Arizona Wildcats forward Jill Aguilera has been recognized as one of the top players in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com, checking in at No. 80 in the site’s preseason national Top 100.
The sixth-year senior led the Wildcats with nine goals and five assists in 2020-21. After missing the 2016 season with a torn ACL, Aguilera has netted 24 goals over the past four years, tied for fourth most in Arizona soccer history. She needs eight more to tie Mallory Miller’s all-time record (32).
New UA head coach Becca Moros plans to lean heavily on Aguilera this season, putting the left-footed striker in the middle of Arizona’s new-look possession-oriented offense.
“Jill’s gonna have to be involved much more in our buildup play and how she needs to be on the ball more overall,” Moros said last week. “She’s super opportunistic, absolutely powerful both on and off the ball, shooting-wise extremely powerful, but we need her to be more involved in everything that we do in terms of getting from the backline into the midfield from the midfield into the front line.
“A lot of the best forwards in the world play-make as well. And if you have the tools that she has to get in behind and do those different things, and then you add the ability to come in and build as well, it makes you very unpredictable.”
Aguilera graduated in the spring with a general studies degree with an emphasis on sports and society. She opted to return for a sixth year and is currently pursuing a master’s in real estate development.
Aguilera hopes to play professionally when her UA career ends. Her rights were claimed by the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars in January.
The Wildcats open the 2021 regular season on the road Friday against the WAC champion Utah Valley Wolverines.
Pac-12 players in Top Drawer Soccer’s National Top 100
- Penelope Hocking, F, USC — 7 (her twin sister Iliana starts in Arizona’s midfield)
- Reilyn Turner, F, UCLA — 28
- Summer Yates, F, Washington — 35
- Mia Fishel, F, UCLA — 45
- Emily Smith, D, Cal — 55
- Savannah DeMelo, MF, USC — 60
- Hannah Sharts, D, Colorado — 72
- Lauren Brzykcy, GK, UCLA — 78
- Jill Aguilera, F, Arizona — 80
- Angelina Anderson, GK, Cal — 83
- Croix Bethune, MF, USC — 85
- Nicole Douglas, F, ASU — 91