March 9, 2015
The NCAA forces strict regulations that make recruiting black and white. Talent and attitude are the variables that separate athletes from either being signed or going unseen.
In the second week of February Nichole Ridenour, head coach of the women’s soccer team, signed five recruits. But according to Ridenour, after the first signing period a late recruit committed to UCCS as well as a Division I transfer, bringing the total to seven.
Cheyenne Brown, Amanda Timmermeyer, Paige Von Bank, McKenna Fuhrmann and Ann Odom are the group of five. One of them has stuck out since day one.
“Ann Odom is coming in from Texas,” said Ridenour. “I think she can walk in and contribute. I think she is coming in solid, with the right attitude, driven, big frame already as you can tell she has been working.”
“She is going to compete for one of those center-mid spots, and that’s some of our upperclassmen.”
In the 2014 season, the women’s team went 6-11 overall and missed the playoffs by one game. The men’s team was one game shy of winning the RMAC Tournament.
Head coach Johnnie Keen looks to return 21 players for the 2015 season, but signed three recruits in the first signing period: Cal Franze, Aaron Haefner and Nik Newcamp.
According to Keen, the men’s soccer team has a specific type of player they search for.
“We play a high pressure style of play, which means that we press high up the field,” he said. “We have to have a lot of energy and we need very athletic players to pull that off.”
At this time last season, the men’s soccer team had seven recruits. Keen said the recruiting standards have changed this year due to the number of returners.
“I’m not going to say we are behind, we are just being a little bit more picky of who we choose this year,” he said. “We have plenty of depth. We just want to compliment our team with good players.”
For Ridenour, Timmermeyer and Fuhrmann are in the Mountain Lions backyard, playing their high school careers in Colorado Springs at Sand Creek High School.
“Some of [the recruits] we tracked were locals so we got to see them play for the past four years,” said Ridenour. “It’s always good, tracking girls past their sophomore year, because things can change. The one’s that are local we have watched for a while.”
Both Keen and Ridenour acknowledge that when recruiting, certain factors can’t be prepared for.
“The unknown,” Keen calls it. “We had a couple guys that we were really excited about for this year’s class. We thought they were all in and they were going to come to us. They just found another program. We had a couple surprises.”