[UCLA: SA Preseason #3]
First-year head coach Amanda Cromwell
, who arrived from UCF to take over for B.J. Snow
, inherited a team loaded with talent, including two Olympians and four U.S. under-23 players, but she also must lead the Bruins against three of the
nation's top five teams in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25 -- all on the road.
For the second time in two years, UCLA lost its women's head coach to U.S. Soccer. After Jill Ellis
, who named youth development director, Snow left to become the first full-time head coach of the U.S. Under-17 women's national team.
left Cromwell, who guided the Knights to a 203-83-26 record in 14 years, with a deeps squad, featuring nine starters from the team that went 18-3-2 and advanced to the 2012 NCAA quarterfinals.
All-American defender Abby Dahlkemper
is one of four under-23 players along with Sarah Killion
, Sam Mewis
and Jenna Richmond
, while Rosie White
(New Zealand) and Chelsea Stewart
(Canada) went to the Olympics in 2012.
Junior keeper Katelyn Rowland
set a Bruin record for
consecutive shutout minutes (564), while sophomore Taylor Smith
is the top returning scorer with eight goals and 20 points.
UCLA's freshman class
is deep. Gabbi Miranda
, Lauren Kaskie
, Zoey Goralski
and Darian Jenkins
are all expected to contribute.
The Bruins' schedule
kicks off Friday with a home match against Northeastern, but they must take to the
road to race No. 1 North Carolina, No. 4 Stanford in Pac-12 play and No. 5 Notre Dame.