The TCU women’s soccer team will kick off its 2020 season on the road against Baylor on Friday, marking the first TCU Athletics event since March.
“I’m excited about the season, and I think our players are as well,” said head coach Eric Bell. “The opportunity to compete for a conference championship is huge.”
In the Big 12 preseason poll, the Horned Frogs rank third out of 10 teams.
Junior Messiah Bright, who led the team in goals last season with 12 and senior Yazmeen Ryan, who led the team with nine assists, are two players to watch.
“Yazmeen Ryan [is] who I think is probably, if not the best, one of the best players in our league,” Bell said. “She’s a special kid, and she’s turned out to be a leader within our group.”
Bell added that Bright can “change the game with her pace and athleticism, as well as her goal-scoring abilities.”
Both Bright and Ryan earned Big 12 Honors this preseason.
Goalie Emily Alvarado will also be returning this season. Alvarado started in all 22 games last season and had seven shutouts. She also had a 1.17 goals against average and a 0.780 save percentage.
“Emily is one of the best goal keepers in the country, and we are very fortunate to have her,” Bell said. “She’s done a really good job this preseason, and I expect her to have a really good season.”
Tara Smith and Tayla Christensen both graduated, and six new first-years will join the team this year.
“We have an older group, and we are starting primarily returning players,” Bell said. “That’s good from a familiarity and experience standpoint, and that should excite the team that we have a lot of experience that will be on the field come Friday.”
Last season, the Horned Frogs were 11-8-3 overall and 4-3-2 in conference play. The team had big wins over No. 25 SMU and No. 13 Texas Tech in the regular season. In the postseason, TCU went to the Big 12 Soccer Tournament finals to fall to the Kansas Jayhawks 1-0.
The team made it to the NCAA Soccer Tournament but lost in the first round to the University of Arizona Wildcats.
This season, TCU will play each Big 12 team once, with four games at home and five games on the road.
The Horned Frogs will have their first home game Sept. 18 against Texas. Iowa State, Texas Tech and West Virginia will all travel to Fort Worth to take on the Frogs.
TCU will travel to Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Oklahoma for its away games this season.
Although there will be no Big 12 Championship, the Horned Frogs are hoping to finish at the top of the Big 12.
“I like our team, I think we have a shot at it, a really strong shot at winning it,” Bell said. “Hopefully we can stay healthy both from an injury standpoint and a COVID standpoint and give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful.”
TCU is 4-13-4 all-time against the Bears. The 22nd match up between the two teams will begin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.