Maryland women’s soccer still has a long way to go to be competitive in the Big Ten, but head coach Ray Leone’s first full recruiting class looks like a step in the right direction.
Top Drawer Soccer ranked the Terps’ class No. 25 in the nation, according to a statement released by the team Thursday. It is also the fourth-best class in the Big Ten.
The class features 13 freshman and two transfers, some of whom could make an immediate impact. Leone changed his lineup often last season, with 19 of 22 players who were healthy starting at least one game.
Leading the way is midfielder Alyssa Poarch from Middletown, Delaware, who was a member of Team USA’s U-18 National Team pool and was also invited to a U-17 National Team training camp.
Twins Mikayla and Malikae Dayes could also see a lot of minutes. Mikayla, who is a forward, played on Canada’s 2016 U-17 World Cup team. Malikae, who is a midfielder, chose the Terps over national runner-up West Virginia, South Carolina, and Michigan State.
The class will add a lot of depth to a team that went 3-15-1 last year, the program’s worst finish since 1989. Maryland lost goalie Stephanie Senn, midfielder Emily Kift, and forwards Gabby Galanti and Lisa Bianchini to graduation, while midfielder Cassie Phillips and Hannah Hoefs both transferred. Defender Marisa Knott is also no longer listed on the program’s roster, though nothing has been officially announced on that front.
Not all these losses are significant, as only Phillips, Knott and Bianchini played significant minutes. The Terps return 95 percent of their scoring from last season, as well as nine players who started more than half of the team’s games.
Leone has built programs before, and appears to be doing the same thing in College Park. Maryland should improve next season, and the Terps will only get better if Leone continues to recruit at this level.