FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ soccer team has been practicing less than a week, but the Razorbacks play a game in less than two weeks.
Third-year head coach Erin Aubry has five starters and 15 returning letterwinners from last year’s team to go with three redshirt freshmen and 15 newcomers.
Senior defender Kailey Anders, who has started all 19 games each of the last two years, is preparing the newcomers for collegiate soccer.
"As a senior, I feel like there’s a lot of responsibility on me and the other upperclassmen to get them on board because we are such a young team. We need them to step up immediately. That’s partly our job to get them on board and let them know, ‘Hey, we need you.’"
Defensively, Arkansas recorded six shutouts last year, including a 1-0 win over Miami in Florida and a 0-0 double-overtime tie at No. 17 Georgia.
Anders, sophomore Melanie Foncham and sophomore Jenn Fryrear are returning starters at defender.
Only one starter, sophomore Jessie Givens, is back at midfielder, but sophomore Taylor Green returns after playing in all 19 games and scoring two goals.
"Knowing about soccer in the Southeastern Conference gives me a lot of experience," Green says. "That gives me an advantage for this year and with all our freshmen coming in, they will have to deal with that, too."
Freshman goalkeeper Emily Lillard liked what she saw in the first practice sessions of the year.
"Everybody looked like they were ready to go," she says. "Everybody wanted to get after it and had a lot of energy."
Less than two weeks into practice, on Saturday, Aug. 13, Arkansas plays its first game. The Razorbacks play host to Oklahoma at Razorback Fieldin a 7 p.m. exhibition game. But there’s a lot of work to be done before then.
"I think we’re more focused on practice," freshman defender Sam Wolf says. "As the days go on, we’ll get excited for our first game."
For video and interviews from photo day, go here:
Razorback Soccer Preview
Season tickets are now available. Renewals are $30 for a 10-game package. First-time purchasers can get tickets for $19 along with a $10 Chartwells coupon, redeemable at these select campus locations: Starbucks, Einsteins, Quiznos, and the Union Food Court Market — where fans can grab a great meal or snack before the game.
For season tickets, go here:
2011 Razorback Soccer Season Tickets