With August comes the start of a new school year and even more importantly, a new season. With football fall camp in full swing, BYU fans are getting hyped. Meanwhile over at South Field, the BYU women’s soccer team has begun its preseason preparations.
2018 was an excellent year for the Cougars, winning their sixth West Coast Conference title in seven years after a disappointing 2017 season. The Cougars lone loss in conference play came at Pepperdine, and the Cougars beat Santa Clara 2-0 in their final home match to clinch at least a share of the title. A win at Loyola Marymount sealed the title for the Cougars and put them back on top of the conference.
2019 looks to be another good year for the Cougars. BYU will return nine starters from the 2018 squad with just Olivia Wade(mission) and Maddie Siddoway Gates(graduated) not returning to the squad. The Cougars also have a strong Freshman class joining the team this fall, including Jamie Shepherd and SaraJayne Affleck to name a couple.
Affleck is out of Southern California and recently appeared on SportsCenter Top 10 in June with a crafty solo goal. Affleck took the ball to the left side of the box, turned and faced her defender, nutmegged her, and placed the ball into the far side-netting for a #3 appearance on the Top 10.
Joining Affleck is Jamie Shepherd from American Fork, UT. Shepherd finished up her youth career in July with her club Utah Celtic FC. Shepherd led her club to the UYSA National Championship Game, where she helped her team in a 9-1 victory to clinch the first ever national title by a team from Utah and won the Golden Boot Award for the best player in the tournament. During her four years at American Fork, Shepherd led the Cavemen to a state title and was named Deseret News Ms. Soccer and Utah Gatorade Player of the year in 2017, among many accolades she received during her youth career. Shepherd’s Celtic team has been coached by BYU Assistant Coach Steve Magleby, so Shepherd should fit in nicely with Coach Rockwood’s tactics.
The Cougars should expect strong seasons from goalkeeper to striker. Forward Elise Flake and Midfielder Mikayla Colohan have been named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List, given to the top soccer player in the NCAA. The Cougars will be anchored on the back line by Alyssa Jefferson and will look to improve on last year’s +27 Goal Difference.
The Cougars will have their Blue/White game on Saturday, August 10 and host Colorado College in an exhibition on the 17th. The season officially kicks off in SEC territory at Alabama on August 22 with a second match at Mississippi St on August 24.