For the second straight year, Arizona soccer has put together a recruiting class worthy of national recognition.
TopDrawerSoccer ranked the Top 15 classes in the country at the end of January, and while Arizona did not make the cut, it was one of 10 schools placed in the “in the running” category.
In other words, UA’s class falls somewhere between 16th and 25th nationally. Here are the seven players the Wildcats signed in November:
- Taeya Schueppert, MF
- Hope Hisey, GK
- Mariah Dunn, D
- Molly Shannon, D
- Sophie Jones, F
- Sabrina Hillyer, D
- Madison Goerlinger, D
A more in-depth look at the class can be found here.
In December, UA coach Tony Amato said it’s hard to compare it to previous classes — “it’s all individually based,” he said — but acknowledged Arizona has been able to attract better talent now that it has established itself as one of the top programs in the west.
Arizona was arguably the worst program in the Pac-12 before Amato’s arrival in 2013.
“In the beginning it was a leap of faith,” he said. “It was very much like, ‘OK, we are going to win, here’s how we’re going to win, come on board and help us do that.’ Now we can actually connect the dots. We’ve grown the program, we have tangible results, we’ve gone to NCAA Tournaments, we’ve gone to the second round or better four times in five years. Those are things that really help convince (recruits) that you’re going to be in NCAA Tournaments and a part of winning teams and winning seasons. That’s one of the biggest things that’s changed the overall brand of Arizona soccer. I think that tied into the fact that we’re in the Pac-12 which everyone, at least in the West Coast footprint, knows is a big deal.”
Arizona’s 2018 recruiting class earned an honorable mention from TopDrawerSoccer at this time last year, and it lived up to its billing.
Hallie Pearson started every game at center back, midfielder Emily Knous was named to TopDrawerSoccer’s Freshman Best XI Second Team, midfielder Iyana Zimmerman cracked the starting lineup come NCAA Tournament time, and forward Brooke Wilson, UA’s highest-ranked recruit, had three goals and an assist in nine games, missing most of the season with a broken leg.
In the end, Arizona went 13-6-2 and finished 22nd in TopDrawerSoccer’s Top 25.
The Wildcats, who return nine starters in 2019, have started spring practice and play their first exhibition Saturday, Feb. 23 at home against Del Sol Boys.
The rest of Arizona’s spring schedule is as follows:
- Saturday, March 23 — vs. BYU (in Glendale/Phoenix)
- Saturday, March 30 — vs. ASU (in Tempe)
- Sunday, April 7 — vs. New Mexico (in Tucson)
- Saturday, April 13 — vs. GCU (in Phoenix)
The regular season kicks off in August.