FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas soccer coaching staff has been hard at work since the day head coach Gordon Henderson arrived in search of a top notch recruiting class to go along with a host of solid players which he already has on campus and as the 2005 fall season draws closer, all indications are that they are on the right path.
With seven new faces slated to join the Lady Razorbacks in the fall, Arkansas is in a rebuilding stage that could show promise down the road. Their incoming class is considered one of the top squads in the NCAA’s central region which includes 68 squads from Texas to Colorado and as far east as Tennessee.
“In putting this class together it was very important for us to achieve some goals,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “One of those was team speed and we did that and then some. Another was versatility on the field and we achieved that and we also wanted personalities to give us more bite and we’ve done that as well. When it is all said and done, I would be surprised if this class isn’t one of the best in the last 10-15 years.”
The national publications seem to agree with Henderson’s perspective as his new squad is considered the 14th best among the central region teams and among the nation’s elite. Arkansas’ ranking is its first since SoccerBuzz began posting its top teams online.
“When I took this job a year ago I said that it wasn’t a quick fix,” Henderson continued. “You want to build a program with a strong foundation based on success, integrity and a strong commitment to the University. These building blocks take time and the current squad has grasped this whole heartedly. I have tremendous respect for the hard work that they have put in both on and off the field and that they continue to put in. They will be the legacy and this current class is part of the puzzle. I can’t wait to see the improvement of the team this spring and what the new class brings in the fall.”
Of the seven new faces, one comes from Arkansas, one from England, one from Northern Ireland and four from Texas. The two Europeans have seen international experience, most recently at the UEFA U-19 Championships, while each of the stateside recruits has continued to play in their respective club and high school programs.
Carly Telford, the starting goalkeeper for England’s U-19 team that has qualified for the Championships of the European Cup in July has already been tabbed by SoccerBuzz as the nation’s fifth best international recruit for the fall season and should give incumbent goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver everything she can handle as the two battle for the starting spot.
“Carly has an exceptional resume, but is also not a lock to start for us next year and she knows that,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “Carrie Dillsaver is an exceptional goalkeeper and we will be truly spoiled this fall. I can’t wait to see how they push each other throughout the season.”
The Lady Razorbacks are currently off for the summer but report to fall training camp on August 9th where they begin their quest for a Southeastern Conference Championship and a trip to the NCAA Championships. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.