I sat down with junior defender Brenna Brosam to discuss the upcoming season for a TCU team that believes it has what it takes to take that next step. Throughout my conversation with Brenna, I got the impression that this TCU team is incredibly confident, but not cocky. The importance of confidence cannot be understated in the game of soccer. As Brenna discussed, her loss of confidence last season impacted her play, and eventually her playing time. We also got to speak about leadership within the TCU soccer program, the winning culture that has been built, and much more. I highly recommend giving a listen to the entire interview through this link or the player at the top of the page.
Coach Eric Bell will enter his 12th season in charge of the TCU soccer program this fall, and he has built the Horned Frogs into one of the best in the country. When Bell took over the Horned Frogs had never won a conference championship, and they had never been to the NCAA tournament. 2022 was the 7th straight NCAA tournament appearance for TCU. In 2020, the Horned Frogs played in the Elite Eight, and they are coming off of back-to-back appearances in the Sweet Sixteen. Bell has coached the Horned Frogs to an impressive 118-69-33 record in his time in charge. Now, this TCU program is hungry for more. The goal? A national championship, as Brenna discussed in our interview. She believes that TCU has what it takes to get it done within the next 2 years.
Players returned to Fort Worth to prepare for the season on Monday, July 10th. The fast-approaching season will be here before they know it, and the schedule gets tough fast. The Horned Frogs will host SMU to open the season on August 17th. Three days later 3-time national champion Florida State will visit before the Frogs head to Penn State. Then, UAB and Texas A&M will visit. At this point, it is September 3rd and TCU has played 3 teams that went to the NCAA tournament last year. UAB and SMU both finished last year with winning records, so it is important that this TCU team is prepared to get off to a good start. Brosam told me she believes the team is ready, and expectations are higher than they’ve ever been. TCU has become accustomed to playing in big games prior to conference play under Eric Bell. Last year, the Frogs played 4 ranked opponents in non-conference play.
TCU has a solid mix of experienced players and young faces that will see significant minutes this year. By my count, the Horned Frogs return 68% of their minutes played from last year, 54% of their goals scored, and 61% of their assists. The biggest question mark is who will replace star forward (and now Orlando Pride player) Messiah Bright who scored 11 goals and had 4 assists last year. Brosam told me that she believes TCU returns the “fastest forwards in the country” and that she expects sophomore forward Seven Castain (2 goals and 4 assists last year) to have a breakout year. TCU caught a break when All-American midfielder Gracie Brian, who had 7 goals and 4 assists last season, announced she would return for a 5th season. Junior forward Camryn Lancaster is back and will look to recapture her freshman season form. In 2021, Lancaster was a Big 12 All-Freshman selection, contributing 9 goals and 12 assists. Last year, Lancaster had a bit of a sophomore slump with just 6 goals and 1 assist.
The TCU midfield suffers some pretty significant losses heading into 2023 with Chaylyn Hubbard, Megan Reilly, Payton Crews, and Michelle Slater (who combined for 5,953 minutes, 4 goals, and 10 assists last year) all gone. The Horned Frogs do return midfielders Olivia Hasler (1,959 minutes, 3 assists), Oli Pena (1,610 minutes, 3 assists), and All-American Gracie Brian (1,521 minutes, 7 goals, 4 assists). They also went out in the transfer portal and bring in Jennie Immethun from Loyola Marymount (1,190 minutes) who will provide some much-needed depth in the midfield. Brosam also noted in our interview that junior Lauren Memoly had a great spring and should see a more significant role in 2023.
The defense will be anchored by junior Brenna Brosam who will enter her 3rd season as a starter. Grace Coppinger returns after her freshman campaign that included 1,086 minutes, a goal, and 2 assists. Sarah Melcher (482 minutes, 2 goals) also returns after seeing solid minutes as a freshman and could be in for more as a sophomore. Yet another sophomore who saw some action as a freshman is Remini Tillotson (160 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist), The Horned Frogs also add a transfer defender from Notre Dame in junior Maddie Mooney. While this TCU defense is still relatively young, they gained valuable experience last season. Hopefully, the growing pains of 2022 are out of the way and this defense can hit the ground running in 2023.
Given the level of recruiting TCU has reached there is also always the chance that a freshman comes in and earns a starting spot, much like Brenna did in her first year. If that does happen this TCU team could make a serious run in the post-season. The Horned Frogs will find out what they are made of with the schedule they play quickly. Another Big 12 title is definitely the expectation within the program, and then a run toward the College Cup. It should be an exciting season for TCU soccer, and I expect this team to be in the national championship conversation come November. See you at Garvey-Rosenthal in August!