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Two elite soccer players make their college commitments official on National Signing Day

Washington Township High School seniors Emily Gray and Giovani Jimenez, both players with U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams, signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.

Left: Emily Gray sits with her mother, Laurie and brother, Carson. Right: Giovani Jimenez is pictures with his mother, Alex, sister Nikki and father, Gabriel.

Two of Washington Township High School’s most talented soccer players made their college commitments official during Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Seniors Emily Gray and Giovani Jimenez, players who have competed in the U.S. Soccer national academy system, each signed their National Letter of Intent. Gray will take the field for Virginia Tech next fall, while Jimenez will attend Providence College.

Gray and Jimenez are competing on a level above many other players their age. Both players compete for teams affiliated with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Jimenez did not play for the Washington Township High School program, as he played for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams during his high school years. Gray played three seasons for the Minutemaids from 2014 to 2016, but left the high school team in 2017 to focus on playing for Penn Fusion’s Development Academy team.

Gray starred at Washington Township during her time there and was an all-state player in both 2015 and 2016. However, she had bigger goals in mind and wanted to get her foot in the door with the national program.

“I wanted to play at the highest level possible,” Gray said. “In order to do that, I had to play D.A.”

“It’s just the direct pathway to the national team,” she added. “It’s going to benefit girls soccer for years to come.”

Gray believes she made great strides this past season, improving her leadership skills and overall fitness. She received a huge honor last year when she was called up to the U.S. U-19 team and traveled to China for a tournament.

“The speed of play is just better (at the national level),” Gray said, “so I’m bringing it back to my club team.”

Gray verbally committed to Virginia Tech back in 2015. Playing in a major conference such as the Atlantic Coast Conference was a huge factor for Gray. She became sold on Virginia Tech after seeing how much of a positive environment existed at the school. Gray has not declared a major yet, but is eyeing a possible career in sports marketing.

Like Gray, Jimenez has gotten the opportunity to play on big stages. Jimenez has played for both Philadelphia Union’s and Continental FC’s Development Academy clubs and was a captain for two teams that traveled to Spain for international tournaments.

Jimenez is a well-rounded midfielder who has the ability to contribute on both sides of the ball. He believes his versatile skill set will serve him well at the Division I level.

“Defensively, I go into tackles hard,” he said. “I go with everything I got. I have a very soft touch on the balls. When I get long balls, they’re very accurate.”

Jimenez wanted to go to a high quality soccer school and noted how Providence has had lots of success in recent years. In 2014, Providence went all the way to the NCAA men’s soccer Final Four.

“Every player is good,” Jimenez said about Providence. “When you play with good players, you can increase your level.”

Jimenez, who grew up in an Argentinian family, plans to major in international business. In addition to being able to speak Spanish, his first language, as well as English, Jimenez has taken German in school. His knowledge of three languages was a big reason behind his decision to choose international business.

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