The Kentucky women’s soccer team is looking to rewrite its script in the 2019 season after an undesired 2018 year. The Cats went 5-14 overall and 1-9 in the SEC last season, but have undergone a complete personnel change during the offseason that included the biggest incoming class since the program-record 15 that were brought in during 2012.
The addition of 15 newcomers, 14 true freshmen and one transfer, is a lot change for one program in just a few months, but UK head coach Ian Carry is excited for what the new class brings to the table.
"Bringing in such a large class took a lot of preparation from the staff. We made sure that our upperclassmen who were returning fed into (the newcomers) over the summer with regards to our culture and what we want to build here at Kentucky,” Carry said in a UK press release. “It's a great class and a great group of young women that join a returning group that are hungry and eager to be successful."
Of the 5 of the 15 new Wildcats come from overseas (Iceland, Cyprus, Germany, Norway, Netherlands), six different states and five different languages. The class also includes a couple records under the Ian Carry era: the addition of Tatiana Hagan who is the first JUCO transfer for Coach Carry in his three years at Kentucky, and with 28 players on the roster, this year makes it the largest roster Carry has put together at UK.
In addition to the 15 new players on the team, the Cats return 14 -- one of those returners being Emma Shields, a sophomore midfielder, who is more than excited about the team’s new class.
"The incoming (players) are creating so much more good competition between everyone," Shields said in a UK press release. "It's great energy, it's intense and it's making everyone else better. It's really cool too because off of the field we are becoming best friends and you can see that on the field because we are working together, cheering each other on and building chemistry."
Kentucky has a slate of non-conference games at the beginning of their schedule before taking on their first SEC opponent on September 19 at home against Auburn. Should the Cats advance, the SEC Tournament will take place on November 3-10 in Orange Beach, Alabama.
"We have 28 fit players right now and they are all players that can fill in multiple roles across the starting 11, and that's huge because it's increased the competition level,” Carry said in a press release. “(This team) is hungry, they want to win and they are all working so hard over the preseason to earn a starting position."