By Othello Richards
BYU”s next generation of women soccer players have signed letters of intent to play for the Cougars when the 2002 Fall season commences in August.
The nine players will be the largest number of recruits the Cougars have ever signed.
Head coach Jennifer Rockwood said she is “excited about the opportunity to have all of these outstanding young women attend BYU.”
Among the nine student athletes, All-Americans Jennifer Henry (Pasco, Wash.) and Brooke Bowman (Plano, Texas) are exceptional players who are looking to add more talent to the current Cougar squad which finished 17th at last year”s NCAA Tournament.
Henry will be the first junior college transfer to compete for the Cougars. As a freshman at Dixie College, Henry won the 2000 National Championship and was a national runner-up in 2001.
According to Rockwood, Bowman, a 4.0 student at Plano West High School, is a standout on her team that is ranked No. 1 in the nation. She also competes for the D”Feeters, one of the top club teams in the country that has qualified for the national championship the last two years.
Midfielder Bowman said two of her strengths on the field are winning air balls and passing.
“BYU is a good passing team, and that should help me,” she said.
Bowman is her high school”s leading scorer and has a brother playing soccer for BYU, but said she knows she will have to earn a spot on the 2002 team.
Working toward claiming a position on the Cougar playing roster will be a challenge all the recruits may face.
Sophomore forward Terra Smith said before coming to BYU and playing on a collegiate level, athletes are usually the star players on their high school teams.
“Once you get out here and start playing with people it”s a humbling experience,” Smith said.
The recruits will join athletes like Smith and two-time sophomore All-American Aleisha Cramer. Cramer led the Cougars in scoring with nine goals and nine assists.
She was named to the U.S. Women”s National Team roster last year and traveled with them to China where she made her debut as a starter against Germany.
According to Smith, even though BYU”s soccer team has “amazing athletes,” the advice she would give to any recruit is to remain confident in their abilities.
Smith said even though the adjustment to playing in college may initially be difficult, as time passes players will feel better about their skills and their role on the team.