with additional depth on our backline," said Kaufman.
Joining the Aggies this season after making the brief trip down I-80 is Celina Minissian. Arriving to UC Davis, from Saint Mary's, with three years of eligibility remaining, the Pasadena native provides another scoring threat for a team that boasted seven different scorers in 2013.
"Celina can play anywhere within the front six," said Kaufman.
A three-time MVP for the Alverno High School's girls' soccer team, Minissian also earned a spot on the Horizon League's first team on three occasions.
Part of Alverno's 2009 CIF championship-winning squad, Minissian's leadership skills flourished throughout her three seasons as the team's captain.
Before arriving to Saint Mary's, Minissian was a member of two club teams, Slammers FC and CZ Elite -- the same squad as freshman Kelly Brady before she arrived to Davis.
"Searching for a school to attend in the fall was quite challenging," said Minissian. "UC Davis offered me the opportunity to attend a top academic program while continuing to play soccer at a competitive level. I am certain that the staff will make a huge impact on the program, I am excited to be a part of that journey."
All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-Channel league and MVP accolades capped an extensive list of awards earned by Smith throughout her four years as a member of Dos Pueblos High School's soccer team.
As a freshman, Smith was the lone player named to the starting lineup every game played; in doing so, she also became the only freshman to receive all-league recognition.
The following year marked the first of three straight seasons where Smith was named team MVP, finished second in the Channel League's MVP listing and earned All-CIF accolades.
As a sophomore, Smith was captured a spot on the CIF Southern Section's second team. As a junior and senior, she was a first team honoree.
In all, Smith was responsible for 40 goals and 25 assists throughout her four-year varsity career.
During her two-year tenure with the Santa Barbara Soccer Club, her hometown organization, Smith participated in numerous national tournaments and helped her team win the 2011 Cal South National Cup.
Smith's club career also includes experience as a member of Cal South's Olympic Development Pool.
Throughout her tenure at USC, Smith competed in six games, earned one start and scored a goal in one of two shots taken for the Women of Troy.
"Rachel's versatility provides this team with additional flexibility since she is talented enough to compete on multiple lines," said Kaufman.
UC Davis will host Sonoma State on Saturday, Aug. 16, in its final tune-up before the team's #CausewayCup season opener at Sacramento State. Kick-off for the Aggies' lone exhibition contest, against the Seawolves, is slated for 2 p.m.
Coach Kaufman's staff