NORMAN — The Oklahoma soccer program is set to open the 2021 season on the road tonight when it takes the field versus the Houston Cougars at 7 p.m CT.
The Sooners, led by second-year head coach Mark Carr, will turn to his new-look roster that features 16 newcomers to open the season on a high note. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
CARR WELCOMES 13 FRESHMEN
Carr will look to his first full recruiting class of 13 freshmen to make an impact on and off the field this season. The 13 signees come to Norman from all over the world, with seven domestic players and six international premier players.
“We have high expectations for OU soccer and the 2021 class will be expected to impact the program right away and provide immediate competition,” Carr said on his freshman class. “Here at OU, we love and embrace competition as we know this will only bring out the best in all of us. By adding this class to our core group of returners, the future is bright for soccer here at OU.”
OU soccer is quickly making a name for itself as a haven for international prospects and coaches to cement their places at the top of college soccer in America. All three members of the Sooner coaching staff are native to other nations, with Carr coming from England, Gough from Wales, and Bard-Martel from Canada. But the international flair in Norman reaches far beyond the touchline.
A total of seven student-athletes have elected to call Norman home, including six first-year students. Freshman forward Leo Weber was named one of Top Drawer Soccer’s premier international players to watch this season, while Canadian prospects Sheridan Michel, Keera Melenhorst, and Nikki Panas spent time in the Canadian youth national team program.
Muriel Kroflin joins Carr’s 2021 class from Langenargen, Germany, where she spent her youth leading SC Freiburg to Bundesliga titles and playing on the German youth national squad. Norweigan players Une Hebnes Georgsen and Andrine Westlie round out OU’s international group, with Georgsen starting in net for the Norweigan youth national team at the U17 UEFA women’s qualifiers, while Westlie led Bærum SK and the league in scoring after making her debut at 14.
Carr didn’t just retool his roster with a large freshman class but also utilized the transfer portal to bring three ACC student-athletes to Norman. Makala Thomas spent three seasons at Florida State, helping the Seminoles to the 2018 national championship and playing in 29 games in her time at FSU. Alexis Strickland joins the Sooners from perennial powerhouse North Carolina, where she played in 27 games for the Tar Heels as a freshman before not appearing last season. The final transfer in 2021 is Molly Feighan, who played 16 games last season at Virginia Tech and started all 19 games as a junior in 2019.
All three premier transfer players – Thomas, Strickland, and Feighan – can play any position in the attacking third for Carr’s side. They join Erika Middleton (Miami), Sakky Yoshida (Oregon), Bri Amos (Kansas), and Olivia Odle (Virginia Tech) as transfers into the OU program.
LED BY THE SENIORS
Despite such a large group of newcomers, the Sooners’ leadership comes in the form of their 12 seniors who have combined for nearly 25,000 minutes played at the Division I level. Lauren Haivala, Jazzy Richards, and Erika Middleton are all familiar names for Sooner fans, playing in 94 matches for the Crimson & Cream.
Following the team’s match tonight, they’ll travel to Beaumont, Texas, for a showdown on Sunday night with Lamar.
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