There are over 740 players in the NCAA women’s soccer transfer portal, and the Arizona Wildcats felt the wrath of it this spring when four players, including top assister Amanda Porter, left the program.
But now the portal is paying Arizona back.
On Saturday, the UA announced the arrival of two sophomores — Cal Poly defender Ava McCray and William & Mary midfielder Grace Santos.
McCray was a member of the Big West All-Freshman Team in 2018, while Grace was named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Rookie Team.
A Davis, California native, McCray started in 18 games for the Mustangs in 2018, notching 13 shots. Santos, from Scottsville, Virginia, played in all 17 games for the Tribe, started in nine and scored her first career goal vs. Elon on Oct. 17.
Having these two in the fold means the Wildcats will be adding nine players in the fall, the other seven being a freshman class that ranks in the Top 25 nationally, according to TopDrawerSoccer.
Arizona also returns eight starters from a team that went 13-6-2, creating a deep roster that could be the most talented the Wildcats have ever had. (Transfers typically are not required to sit out a season.)
“You’re always going to have players graduate and move on, and you got to have other players step up and that’s why you have to have a deep roster and I think we’ve put together a really good roster,” said head coach Tony Amato.
Here is more info on McCray and Santos via the Cal Poly and William and Mary athletic departments, respectively.
McCray helped lead Davis High School to three straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 championships from 2016-18, culminating a four-year run in which Davis went 82-3-8 overall.
With McCray in the back line, Davis won four consecutive Delta League titles, going 50-1-5 altogether in conference play. She helped the Blue Devils earn four top-10 statewide rankings in a row through MaxPreps, including No. 1 in California her sophomore year and No. 6 most recently as a senior second-year captain (accompanied by a No. 18 national ranking on the way to a NorCal Regional Playoffs appearance).
An all-league honoree and Blue Devil Athlete of the Week, McCray also played lacrosse. Her father Justin played baseball as an infielder at Cal Poly and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1989.
In club season, McCray helped Legacy reach a trio of consecutive NorCal State Cup finals from 2012-15, a span featuring a Blues Cup title and Surf Cup championship-game trip in 2015. She also was one of 32 girls selected from the U.S. by Generation Adidas International to train with FFC Frankfurt in Germany during the summer of 2016, prior to playing for the Northern California squad in the 2017 Gothia Cup in Sweden.
We’re excited to announce that Ava McCray has just signed her NLI! A defender from Cal Poly, Ava played in 18 games as a freshman, and was on the BIG West All-Freshman team. Welcome to the Wildcat family Ava❗️ #BearDown pic.twitter.com/yzxRaQ2NWK— Arizona Soccer (@ArizonaSoccer) April 20, 2019
Santos, who was homeschooled, played club soccer for SOCA Charlottesville and Aromas Café FC. She was a member of the Virginia State Olympic Development Program team and helped her club to a semifinal appearance in the Virginia State Cup in 2016-17.
Santos was a member of the VA 99 State ODP Pool and one of just 18 players selected to the VA 99 ODP national roster for the National Championships in Phoenix.
It’s official! Grace Santos has just signed her NLI! A midfielder from William and Mary College, Grace played in 17 games as a freshman and was on the CAA conference All-Rookie team. Welcome to the Wildcat family Grace❗️ #BearDown pic.twitter.com/uQ9R0l3bMi— Arizona Soccer (@ArizonaSoccer) April 20, 2019