Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls; put on your cowboy boots, grab all the purple you can find and strap in because it’s finally time for some TCU Soccer!
After finishing last season with a sensational 12-2-2 record, a first-ever Big 12 regular season title, and a trip to the Elite 8 amidst the unorthodox 2020/2021 schedule — expectations are high for the Horned Frogs this year and with good reason.
The Frogs are ranked No. 8 in the preseason United Soccer Coaches poll and are predicted to finish second in the Big 12 behind only West Virginia. Considering Texas Tech was chosen as the favorite last season only to finish with a 2-5-1 conference record in 8th place, I wouldn’t put too much thought behind it.
That No. 8 preseason ranking though… that’s what you like to see. This is the highest preseason ranking in program history and goes to show that the Frogs have marked their territory as one of the teams to beat going forward. You love to see it.
Aside from overall team recognition, a few key players earned preseason accolades as Brandi Peterson and Grace Collins were both named to the Big 12 All-Preseason first team after sensational campaigns last season.
Of course, TCU will be without two of their key contributors from last season as Yazmeen Ryan has begun her journey with the Portland Thorns and Emily Alvarado recently made the transition to playing overseas after signing with first-division French side Stade de Reims. Their presence and leadership will certainly be missed, but last year’s success will have a major impact on recruitment for years to come. We’re already seeing a new wave of talent making their way over to Fort Worth to play for the dynamic duo of Coach Eric Bell and Ryan Higginbotham.
The Horned Frogs are adding ELEVEN, yes eleven, new faces to their incredibly deep roster for the 2021 season. Aside from the six signees — Jacqueline Barnes (D), Brenna Brosam (D), Paige Crews (MF), Olivia Pena (MF), Lauren Memoly (F), and Camryn Lancaster (F) — TCU snagged five transfers ranging from the former Big East freshman of the year to an absolute unit tallying over 4,000 minutes in her collegiate career.
Joining the 2021 recruiting class on campus this fall will be Kinsey Ehmann (Pepperdine), Alex Fava (Kentucky), Skylar Heinrich (Creighton), Dana Reed (LMU) and Jenna Winebrenner (Notre Dame).
In other words, the Horned Frogs are STACKED this year.
Although TCU has a ton of momentum coming into this year, the 2021 schedule will be no easy feat. Aside from the regular conference foes such as Oklahoma State (#16), West Virginia (#12), and Kansas (unranked) TCU will face a daunting out-of-conference start to their season.
Texas A&M is the only officially ranked program (#9) on the Frogs non-conference schedule, but Ohio State, Pepperdine, and Colorado all received a significant amount of votes to be in the United Soccer Coaches top 25, though they sit just outside of the rankings. By the time TCU plays the Buckeyes on Sept. 12, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s another top-25 matchup for our viewing pleasure.
Mark your calendars and get your tickets... The 2021 schedule has officially arrived and Garvey-Rosenthal is back to 100% capacity— TCU Soccer (@TCUSoccer) June 14, 2021
First up on the Horned Frogs schedule is Stephen F. Austin, a team that finished 10-6-3 and was knocked out of the Southland Conference tournament by Southeastern Louisiana in round two. I would hate to be a jinx, but this game SHOULD be an easy introduction to the regular season and a perfect opportunity for the newcomers to get their game legs underneath them.
Unfortunately the season opener will be played away from home as the Frogs must travel to Nacogdoches to get their season underway. If you haven’t seen much about this TCU vs SFA matchup I wouldn’t blame you, all the media attention has been focused on the Horned Frogs home opener against No. 9 Texas A&M on August 22 and with good reason.
It's a top ten showdown as #9 @aggiesoccer + #8 @tcusoccer go head-to-head on Sunday, August 22, at 7PM at Fort Worth's Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium. ⚽— Fort Worth Sports (@fortworthsports) August 17, 2021
️: https://t.co/gNzQYh6Frm or 817-257-3764. pic.twitter.com/Hma6B9kj4W
Although the game takes place so early in the season, this could very possibly be the game of the year. It’s not everyday that a top-10 matchup comes through Garvey-Rosenthal stadium, and I am expecting the place to be PACKED full of Horned Frogs and sadly some Aggies as well.
A&M was the only team to best the Horned Frogs in the regular season last year, winning 1-0 behind a 57th minute goal. The Aggies tarnished the Frogs’ perfect season, and for that… they must pay.
Historically, the Horned Frogs have just six wins in 22 attempts against the Aggies. The last time TCU bested A&M was in 1992, well before I was even born. It’s been a long and dreary thirteen-game losing streak against the Aggies, but the reason I bring all of this up is:
Records are there to be broken. All streaks come to an end. Momentum will shift.
Regardless of what happens in the opening week of the season, it’s going to be one hell of a ride on the journey to the NCAA Tournament. The Horned Frogs are one of only 16 programs to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the past five seasons consecutively, and with the trajectory this team is on the Frogs will be back in no time.
The sky’s the limit for TCU Soccer in 2021, and it all begins this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. CST. If you aren’t making the 3 ½ hour drive out to Nacogdoches, don’t worry; the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ as per usual.
As fine and dandy as a regular season opener might be, the real show gets started this weekend when the Aggies come to town.
August 22, 7:00 p.m. CST at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium. Be there or be square, it’s going to be a good one.