A year removed from the best season in Utah history, veteran head coach Rich Manning can see bright days ahead.
After stumbling in 2017, due largely to injuries, the Utes are looking to recapture the magic of 2016. During that campaign, Utah enjoyed the best post-season run in school history and finished with a No. 16 national ranking, its highest year-end mark year since 2006.
Many key pieces from that squad are still on the roster and once again fully fit, including All-Pac-12 performers Paola van der Veen, Hailey Skolmoski and Tavia Leachman. Utah also added 13 newcomers to its solid nucleus.
Hermann Award candidate Hailey Skolmoski led the team in goals the last two seasons and is the first player in program history to earn first team All-Pac-12 honors. At the center forward position, freshman Makalya Christensen provides cover for Skolmoski. Winger Max Flom enters her senior season having played in every game of her career. Veteran Ireland Dunn will join her on the opposite side.
Netherlands native Paola van der Veen, an All-NSCAA and All-Pac-12 selection last season, finished among the conference's top five in goals and points. A pair of redshirt sophomores, Kristin Fairbairn and Natalie Kump, will battle some talented newcomers for playing time.
Haylee Cacciacarne played every game last season and led the Utes in assists. Demi Lopez is back after missing all of last year with an injury, while Jessica Hixson came on late in the season.
Utah finally has its center-back pairing 100 percent healthy. Tavia Leachman, an All-Pac-12 performer and NSCAA All-Pacific Region honoree as a freshman, has fully recovered from injury. Aleea Gwerder, who started every game at outside back as a freshman, has moved to a central position. Her fitness level was on full display during an impressive fall camp.
A pair of U.S. Youth Team selections, Holly Daugirda and Hailey Stodden, are prepared to start at the outside back slots. Tatum Thornton could also see time as a starter after playing 11 games as a freshman.
Carly Nelson returns in goal for a third straight season after playing 16 games for the Utes last year. SJ Edwards redshirted last season after earning Oregon ODP Player of the Year honors prior to her arrival at Utah.
Construction is underway on a new competition and practice complex for the Utah women's soccer and men's lacrosse programs. It will be located near the existing McCarthey Family Track & Field and the Dumke Family Softball Stadium off Wasatch Drive on the U. campus.
The competition field will be a high-performance sand-based field with drainage, allowing for play on a safe surface even during heavy rain. Lights will be installed, providing the option for night games and televised contests.
Phase 1 of project will include the playing field, lights and seating on the east side. Phase 2 will include more seating on the west side and a building that will include locker rooms, a training room, equipment room, coaches' offices, concession stands, rest rooms and a press box. Plans for the complex also include a practice field immediately west of the stadium.
Utah soccer traveled to Germany for three matches during a 10-day stretch in May 2017. The Utes traveled to a number of cities including Frankfurt, Munich and Augsburg while also making a jaunt into the Alps. Utah played matches against SC Opel 06 Ru¨sselheim, MTV Dießen and FC Staad. The team also took in a Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and Hamburger SV, visited a TSV Hoffenheim practice at its training ground, and took a tour of the Allianz Arena, home of German champion Bayern Munich.
Hailey Skolmoski and Tavia Leachman were invited to the U.S. Under-23 Women's National Team camp from Jan. 6-13 in Carson, Calif.
Come along for the ride as we traveled to Milwaukee and Chicago to take on Marquette and DePaul – our first road trip in 2015.
Meet members of the Utah soccer team and find out what being a Ute is all about.
"We love working with the ball, playing ball and having a ball. There is nothing like testing yourself to be your best alongside great people. Our team is bursting with players and staff that love the game and want to push each other. I love coming to the University each day. We have such a positive and energized environment. We love representing the Utes. And I see our players every day achieving great things on and off the field. It's AWESOME!"
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing."
"Success to me is giving your best effort consistently, embracing the challenges, getting back up, and having just enough GRIT to finish what you start. It always boils down to hard work. Talent, opportunity, winning all look a lot like hard work. Every time one of our players reaches a milestone or finds their daily success, this is winning."
"I would like to thank Coach Manning for this great opportunity. I am very excited to work with these players. I am very familiar with the program after playing under Coach Manning and can't wait to work with an outstanding group of goalkeepers."