Aug. 8, 2014
BY BRANDON HARRISON
UW Athletic Communications
With Wisconsin women's soccer beginning preseason this week, we sat down with head coach Paula Wilkins and covered a number of topics heading into 2014. Each day this week, we'll expand on discussed topics, such as keys to 2014, Badgers in the U-20 World Cup, veteran experience and leadership, players to watch and the impact of freshmen.
The Badgers report for team meetings on Tuesday, then hit the field for the first time Wednesday morning for fitness testing. The group will face Marquette in an exhibition matchup on Aug. 14, then officially begin the season Aug. 22 at home against Oregon.
• Monday: Three Keys to 2014
• Tuesday: Badgers in the World Cup
• Wednesday: Veteran Experience
• Thursday: Players to Watch
• Friday: Freshman Impact
MADISON, Wis. -- Look down the roster of the 2014 Wisconsin women's soccer team and you'll quickly notice just how laden it is with upperclassmen and leadership. Don't just expect the newest youth movement in Madison to go by unnoticed, however.
Earlier this summer, head coach Paula Wilkins announced the signing of six to UW's program, as Jordan Blaser, Becca Harrison, Sydney McGinnis, Arlyn Reed, Caitlin Riley and Alexis Tye each signed national letters of intent and join the program this fall.
Competition and position battles tend to bring out the best in athletes during camp. Wilkins believes this newest class of Badgers can step in right away and provide that needed push.
WILKINS: “I think the freshmen all bring different dimensions. Everything we’ve talked about with them is in their mentalities. They have to come in here and believe that they’re going to be a starter and an impact player. I think that they add something different. Sydney (McGinnis) and Becca (Harrison) will add something different that I don’t think we really have. The freshman class will push the upperclassmen. A lot of them will have important roles that they’ll play, whether it’s starting or whether it’s coming off the bench and adding something that we need.
"I think when we bring them into the game they will change the game. We can bring in somebody from off the bench that will add a different dimension.”
Jordan Blaser | Defender | Pewaukee, Wis. (Pewaukee)
An experienced, three-year varsity performer at Pewaukee High, Blaser earned honorable mention All-Woodland conference honors as a sophomore.
WILKINS: “Jordan is a strong, consistent defender who has the ability to shut down her opponents 1v1. She has a competitive mentality that allows her to raise her team’s ability to be successful, while also being versatile enough to play centrally or out wide.”
Becca Harrison | Midfielder | Valencia, Calif. (Valencia)
Harrison was rated a four-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer.com and was named the All-Foothill League Player of the Year following her junior campaign. Accountingfor 24 points at Valencia High School, she netted seven goals and added a team-best 10 assists in 2013. She led her team to a first-place finish in the league as a junior.
WILKINS: "Becca comes from one of the most successful programs on the west coast. She has great flair on the ball and great vision psasing in the front half of the field. She's a creative midfielder with the ball and she has a definite grit when she plays. She'll be entertaining to watch with her creative ideas in the final third."
Sydney McGinnis | Forward | Park Ridge, Ill. (Maine South)
McGinnis was a four-star forward according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, also ranked as the third-best prospect in the Midwest and No. 5 among forwards in the class of 2014. A member of the Olympic Development Program, she was named to the 2011 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships Best XI's squad.
WILKINS: "Sydney is a dynamic, fast and strong forward who is a pure goal scorer. She is busy and confident around the goal and has the ability to get behind defenses with her pace and mentality. Sydney will bring a different physical dimension to our attack."
Arlyn Reed | Defender | West Bloomfield, Mich. (Detroit Country Day School)
Reed has participated in the Elite Clubs National League since 2010-11, competing in the finals during the 2011-12 season and competing in the Champions League during the 2012-13 campaign. She led Detroit Country Day School to an appearance in the Division III state semifinals as a freshman. Reed has also been a member of the Olympic Development Program since 2008.
WILKINS: “Arlyn comes from a very successful soccer program in Michigan. She is a tough, determined defender who adds an attacking mentality from the flank and defense. A shutdown defender, her work rate up and down the flank is exciting and will help add another dimension to our program.”
Caitlin Riley | Forward | Eagle River, Wis. (Shattuck St. Mary's [Minnesota])
Riley was a three-star prospect according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, hailing from one of the top prep soccer programs in the country in Shattuck St. Mary's. This past February, she helped Shattuck St. Mary's earn a tournament championship at the Las Vegas Mayor's Cup in Nevada.
WILKINS: “Caitlin is a dynamic, quick forward who has the ability to score and create goals for herself and her teammates. She is also able to cause problems for other teams with her quickness and awareness, displaying a real nose for the goal.”
Alexis Tye | Athlete | San Rafael, Calif. (Marin Catholic)
Tye enters the program ranked as the 17th-best prospect in all of Northern California and Hawaii, rated a four-star prosper per TopDrawerSoccer.com. After being named the All-Marin Player of the Year in California as a junior, she was among the 150-player pool at the 2014 Girls IMG Academy. The Mustang FC product has participated in the Olympic Development Program, ECNL and U.S. Youth Soccer programs.
WILKINS: "Alexis is an extremely versatile player who has played several different positions for her club and high school. Her versatility is a great asset and will aid in her success at Wisconsin. She's a solid technical player with a combination of competitiveness, attitude and physical fight."