FAYETTEVILLE – Former Fayetteville High School soccer standout Anna Sanders joins the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer staff effective immediately, Lady Razorback head coach Gordon Henderson announced Monday.
A two-time state champion with the Arkansas Comets club team, Sanders played her collegiate soccer at the University of Mississippi where she was a two-year captain and helped lead the Lady Rebels to a pair of Southeastern Conference Western Division titles as well as the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth in 2003.
“I am so excited,” Sanders said. “Fayetteville is a great place and I’m happy to be coming back home. This is a tremendous opportunity for me. There is no other place that I would rather be to start my professional career.”
“I am very happy to have Anna on board,” Henderson said. “She is a perfect fit for what we are trying to do at Arkansas. I believe that she is an important hire for the women on our team and will be an excellent role model for what they need to do to be successful as players and reach their full potential.”
A December 2002 graduate of Ole Miss, Sanders was a four-year starter for the Lady Rebels, with 84 consecutive starts and matches played. She scored 13 goals and added 20 assists in her career on the pitch. Sanders completed her Ole Miss career ranked fourth in career assists, eighth in points and 10th in goals scored.
Following her soccer career and undergraduate diploma in exercise science, Sanders was a staff coach for the Oklahoma Outrage Soccer camps while also acting as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for the FITSO gym in Tulsa, Okla. She accepted the head varsity soccer coach’s position at Cascia Hall Preparatory school in the spring of 2003 and was named the district coach of the year after taking her squad to the second round of the playoffs before returning to her alma mater as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach seeking her master’s in exercise physiology.
“From a philosophical standpoint, Anna was the ideal candidate,” Henderson said. “The search committee was impressed with her enthusiasm to be back in Arkansas. Her personality is a great fit with the new staff and the direction in which we are heading. Her experience as a player in the SEC can only help players understand the potential they have. We think that she will be an excellent recruiter and has a great work ethic and as a Fayetteville native, her connections in the state will serve us well.”
The Lady Razorback soccer team arrives in Fayetteville on Tuesday, Aug. 10, to begin two-a-day practices with their first scheduled competition to take place in Waco, Texas, on Wednesday, Aug. 18, against Baylor University in a scrimmage before the season opener on Friday, Aug. 27, against Southeast Missouri State.