Jada Talley and Hannah Clifford, two stalwarts of Arizona soccer’s attack over the past four years, will not be returning to the Wildcats for the 2021 season.
Talley is transferring to USC for her fifth year of eligibility, while Clifford is moving on to life after soccer, according to new UA head coach Becca Moros.
Talley departs with 24 career goals, tied with Jill Aguilera for fourth-most in Arizona history. Talley also had 16 career assists, fourth-most in school history. The speedy forward led Arizona in assists (6) in 2020-21 and was second in goals (5), only behind Aguilera, who’s returning for a sixth season.
Talley started in 55 of the 73 games in which she appeared. She did not respond to a message seeking comment but said in a USC press release that “I’m very excited to finally be a Trojan. I am really looking forward to returning to California and getting to play in such a professional and supportive environment. I can’t wait to compete for a National Championship in the Cardinal and Gold!”
Talley will return to Arizona on Oct. 3 when the Wildcats host the Trojans.
“Jada is ready for another challenge and opportunity, I think she’s picked a good one for herself,” Moros said Monday. “I’m excited to see what she does and wish her the best both in her next year and her playing career after that, as she hopes to go pro.”
Clifford started in 38 of the 71 games she appeared in at Arizona, logging 82 shots, four goals and seven assists. The Salem, Oregon native started in 12 of the 13 games she appeared in in 2020-21, notching one goal and two assists.
“She’s had some aches and pains throughout her career; it’s just time (to move on),” Moros said. “I hope the best for her and appreciate what both of them did for the program before I was ever here because that’s their legacy here and it’s a big one.”
Sophomore defender Ava Hetzel is another notable player missing from Arizona’s roster. The outside back started all 15 games of her freshman season, recording one goal and two assists. Her crosses and free kicks were an integral part of the offense.
Arizona’s first day of practice is Aug. 5 and their first exhibition is Aug. 10 in San Diego.
They have not released their schedule yet, but most of it can be found here.