USA TODAY High School Sports is launching a series called “60 for ’16” to highlight 60 members of the Class of 2016 who we will be watching in the coming 12 months. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Marley Canales
School: Westview (San Diego, Calif.)
Sport: Girls soccer
What we’ve seen: Canales stands at only 5-foot-4 and is 17 years old, but still has a spot on the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team. According to MaxPreps, she scored 15 goals and assisted on eight in the 2014-15 high school season. She’s played in six international games with Team U.S.A. this year, per her ECNL profile, and was the 2015 CIF All-San Diego Player of the Year.
Canales has also been ranked the No. 1 or No. 2 player in her class by Top Drawer Soccer since Fall 2012. When some top young prospects fall off in high school, she has not. She plays her club soccer for San Diego Surf, and drew some high praise from the club’s director of coaching.
“Marley Canales is the hardest working player we have ever had since U.S. National Team star defender, Rachel Buehler Van Hollebeke,” Colin Chesters told goalnation.com. “It is no coincidence they have both been given the honor of captaining a national team. She relishes working hard and has over the years spent numerous extra hours improving her game. Marley is an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Why we’re watching: Canales still has two years of eligibility left on the U.S. U-20 Team, and expect her to make the leap up to the senior national team shortly thereafter. She’ll play her college soccer at national powerhouse UCLA. Last year, the Bruins went an astounding 21-1-2, falling only to Virginia and current U.S. Women’s National Team starter Morgan Brian in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
Don’t think her smaller stature will affect her play – not many women’s soccer players are near 6 feet anyway. It’ll enable her to play quickly in the midfield and with another season of high school and club left before she heads to UCLA, expect her to become a dominant force that will be heard in World Cups to come.