Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
· Football
Live Culture
Police Beat
Online Crossword
Photo Spreads
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat staff
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media info
UATV - student TV
KAMP - student radio
Daily Wildcat staff alumni

Soccer: Southern California dreamin'

By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 24, 2003

11 Golden State natives on soccer team return home

Just because the upstart Wildcat soccer team will be wearing its trademark navy blue road uniforms doesn't mean the surroundings won't be familiar.

The Arizona soccer team looks to take advantage of playing at "home" this weekend, when it faces off against Southern California and UCLA in Los Angeles.

Eleven of the 23 players on the Wildcat squad hail from the Southern California area, giving family, friends and old coaches a chance to see their favorite player in action, instead of just hearing the results from the usual postgame phone call.

Those 11 Wildcats couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to go home.

"I have been waiting two years for this," said sophomore midfielder Tracy Adler. "Especially when old coaches come, and knowing the other people on the other team because it's your local school."

Adler grew up in Van Nuys, Calif., a short drive on the 405 Freeway from UCLA.

Junior defender Lindsey Peeples, of Arcadia, Calif., said she thinks it's very possible that UA fans will outnumber those rooting for USC and UCLA. She said having so many people supporting her team helps drive her, along with the idea of playing on the opposite side of the field against some of her former high school and club teammates.

"It peps you up. It makes you excited, because your friends don't hardly get to see you," Peeples said. "(We) want everything to go right."

Arizona is not the only soccer team in the country with a large contingent of Southern California natives. Twenty of the top 25 teams in the national polls have one or more players that spent their club and high school careers playing there.

"Southern California has the most competitive soccer, I think," Adler said. "How I see it, every coach is kind of linked to one another, so they teach their kids the same style of play. Southern California players are technical. I think it is a different style than other places and you can tell, definitely, when you play with other players from other places."

Given the abundance of talent in the Southern California region, the state features some of the nation's best collegiate programs. In Soccer Buzz magazine's latest rankings, No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 Santa Clara and No. 13 Pepperdine are all in the mix, while USC has floated in and out of the polls all season.

Peeples, Adler, and sophomore midfielder Nikki David were all given the opportunity to play college soccer in Southern California. Each has stayed close to home. All three have high school and club teammates on both the USC and UCLA squads, and each could have played for an established college soccer power. But they all ultimately chose to come to Tucson to play for the fledging UA program.

"Basically, for me, it was between here and USC," said David, a native of Manhattan Beach, Calif. "(The UA) was a perfect fit. When I came on my trip, I just fit in."

UA freshman forward/midfielder Erin Bevacqua of Laguna Beach, sophomore midfielder Erin Clewett of Yorba Linda, sophomore forward Cassie Daniels of Torrance and goalkeeper Natalie Juarez of Claremont also grew up playing under the Southern California sun. Sophomore midfielder Courtney Moseley (Redondo Beach), sophomore forward Kelly Nelson (Lakewood), junior forward Candice Wilks (Altadena) and freshman forward Lauren Winters (Laguna Hills) round out the Arizona's roster of Los Angeles-area natives.

While these 11 Wildcat women are anxious to play in front of family and friends, David added that players tend to put more pressure on themselves when they are facing familiar crowds like they will see this weekend.

"If you do have a bad game, it's kind of like letting down everyone that came to see you," David said. "(It's) not letting them down, but kind of embarrassing for yourself."

Excitement is high, but Peeples said she and her teammates making the trek back home have to remember that coming away with a pair of victories on the soccer field is the reason they're heading to Los Angeles in the first place.

According to Peeples, her biggest worry is that she and her teammates may get too caught up in the moment.

"You're at home, and you're family is there," Peeples said. "You're focused on what's going to happen after the game - or who you are going to talk to after, where you are going to go eat dinner, going home - and not focusing on the task at hand first."

Something to say? Discuss this on WildChat
Or write a Letter to the Editor
Soccer: Southern California dreamin'
Soccer heads to LA hoping to end futility against USC, UCLA
Football: Cats chasing third consecutive victory against Golden Bears
Opponent analysis: Cal senior running wild in Pac
Volleyball hoping for payback against ASU
Men's water polo plays for national tourney bid at home
Restaurant and Bar guide


Webmaster -
© Copyright 2003 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media