May 2, 2023

Introducing the 2023 Minnesota Aurora FC Squad


With a 2022 team that was undefeated until the championship match, it’s difficult to get any better than Minnesota Aurora’s inaugural season. However, Head Coach and newly appointed Sporting Director Nicole Lukic recruited top-talent from around the world to make the 2023 squad even more formidable than the prior season. 

“All of our players have high ceilings for the 2023 season. I am excited for the group to get together on the field and start pushing each other’s limits,” said Lukic. “I expect us to be hungry and free in the attack and organized defensively.”

The 28 players represent 10 different states and two countries, adding Canada and the Dominican Republic for the first time. 17 players from the inaugural team will return for Aurora’s second year in the USL W League. Over half of the 2023 roster is from Minnesota, and many play their college seasons in the Twin Cities area – including returning players Mariah Nguyen (University of St. Thomas), Jelena Zbiljic (University of Minnesota), and Lydia Ruppert (University of Minnesota Club). 


Aurora’s 2022 defensive line posted five shutouts and held its opponents to eight goals during the regular season. Kelsey Kaufusi and Addison Weichers (formerly Symonds) of Utah State University return to the roster, and they’re bringing fellow USU defender Kylie Olsen with them. 

Bolstering the back line are international newcomers Paola Then, Kennedy Faulknor, and Tianna Harris. Then represented the Dominican Republic at the U20 level and trained with the senior level team during their CONCACAf World Cup Qualifiers. The Dominican Republic did not qualify for this summer’s World Cup in New Zealand, so Aurora fans can be assured that Then will not miss any matches for international duty. Then is the first player from the Caribbean to play for Aurora. 

Aurora is also adding two Canadians to the 2023 roster, Tianna Harris and Kennedy Faulknor. Named to the 2022 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List while at Kent State, Harris is a top NCAA defender while Faulknor, a UCLA Alum, helped Canberra United to a fifth place finish in Australia and New Zealand’s A-League.

Returning defenders are 2022 captain Makenzie Langdok, Abby Ostrem, and Eli Rapp. 


Eli Rapp isn’t the only Rapp returning to Minnesota; her sisters Cat and Rami Rapp will also rejoin the team to round out the triplet trifecta. The three played their first collegiate seasons this past fall – Cat at Florida International University while Rami and Eli played for the Oklahoma Sooners. 

Head Coach Nicole Lukic is adding three midfielders with professional playing experiences to the 2023 squad. Sophie French and Hannah Adler were National Team replacement players for the Portland Thorns and Racing Louisville FC, respectively, during the NWSL’s international window in July of 2022. Adler also played professionally in Denmark and is a U.S. Beach Soccer Women’s National Team member who recently notched a first place finish at the 2023 Acapulco Cup. Vienna Behnke joins Minnesota Aurora after playing five seasons abroad in Iceland.

Minnesota Aurora’s second leading goal scorer, Morgan Stone of Boise State University, will return for the 2023 season. The team combined for 36 goals throughout the 12-game regular season, and Stone netted five despite only playing in nine matches. 

Former University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State player Arianna Del Moral will also come back for Aurora’s second season. 


Reigning Summit League Offensive Player of the Year Maya Hansen returns to the roster. Hansen broke SDSU’s career points record and tied career scoring this past season.

Kaitlyn MacBean played for Minnesota Thunder Academy and won Ms. Soccer Minnesota in 2019. As a red shirt sophomore, her three goals and one assist performance earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team this past season at Penn State. 

Ole Miss forward Brenlin Mullaney is the first Tennessean to play for Aurora. She appeared in all 20 SEC matches as a freshman. 

Kristelle Yewah returns for her second year with Minnesota Aurora. Yahweh found her stride toward the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, recording one goal and one assist against the Green Bay Glory. 


Three of the four 2022 goalkeepers are returning: Olivia Graupmann, Taylor Kane, and Bayliss Flynn. Of the returners, Kane played the most minutes, 194, and appeared in six matches. Penn State’s Amanda Poorbaugh will also join the ranks of Aurora’s goalkeepers. Head Coach Nicole Lukic has not declared a starter.

Training Players

In addition to the 28 player roster, the team includes five training players: Ava Bjorkman-Tracy, Emma Fournier, Bee Chang, Tylar Sayles, and Maya Dempsey.