As the World Cup comes around every four years, there are always questions about U.S. Soccer in terms of development. Are we on par with the rest of the world? Is our current youth development system progressing our country's players? And in recent years we've heard, is college soccer still an adequate form of finding and developing taltent? For the last question, many see college soccer as a dying form of development, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
As the top-level youth players from America grow up, there are more and more options every year for these players to choose from. Ever since the Development Academy was introduced to U.S. youth soccer in 2007, all of the current MLS teams have created their own academy side to compete in the league which features 79 of the top clubs in the country. This allows youth players to skip the college route and go straight to the pros. Many of the players (i.e. Junior Flores, Rubio Rubin, Paul Arriola, etc.) test the international waters, latching on to a foreigh club attempting to make it through their academies.
But for a majority of our countries top players they side with the collegiate route. Some players need the four years in college to fully develop into a professional prospect (i.e. Matt Besler). Many tend to believe college soccer is a secondary path to the national team, but statistics show otherwise. Out of the over 6,000 division one and over 23,000 NCAA men's soccer student athletes in total, 1.9% end up playing professional, thus proving college soccer is more than a stepping stone for the next level.
The past U.S. World Cup squads further prove that college soccer is still a tool in developing young players. The 2006 USA squad had 17 players that at some point played college soccer for an NCAA program, including nine out of the eleven starters. Only four years ago, the 23-man roster of our 2010 squad in South Africa included 15 players who played college soccer. Eight years after the creation of the development academy, college soccer is still going strong as 14 players from our 30 man preliminary roster played for a collegiate side. Of the 23 to make the trip to Brazil, 10 are NCAA alumnus, eight of which have seen minutes, only three games into the World Cup. The two which haven't, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando, are both back up goalkeepers.
College Soccer News now takes a look at the ten players from this year's USA World Cup roster who have played for an NCAA side prior to their professional careers.
DeAndre Yedlin (Akron) - Yedlin, the most recent college player on the roster, was playing college ball just two years ago. The midfielder, turned outside back by Caleb Porter was a revelation at Akron. An AK-Rowdies fan favorite he was ranked by College Soccer News as the number 12 recruit in the country back in 2011. Yedlin, a two-time First Team All-MAC member would've been a top five pick in the MLS SuperDraft if not for signing a homegrown contract with the Seattle Sounders. The speedster was a surprise call-up into the preliminary World Cup camp, but thus far has impressed making a positive impact in his two substitution appearances.
Graham Zusi (Maryland) - Zusi, the former Terps captain has been a key part of the national team during this World Cup cycle. A box-to-box midfielder by trade, the Sporting KC captain has played an outside midfield role under Klinsmann. At College Park, Zusi was the playmaker in the legendary 2008 Maryland National Championship team. So far in Brazil, Zusi has started two games for the Yanks and has contributed two impressive assists for the team.
Omar Gonzalez (Maryland) - Gonzalez, a 6' 5" center back has continued his rise to stardom since leaving Maryland. The former U.S. youth international excelled under Coach Cirovski at Maryland winning nearly ever award possible including being named a First Team All-American. After three stellar years at Ludwig Field, the towering defender was selected 3rd in the MLS SuperDraft by the LA Galaxy. Since then, Gonzalez has been a consistent starter. This World Cup, Gonzalez has made two appearances, one as sub against Portugal and the other a very solid 90-minute performance against Germany.
Alejandro Bedoya (Fairleigh Dickinson/Boston College) - Bedoya, a quick winger is one of the four-year college players on the squad. He recorded 34 points in two years at Fairleigh Dickinson before transferring to Boston College. As a Golden Eagle, Bedoya was a two-time College Soccer News All-American and a Hermann Trophy semifinalist. The New Jersey native took the international route attempting to make it overseas. After a successful club season in Sweden, Bedoya was called into the 2010 World Cup camp before being one of the seven cut prior to South Africa. Bedoya has since become a regular starter with United States appearing in all three games in Brazil, starting two.
Nick Rimando (UCLA) - Rimando, an unbelievable shot stopper, is one of the many top goalkeepers to play for the Bruins. The 5' 11" netminder played three years in college, including being on the 1997 National Championship team under Sigi Schmid, before signing a Project 40 contract. Rimando earned his first cap in 2002 but didn't regain major time until 2009. Under Klinsmann, Rimando has regained significant playing time as the third string goalkeeper. As the second oldest player on the roster, Rimando, yet to play, is likely participating in his lone World Cup.
Matt Besler (Notre Dame) - Besler, a four-year player for the Irish is a perfect example of the rise from College Soccer to the professional ranks. The left footed center back was never part of a youth national team setup and was one that needed the four years in South Bend to become the outstanding player he is today. The Scholar All-American Player of the Year made 90 appearances in college before being drafted eighth overall by the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC). Since winning 2012 MLS Defender of the Year, Besler has arguably been the best defender in the national team pool. So far in Brazil, the former Irish defender has started in all three group stage games performing well.
Clint Dempsey (Furman) - Arguably the best player on this year's U.S. World Cup roster, Dempsey was another three year player in college. The Texas born native recorded 53 points as a Paladin while earning Second Team All-America honors. In 2004 "Deuce" was drafted eighth overall by the New England Revolution where he would stay for three seasons. Since 2004, Dempsey has been one of the key players for the national team. This is Dempsey's third World Cup, and against Ghana he became the first American to score in three consecutive World Cups. As captain, Dempsey has been playing lone forward and is without a doubt one of the most crucial players in continuing our run.
Chris Wondolowski (Chico State) - "Wondo" defines the cliche' of climbing the ladder. Wondolowski was a track star in high school and received many offers for track, but only one for soccer, a small Division II school named, Chico State. As a Wildcat, the forward notched 39 goals in his four years. He went on to be drafted 41st overall by the San Jose Earthquakes. Nearly ten years later, the "track star" has 84 MLS goals to his name and has a share of the record for most goals scored in a season (27). Klinsmann gave Wondolowski a chance in the Gold Cup, where he stood out scoring five goals in the tournament. Ever since, Wondolowski has been pushing for 1st team minutes and after a surprise World Cup call-up, the player that nearly nobody wanted made an appearnace on the world's biggest stage.
Geoff Cameron (West Virginia/Rhode Island) - Cameron, a defensive midfielder converted to defender is yet another four year player on the team. After earning nine points in 38 appearances at West Virginia, he transferred to the University of Rhode Island for his last two years of eligibility. After two impressive seasons with the Rams, including being named the the Atlantic-10 Midfielder of the Year in his senior campaign, Cameron was drafted by the Houston Dynamo, 42nd overall. Two seasons into his MLS career, the versatile Cameron earned his first national team cap. Four years later after a move to the EPL, Cameron has become a consistent starter for his club and country. This World Cup, Cameron has started in two of the games with mixed performances.
Brad Guzan (South Carolina) - Guzan, a 6' 4" animal between the pipes was exceptional at South Carolina. The U.S. youth national teamer was a starter as a freshman for the Gamecocks and was a College Soccer News All-Freshman Team selection. As a sophomore Guzan was named team captain and at the conclusion of the season was honored as a Second Team All-American. Guzan signed a generation adidas contract with the league in 2005 and was picked 2nd overall in the draft by Chivas USA. Only a year later, Guzan cemented his spot as Tim Howard's backup, a position he's kept ever since. Guzan is the backup netminder at this World Cup, but don't be surprised if he's the starter in 2018.
May 4, 2014 - College Soccer News anually seeks to recognize assistant coaches across the country who are excelling at their work. Our selections for 2013 include some who have been listed in the past as well as some not previouly recognized. In making these selections we state up-front that we know some very deserving assistant coaches will be left out as is always the case when individuals are singled out for recognition. However, as in the past we are confidnet that those selected are deserving and worthy of recognition. The current selections continue or tend of the past several seasons of placing additional weight on team success on the field of play in the selection criteria.
There are many very good assistant coaches in the collegiate ranks across the nation wo have had and will continue to have a tremendous positive impact on college soccer. The very best are effective teachers, communicators, motivators, and recruiters. They relate well to the players they coach while maintaining their respect. Successful head coaches will be the first to emphasize the role that their assistants play in the degree of success that any program achieves. The very best assistant coaches understand their role and effectively align their efforts are totally aligned with the direction set by the head coach.
Assistant coaches recognized in the past by College Soccer News who are now head coaches include Kevin Grimes at California, Cameron Rast at Santa Clara, Bill Irwin at Portland, Robert McCourt at Monmouth, Bobby Muus at Denver, Mike Jacobs at Evansville, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, Jesse Cormier at Vermont, Kelly Findley at N.C. State, Erik Ronning at Colgate, Brian Wiese at Georgetown, Darren Powell at Elon, Damon Rensing at Michigan State, Jamie Clark at Washington, Kevin Anderson at Columbia, Sean Phillips at UIC, Eric Pogue at Oaklan, Ralph Polson at Wofford, Scott Calabrese at FIU, Brad Ruzzo at Mercer, Andy Fleming at Xavier, Carlos Somano at North Carolina, Ryan Anatol at Stony Brook, Johan Cedergren at Kentucky, Jared Embick at Akron and Chris Volk at UC Irvine.
|Philip Jones - Clemson||
Jones has played a key role in the steady improvement Clemson has enjoyed over the last four years. The Tigers were 11-7-3 overall in 2013 with a 5-4-2 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play and earned an invite to the NCAA Tourney for the first time since the 2007 season. Jones joined the Tiger staff in 2010 when Mike Noonan assumed the leadership of the program. He was named Associate Head Coach in 2012. Prior to that he served as an assistant coach at Brown in 2009 and at Embry-Riddle for four seasons. Jones played collegiate soccer for Embry-Riddle where he was a four-time All Florida Sun Conference selection.
|BJ Craig - Notre Dame||
Craig completed his sixth season as a member of the Notre Dame staff in 2013 under the direction of Bobby Clark. During that period of time the Irish were 76-31-21 including a banner 2012 season with a 17-4-1 record and a history making 2013 campaign in which Notre Dame was 17-1-6 and won the program's first national championship. Prior to coming to South Bend, Craig served as an assistant coach at Louisville in 2007 and was the head coach at Saint Francis University (Pa) from 2003 through 2006. He also served as an assistant coach at Dartmouth from 1998 through 2003. Craig began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.
|John Deeley - Connecticut||
Deeley is a veteran among the assistant coaching ranks. He finished his 17th season on the Connecticut staff under head coach Ray Reid in 2013. The Huskies have a banner history in men's soccer and are the only program in the country to have advanced as far as the Elite Eight for the past three seasons. He also served as an assistant coach under Reid at Southern Connecticut State University for eight seasons. Deeley is often referenced as among the best for his ability to evaluate opponents and determe the best possible tactical approach. Reid would be among the first to say that Deeley has been a key part of the success that Conecticut has enjoyed over the years.
|Jeff Negalha - North Carolina||
The 2013 season was Negalha's tenth as an assistant coach at North Carolina. He served under Emar Bolowich from 2006 to 2010 and has been the top assistant under head coach Carlos Somoano from 2011 to date. During that period of time the Tar Heels have made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and won the national championship in 2011. Negalha has been productive on the recruiting trail securing nine consecutive classes ranked in the top twelve in the country. In addition to serving as the top assistant coach at North Carolina he also serves as the head coach for the CASL U-17 team and is an assistant with the U.S. U-18 Socccer Development Academy. Prior to coming to Chapel Hill Negalha was the top assistant at South Florida from 2003 through 2005 under George Kiefer.
|Kylie Stannard - Michigan State||
Stannard has been an assistant coach at Michigan State under Damon Rensing for the past five seasons. The Spartans have earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament four out of the past five seasons. They had a banner season in 2013 with a 14-6-3 overalll record and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since the 1968 campaign. The fourteen wins was a new program record. While at Michigan State Stannard has played a role in several very highly regarded recruiting classes. Prior to coming to Michigan State he served as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois for four seasons under the guidance of then head coach Steve Simmons. In 2012, Stannard was named the first-ever head coach of Detroit City FC of the National Premire Soccer League. He played college soccer at Creighton University for four seasons and holds a USSF National "A" Coaching License.
|Nick Carlin-Voigt - UCLA||
Carlin-Voigt has served as an assistant coach at UCLA for the past two seasons at UCLA under Jorge Salcedo. Prior to that he served as the top assistant coach at George Mason under Greg Andrulis from 2007 through 2011. While at UCLA he has played a key role in bringing back-to-back number one ranked recruiting classes to Westwood. While at George Mason he was actively involved in bringing on board three highly regarded recruiting classes that were ranked in the top forty in the country. In 2013 the Bruins were 12-3-5 overall and earned the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Carlin-Voigt played collegiate soccer at Kalamazoo College where he was a four-year starter in goal. He holds a USSF Soccer Federation "B" Coaching License.
|Kris Bertsch - Xavier||
Bertsch has been an assistant coach at Xavier under head coach Andy Fleming for the past four seasons. He was named associate head coach prior to the start of the 2012 season. During his four tenure to date at Xavier, Bertsch has been a part of forty-six Xavier wins. Fleming stated, "Kris is the glue to our program and rarely has a bad day. His growth in running training has allowed me to take a look at the team from 6,000 feet and has been a big part of our consistency as a program." Bertsch is responsible for coordinating recruiting visits and has played a role in Xavier landing several highly regarded recruiting classes. He also was instrumental in the creation of the Xooligans which is the Xavier men's soccer student support group. Prior to joining the staff at Xavier, Bertsch was an assistant coach at Syracuse. Prior to that he served as the director of soccer operations at the University of Connecticut for four seasons.
|Mike Miller - Syracuse||
Miller joined the coaching staff at Syracuse in 2010 serving under the direction of head coach Ian McIntyre. Since joining the Orange, he has helped Syracuse up their level of talent from top to bottom by attracting several banner recruiting classes including the 2013 class that is ranked as the number twenty-seven class in the nation. In addition to his role as a recruiter, Miller works with the Syracuse goalkeepers, is involved in all team training, and is involved in various administrative duties. He also is the founder of the Syracuse Soccer Goalkeeper Academy. Before Syracuse, Miller served as an assistant coach at the University of Evansville for four seasons. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at the University of North Florida for three seasons. Miller played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper at Jacksonville University.
|Jason O'Keefe - Saint Louis||
O'Keefe has been an assistant coach at Saint Louis under head coach Mike McGinty for four seasons. He brings a wealth of experience and soccer knowledge to a program that recorded sixteen wins in 2012 and fourteen wins in 2013. In 2012 the Billikens won the Atlantic 10 Conference Tourney and earned a number eight seed in the NCAA Tourney. In 2013 Saint Louis won the Atlantic 10 regular seaon title and advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament. Prior to coming to Saint Louis, O'Keefe was the associate head coach at Elon for three seasons. Prior to that he served as an assistant coach at Cincinnati for a single season. Before that he was an assistant coach at Wake Forest under head coach Jay Vidovich. O'Keefe played collegiate soccer at Greensboro College and holds a USSF "A" License and an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.
|Anthony Adams - UMBC||
Adams has served with distinction as an assistant coach at UMBC under head coach Pete Caringi for seventeen season. He was named associate head coach in 2011. The Retrievers had a banner season in 2013 winning their first America East Conference regular seaon title since 2003 with a 5-0-2 mark and securing their third America East tournament title and the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament that accompanies it. UMBC finsihed the seaon with a 16-1-5 overall record and rose as high as the number five spot in the national polls. Adams has also been very active in youth soccer serving on the coaching staff of the USSF Development Academy's Baltimore Bays from 2008 through 2013 and is now coaching with the newly created Baltimore Celtic SC. He holds a USSF "A" coaching license.
|Paul Souders - New Mexico||
Souders has been on the New Mexico staff for six seasons under the direction of head coach Jeremy Fishbein during which time he has operated in the capacity of associate head coach for the past five years. Sounders has played a role in attracting talented and team oriented players to Albuquerque and in further enhancing their talent once they are there. He is involved in a variety of activities including recruiting and working to develop the Lobo offense. He has been a key part of a coaching staff at New Mexico that helped direct New Mexico to a 14-6-2 overall record in 2013 that included a trip to the College Cup for the second time in the history of the program. New Mexico is one of only a handful of programs that can lay claim to advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the past three seasons.
|Matt Chulis - Virginia||
Chulis has been an assistant coach at Virginia for the past eight seasons under the tutelage of veteran Cavalier head coach George Gelnovatch. He has been the team's associate head coach for the past four seasons. Chulis is a player's coach who knows what it takes to be successful at the highest level. As a defender at Virginia from 1995 through 1998 he was a three-time NSCAA All-American and three-time All-ACC First-Team selection. During his tenure to date as a member of the Cavalier coaching staff, Virginia has earned eight consecutive invites to the NCAA tournament and advanced to the College Cup three times including the 2013 season. He has a USSF "A" coaching license and USSF national youth license.
|Zach Samol - Georgetown||
Samol has been an assistant coach at Georgetown for the past eight seasons under head coach Brian Wiese. He has served as the associate head coach for the past two campaigns. Samol became a member of the Georgetown staff when Wiese was hired in 2006 and has been a key ingredient in a staff that has developed Georgetown into a legitimate contender on the national level in a relatively short period of time. In 2012 the Hoyas were 19-4-3 overall and made a brilliant run to advance to play for the national championship. In 2013 Georgetown was 14-5-2 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Prior to Georgetown, Samol was an assistant coach at Yale for four seasons and at Boston College for two. He played collegiate soccer for Dartmouth College where he was an All-Ivy selection.
|Mario Sanchez - Louisville||
Sanchez completed his fourth season at Louisville in 2013 under the direction of head coach Ken Lolla and his second as the associate head coach. During the past four seasons the Cardinals have advanced to the national championship game, made two trips to the Elite Eight, and last year advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament after winning the American Athletic Conference regular season championship. Sanchez served as the head coach at UNLV for four seasons prior to accepting the position to work on Lolla's staff at Louisville. While at UNLV the program steadily improved and recorded a winning record in his last season at the helm of the program. Prior to that Sanchez was an assistant coach at Akron from 2003 through 2005. He holds a USSF "A" coaching license and recently served as an assistant coach for the U.S. U-17 men's national team in the Aegean Cup.
|Keith Tiemeyer - Wisconsin||
The 2013 season was Tiemeyer's fifth as an associate head coach at Wisconsin and fourth under the leadership of John Trask. Tiemeyer has done an excellent job as UW's director of recruiting in attracting talented student athletes to Wisconsin who seek to be part of rebuilding the program and leaving behind something special. In 2013 the Badgers recorded a fourteen win season that included a solid 4-2-0 mark in Big Ten play. In addition, they returned to the NCAA tournament field in 2013 after an eighteen year absence. Tiemeyer is a vital part of a very solid Wisconsin coaching staff that clearly is making good things happen in Madison. Prior to coming to Wisconsin, he spent two seasons as the head coach at Regis University and two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Denver. Tiemeyer has also been actively involved in youth soccer working with several differnet programs and the Wisconsin ODP teams.
Here's a quick look at what to expect in 2014 from the Top Ten teams in the final 2013 NSCAA Division I Women's Soccer poll.
The defending NCAA champion Bruins have a busy spring ahead with several players traveling for national team commitments, plus the team will head to Japan for a 10-day goodwill trip on March 20-30. Midfielders Sarah Killion and Sam Mewis are playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team in the 2014 Algarve Cup in Portugal on March 5-12, joining Virginia’s Morgan Brian as the only three collegians on the roster. UCLA lost five seniors but return its top five leading scorers from 2013, including rising sophomore Darien Jenkins (11 goals, 5 assists). Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland is once again set to anchor a defense that posted 18 shutouts and an NCAA-leading 0.296 goals against average last season.
The NCAA runner-up has a couple of big holes to fill on the defensive side of the field as All-American defender Kassey Kallman and All-American GK Kelsey Wyswere are lost to graduation. FSU will be breaking in a brand-new keeper as Wys played every minute for the Seminoles last season, and redshirt freshman Cassie Miller is a likely replacement. FSU returns its top seven scorers from the 2013 squad, including senior Dagny Brynjarsdottir (14 goals, 5 assists). The Seminoles also added Vanderbilt transfer Cheyna Williams, who helped the Commodores to their best offensive production since 2000 with 37 points on 16 goals and five assists.
The Cavaliers will try to follow up on last year’s record-breaking College Cup season by fielding a squad that lost nine players, including six starters. Virginia does return some key players, including midfielder Morgan Brian, who was awarded the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy winner after leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 46 points. In addition to Brian, the Cavs welcome back four more of last year’s top six scorers highlighted by forward Makenzy Doniank, who paced the team with 20 goals and tied Brian with 46 points. In goal, Morgan Stearns will look to improve upon a stellar rookie season in which she posted nine shutouts and a 0.66 goals against average.
The Hokies said goodbye to seven seniors from the program’s first-ever Women’s College Cup squad, including leading scorer Jazmine Reeves (27 points) and goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts (11 shutouts). Virginia Tech does return three of its top five scorers led by ACC All-Freshman selection Murielle Tiernan (27 points) and Second Team All-ACC pick Ashley Meier (20 points). The Hokies are hoping a solid incoming freshman class will help the program remain a national contender. The highly recruited Alani Johnson, who netted 40 goals while sparking Cape Henry Collegiate School to the school’s first Virginia state title, will look to fill some big holes on the forward line.
The Tar Heels may have lost six starters from the 2013 squad, including Kealia Ohai, Crystal Dunn and goalkeeper Anna Sieloff, but Carolina has a track record of reloading despite significant losses. Dunn and Ohai were selected first and second, respectively, in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League Draft following a season in which they combined for half of the Tar Heels’ goals scored. Summer Green, who contributed 24 points last season, will look to step up offensively for the Tar Heels and has been starting for the U.S. U-20 National Team, which recently qualified for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. The Tar Heels’ next two top scorers of 2013 -- Paige Neilsen (16 points) and Amber Munerlyn (8 points) – also return to help boost the offensive production.
Seven seniors have departed from a 2013 squad that advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and tied a single-season record with 18 victories. But the Wolverines’ roster was not totally decimated as they have a promising group of current and incoming players. Goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin ranked fourth nationally in save percentage (.893) and fifth in goals against average (0.40) with 12 shutouts in her rookie season. Offensively, Michigan returns last year’s second-leading scorer Madisson Lewis, who contributed six goals and nine assists. UM will welcome nine incoming freshman in the fall, and head coach Greg Ryan expects that group to make an immediate impact and battle for those empty spots.
The Broncos lost nine seniors from a team that advanced to the NCAA Championship Round of 16, but the future looks bright as Santa Clara rebuilds this fall. While the nation’s second-best scoring offense (2.82 goals per game) will take a hit with the loss of Morgan Marlborough (15 goals, 6 assists) and Julie Johnston (12 goals, 8 assists), the squad’s top scorer last season Sophia Huerta (16 goals, 8 assists) returns to the pitch. According to head coach Jerry Smith, “We have plenty of players that want to step into leadership roles or starting roles so we're very excited about the team we have coming back. There are a lot of good players returning who were playing their best soccer at the end of the season and are only going to improve.”
The Aggies will look to defend their Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles with a very experienced squad that returns 18 letterwinners and 10 of 11 starters from last season. Texas A&M returnees account for 54 goals of last year’s 56-goal total. Forward Shea Groom led the team with 14 tallies last season and fine-tuned her game at the Six Nations Tournament in Spain as a member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team this spring. The Aggies also welcome back two-time All-SEC goalkeeper Jordan Day, who posted six shutouts in 2013. The Aggies, who advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th time in 2013, is sure to be a contender on the national scene once again next fall.
The Cardinal may have lost several talented seniors, but will have a veteran squad in 2014 with nine starters returning from last season. Offensively, Stanford returns forward Taylor Uhl, who led the team and Pac-12 with 12 goals in 2013, and forward ChiomaUbogagu, who accounted for two goals and seven assists. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who helped the U.S. U-20 National Team win the CONCACAF title in January, also returns after posting a 0.72 goals against average and .835 save percentage with six shutouts in her rookie campaign. In addition, the Cardinal signed a top-notch recruiting class headlined by Andi Sullivan, who captained the U.S. U-20 National Team to the CONCACAF title despite being the youngest player on the roster at 18 years old.
The Gators will have an experienced squad heading into 2014 as they only lost four seniors, all of who were non-starters. Forward Savannah Jordan, last year’s National Freshman of the Year, starred for the Gators as a freshman with 22 goals – the third-most in the nation. Midfielder Havana Solaun will be back for her senior year after contributing eight goals and nine assists to earn First Team All-SEC honors. Florida goalkeeper Taylor Burke will also return after posting a .543 goals against average – the lowest in the program’s 19-year history – along with nine shutouts.