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Arizona soccer adds two more players, aims for normal report date

Photo by Ryan Kelapire

Arizona soccer announced two more signees on Friday, growing their freshman class to 13 players, which is believed to be the largest group in the Tony Amato era (2013-present).

The first signing was goalkeeper Alani Mexia from Granada Hills Charter in Granada Hills, California. She also plays for LA Surf Soccer Club. Mexia will join sophomore Hope Hisey—the incumbent starter—and fellow freshman Sami Hauk, a former Oklahoma commit, in the goalkeeping room.

The second signing was forward Kayden Heinrich, who was originally a UC Davis commit. She attends Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach, California and stars for Pateadores SC at the club level. Per MaxPreps, she had four goals and two assists in 23 games as a sophomore at Huntington Beach High.

Heinrich also logged two goals in 18 games (nine starts) for Pateadores SC in U.S. Development Academy action this season.

Here’s how many recruits Arizona announced on signing day in previous years:

  • 2013 — 8
  • 2014 — 8
  • 2015 — 9
  • 2016 — 10
  • 2017 — 6
  • 2018 — 11
  • 2019 — 7

The large class is the product of having seven players transfer out in addition to graduating six seniors. Five of those 13 outgoing players were starters last season.

The Wildcats are looking to get more athletic, and Amato said in November that this class checks the box. Recruiting rankings are virtually non-existent for women’s soccer, so it’s hard to tell how the class ranks nationally.

“I would say competitiveness, height, toughness, kind of that grit factor is all there, and they can also fill what we need to do soccer-wise,” Amato said. “Sometimes you fall into (the mindset) of ‘well, they’re just an athlete or they’re just a technical soccer player.’ And I think they provide some balance. And whenever we’ve had players that can do that, they always help us, so we feel like this class does that.”

Amato said a month ago that Arizona could still add some talent from the transfer portal. They also added a walk-on this spring—Jordyn Schulte, a sophomore defender who was once the Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.) Girls Player of the Year.

A normal report date...for now

Normally, the Wildcats would have finalized their schedule by now, but the coronavirus crisis has made certain aspects subject to change.

Other than that, Arizona is on a pretty normal timeline. The players are expected to report back to campus for summer workouts and player-run practices by the start of summer session two, which begins July 13. (Same goes for UA volleyball.)

The first official day of practice—when players can start working with coaches—is usually right around the first day of August. The first match is usually less than three weeks after that.

“We’re aiming towards our normal start date...but that can change at any point. Tony’s just been trying to keep us as up to date as possible,” said redshirt senior forward Jill Aguilera.

“We had a team meeting [Thursday], just to check in on everyone. And Tony really wants us to take control so that when newcomers do come in, we make them as comfortable as possible because it’s going to look very different from previous summers.”

The UA announced Friday that it will start having student-athletes return for voluntary on-campus workouts on June 15, beginning with a small wave of football players.

The Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee shared some recommended protocols with each university that will try to bring student-athletes back to campus as safely as possible.

Some of those suggestions include:

  • Symptom checking prior to admittance to a facility
  • Increased cleaning of equipment
  • Working out in small groups and scheduling to minimize crowding
  • Maintaining social distance and wearing face coverings (if possible)
  • A need to increase space if running or sprinting
  • Having athletes come to facilities prepared to work out and shower at home
  • Limiting the number of student-athletes in the training room
  • Considering appointments/no walk-ins
  • Only offering pre-packaged foods in facilities
  • Prohibiting eating in the facilities