What is the GA Summit?
The Inaugural Summit is a gathering of the GA community to celebrate the success of the Girls Academy and look toward the future in how we will continue to build great players on the field and even better people off the field.

When is the Summit taking place?
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Where is the Summit being hosted?
The Girls Academy Inaugural Summit will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport.

DoubleTree by Hilton
222 North Vineyard Ave
Ontario, CA 91764

Great! What do I have to do to attend?
We encourage you to register using the link above! The first person is free and any additional guests are $150 per RSVP


Schedule of Events:

Time Topic Speaker
8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration / Check-in
9:00 am – 10:30 am AGM & Commissioner Updates Trish Hughes (GA Commissioner), Meghan Frey (Board President), Vernon Croft (Sporting Director)
11:00 am – 11:30 am Guest Speaker Samantha J. Ekstrand (Attorney, Eckstrand & Eckstrand)
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Guest Speaker Ellie Maybury (Founder, Soccer Herformance)
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm Keynote Speaker
Jane Alukonis (Head Coach, USC Women’s Soccer)
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Guest Speaker Marieke Laurens (YNT Scout, U.S. Soccer)
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Guest Speaker Shari Summers (Chief Soccer Growth Officer, U.S. Soccer)
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Guest Speaker Skye Eddy (Founder, Soccer Parenting)
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm Break
3:15 pm -3:35 pm Guest Speakers Jono Callaghan (Head of Partnerships (North America), Mitch LaGro​ (US West Market Manager, VEO)
3:35 pm – 3:55 pm Guest Speaker John Guppy (President of Growth Enterprises, For Soccer)
3:55 pm – 4:15 pm Guest Speaker Tara Parker (President & Co-Founder, ScoutingZone)
4:15 pm – 5:00 pm Award Ceremony Trish Hughes (GA Commissioner)
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Member Social  –


If I have a specific question that has not been addressed, whom at Girls Academy should I contact?
Any questions for the League should be directed to Tina Banham, [email protected].

Meet the Guest Speakers

Industry leaders covering social media, emerging technology, talent discovery, and so much more!

Jane Alukonis

Keynote Speaker

Head Coach, USC Women’s Soccer

Jane Alukonis, a former UCLA assistant coach who was a standout player at Duke, was named head coach of the USC women’s soccer program on January 20, 2022. Alukonis (pronounced ah-loo-KO-nis) spent four years (2018-21) as an assistant at UCLA, where she helped guide the Bruins to two Pac-12 Championships and an NCAA College Cup appearance. She becomes the fifth head coach in the history of USC women’s soccer. With Alukonis on staff, UCLA made four straight NCAA postseason appearances and recorded eight NCAA tournament wins, including a run to the 2019 College Cup after an NCAA quarterfinal finish in 2018. The Bruins won back-to-back Pac-12 Championships (2020 and 2021) and never finished lower than second in the conference standings during Alukonis’ tenure in Westwood. The UCLA staff was named the Pacific Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2020.

In addition to producing six All-Americans, 16 All-Region selections and 26 All-Conference honors over the last four years, Alukonis and the Bruins also had three players earn Pac-12 Positional Player of the Year honors during her tenure and saw nine players selected in the NWSL Draft.

 Alukonis holds a UEFA B Coaching license and served as head coach of the Space Coast United U-10, U-11 and U-16 girls club team and as an assistant coach of the U-15 boys team from 2014 to 2018. She most recently coached the 2010 Pre – ECNL LA Breakers and 2012 White LA Breakers teams. Prior to coaching, Alukonis taught for three years (2011-14) in Baltimore City as part of the program Teach for America.

 A four-year starter at Duke from 2006 to 2009, Alukonis started 76 of her 84 career matches and tallied five goals, including one game-winner, and 11 assists for 21 points. Duke qualified for the NCAA tournament each year, twice advancing to the quarterfinals. She was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III and All-ACC Academic Team selection as a senior team captain with the Blue Devils and finished her standout career as a four-time ACC Honor Roll selection. Alukonis received the ACC Top Six for Service Award as a senior for her volunteer efforts at Duke. Competing as both a defender and midfielder during her playing career, Alukonis also played in the U.S. Youth National Team system, seeing time with both the U-16 and U-17 squads.                                                                                                                      
She returned to her alma mater in 2015 and 2016 as the director of operations for the Blue Devils. Alukonis graduated from Duke in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology, along with a minor in psychology. In 2011, she earned a master’s degree of philosophy in social and developmental psychology with honors at the University of Cambridge. She was a two-time All-American at Melbourne (Fla.) Central Catholic High, helping her team to a pair of state championships.

Samantha J. Ekstrand

Attorney, Eckstrand & Eckstrand

Samantha co-founded her law firm, Ekstrand & Ekstrand, in 2002 with her husband in Durham, North Carolina. She focuses on sports law, which includes working with college coaches on contract negotiations, investigations, crisis management, and separation agreements, advising various sports boards of directors, and drafting and lobbying for NCAA legislation.

She graduated from St. Paul’s School (NH) where she was a tri-varsity athlete, then went on to earn her B.A. in History and Government cum laude from Dartmouth College, where she played on the Women’s Lacrosse team, including a trip to the NCAA Final Four. Samantha received her J.D. from Duke Law School and a M.A. in History from Duke University.

While at Duke, Samantha served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Duke University Women’s Lacrosse Team for seven years, during which time she had the honor of coaching her youngest sister, who captained the team to a Final Fours berth and an ACC Championship. Samantha has coached several sports at all different levels: youth, rec, club, high school, and college. She and her husband have five children who have played close to every sport offered within driving distance; four will be in college next year and one in high school.

Ellie Maybury

Founder, Soccer Herformance

Ellie Maybury is a performance consultant with extensive experience working in women’s soccer. Ellie has gained insight and knowledge from nearly two decades of working across a variety of female soccer environments. Her most recent employment was with the U.S. Soccer Federation, where she served as Head of Sport Science for the Youth National Teams before transitioning into the role of Head of Performance for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Before U.S. Soccer, Ellie held various positions at Birmingham City Women’s Football Club, The Football Association, and Nike. Ellie has recently launched ‘Soccer Herformance’, a performance consulting company that provides high-performance and sport science services across the female soccer landscape. Her passion lies with developing female-specific health, wellness, and performance initiatives, and through consulting, she provides performance services to players, practitioners, teams, and organizations, as well as driving research and innovation for female athletes.

Marieke Laurens

YNT Scout, U.S. Soccer

Laurens holds a UEFA “A” license as well as U.S. Soccer “A” and Talent Scout license and has more than 18 years of professional experience at the club, high school, university and international levels. A native of the Netherlands, she worked closely with the Dutch Women’s National Teams and was an assistant coach for the KNVB U-15 Girls’ National Team. Additionally, she coached U-14 through U-19 National Team players at the Centre for Elite Sports and Education in Amsterdam. She served as a KNVB Academy Coach Educator, teaching the licenses for candidates who coach players from the U-5 to the U-19 age groups. In addition, Laurens contributed to the growth and success at Dutch Total Soccer through player identification, player development and coach education. She has also been the head coach of ODP Region I teams and a member of the Super-Y League National Scouting Staff and is a Talent Scout course educator.

Shari Summers

Chief Soccer Growth Officer, U.S. Soccer

Shari Summers is the Chief Soccer Growth Officer for USSF. In her role she focuses on growing participation in soccer across the U.S. and fostering high-quality, safe, and fun environments for play and development.

Shari formerly served as the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations at WAVE Sports & Entertainment (WSE), a sports media company. She also worked in strategy consulting at Bain & Company.

Shari has extensive experience working on strategic and operational projects across a diverse set of industries, with specialties include strategic planning, operating model design and implementation, and go-to-market and growth strategy. Through her various roles, she has considerable experience working closely with cross-functional leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies across the organization.

Skye Eddy

Founder, Soccer Parenting

Skye is the founder of Soccer Parenting and The Sideline Project, aimed at engaging parents to make youth sports better. Skye is a sought after speaker for parents, coaches, clubs and players. A former professional player, Skye was a collegiate and youth All-American goalkeeper, Defensive MVP of the NCAA Final Four (1993) and State Champion track athlete. Skye has coached extensively at the grassroots, youth, and collegiate levels. An MBA graduate of the University of Richmond, Skye has earned her USSF “B” License, the National Goalkeeper License and is a Coach Educator for U.S. Soccer and United Soccer Coaches.

Twitter @SoccerParenting
Facebook: SoccerParenting


[email protected]
(804) 467-7041

Jono Callaghan
Head of Partnerships (North America), Veo 

Mitch LaGro

US West Market Manager, VEO

Mitch LaGro
US West Market Manager

John Guppy

President of Growth Enterprises, For Soccer

John Guppy, President of Growth Enterprises at For Soccer, has established himself as a leading authority in soccer marketing, sponsorship, broadcast, management, and brand development over the past 33 years. He founded Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing in 1998, which was acquired and rebranded by For Soccer Ventures in 2023. John now leads growth initiatives across Properties and Agency Services.

John’s career began with Soccer USA Partners, API, and Octagon, managing sponsorship and television for U.S. Soccer. He then served as Executive Vice President of the NY/NJ MetroStars and President/CEO of the Chicago Fire, where he successfully transitioned the club to Toyota Park, doubling ticket revenues and quintupling sponsorship support. In 2008, he launched Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing, building a premier soccer-specific agency with clients including AT&T, Bimbo Bakeries, Heineken, Microsoft, Pepsi, Premier League, Unilever, and Volkswagen.

A former All-American soccer player and National Champion at New Hampshire College, John holds a Master’s in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts.

Tara Parker

President & Co-Founder, ScoutingZone

Tara Parker, co-founder of ScoutingZone and former Div I soccer player, revolutionized collegiate soccer recruiting. Recognizing a gap where college coaches lacked vital player recruitment information on the field, Tara created ScoutingZone to bridge this gap. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the game have transformed the recruiting landscape, empowering countless athletes to pursue their collegiate soccer dreams. Tara’s dedication and unwavering vision continues to redefine the future of sports recruitment.