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Women’s College Soccer. Fourteen Transfers Who Are Likely to Make An Impact In 2023

The Transfer Portal Has Changed The Recruiting Landscape Providing Programs An Alternative Way To Address Voids.

The 2023 Portal contains a sizeable number of players with a proven track record at the college level. their ability to make an immediate impact depends in Large part on how well they merge Their Talents with new teammates, the needs of their new program, and Their continued Ability to Compete In a Different conference.

The Long Range Impact Of The Transfer Portal On The Recruiting Process And College Sports In General Remains To Be Seen.

Mia Justus Goalkeeper Sophomore Texas – Justis transfers to Texas from Florida State where she played in a total of 14 contests in 2022 and 2021 during which she had nine solo shutouts and a 0.57 goals-against-average. She was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team in 2021. Justus is a highly regarded netminder with a resume that includes multiple years as a member of the United States Youth National Team.  Justus could fill the void that exists at Texas due to the departure of graduate student Savannah Madden who was a multi-year starter between the pipes for the Longhorns.  Justus will join a Texas team that returns a ton of talent from a banner 2022 season during which they were 15-3-4 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The three losses were the fewest ever in a single season for the Longhorns.  

Abby Allen – Defender – Junior – Texas – Allen who is from Austin out of Lake Travis High School and the Lonestar Development Academy transfers to Texas after three seasons at the University of North Carolina where she played in 47 games with 35 starts. Last year she played in nine contests with two starts for a Tar Heel team that advanced to the national final. Allen also has been a multi-year member of the United States Youth National Teams. She will join a Longhorn backline that includes defender EmJ Cox who was the 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Allen should be in the mix to help fill the gap that will exist due to the departure of fifth year senior Emma Regan who was a five-year starter.

Taylor Huff – Midfielder – Junior – Florida State – Huff is a transfer from Tennessee where she was a 2022 All-SEC First Team selection with a five goal and seven assist season for the Volunteers. She appeared in 23 games with 22 starts as a freshman with ten goals and six assists. Huff was the 2020 United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Year out of Madison Comprehensive High School where she had 133 career goals and 93 career assists. She will join a talented Florida State team that advanced to the College Cup for the 13th time in 2022 and for the first time under new head coach Brian Pensky who was the head coach at Tennessee for ten seasons before coming to Florida State.

Claire Rain – Defender – Junior – Florida State –Rain returns to the State of Florida to play for the Seminoles after appearing in a total of 42 games in 2021 and 2022 with 41 starts at Tennessee. Rain was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2021. She is from Tampa where she played for H.B. Plant High School and the Tampa Bay United Rowdies. The cupboard is far from bare at FSU but the Noles do have some big shoes to fill due to the departure of forward Jenna Nighswonger, midfielder Clara Robbins and defender Emily Madril who helped the Seminoles win two national titles and four ACC Tournament titles during their tenure in Tallahassee.

Sam Gerhart – Forward – Graduate Student – San Diego – Gerhart is a transfer from High Point University where she was a three-time All Big South selection with 21 goals and 11 assists in 50 games for the Panthers. Gerhart was the Big South Freshman of the Year in 2019 and the Offensive Player of the Year in 2020. She will seek to add punch to the attack of a San Diego team that was 2-12-5 overall with a 0-7-2 record in West Coast Conference play last year.

Kaitlyn Parks – Goalkeeper – Senior – Michigan State – The Spartans have big shoes to fill in goal due to the departure of All-American goalkeeper Lauren Kozal.  Parks, who transfers in from Wake Forest where she was a multi-year starter and 2021 All-American, could prove to be just what the doctor ordered for a Michigan State team that will seek to build on a banner 2022 season during which the Spartans earned their first ever Big Ten championship and returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since the 2009 campaign. Parks faced a very competitive slate of opponents in the ACC so she should hit the ground running.

Megan Nemec – Midfielder – Senior – Minnesota – Nemec transfers in from Loyola Chicago out of the Atlantic 10 Conference where she was a four-time All-Conference selection with 21 career assists and 23 career goals and a team captain in 2022. Nemec was honored as the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year in 2019 and the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2020 and 2021.  She started 19 games in 2022 contributing four goals and three assists. Nemec joins a Minnesota team under head coach Erin Chastin that was 8-8-3 overall in 2022 with a 4-4-2 mark in Big Ten play in Chastin’s second season at the helm of the program.

Kat Parris – Forward – Sophomore – Maryland – Parris who is from Silver Springs, Maryland becomes a Terp after two very productive seasons at Radford. In 2021 she played in and started 19 games with 13 goals and 9 assists. In 2022 she played in and started 20 games contributing eight goals and four assists. Parris was an All-Big South First Team member in 2021 and 2022. She looks to be among the newcomers that Terp head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer will look to for offensive firepower in 2023 as she seeks to put in place a winning culture in College Park. The Terps were 4-8-5 with a 3-7-0 mark in Big Ten play in 2022. 

Sarah Hagg – Defender – Junior – Memphis –Hagg is a transfer from Eastern Illinois where she was a stalwart on the defensive side of the ball with 29 starts in 30 matches. Hagg was an All-OVC Second Team selection in 2021 and 2022 and a member of the OVC All-OVC Newcomer Team in 2021. She will join a Memphis program that is coming off a season in which they recorded ten shutouts. Grace Stordy returns to anchor the defense along with redshirt senior goalkeeper Claire Wyville. Hagg could help Memphis fill the void that exists due to the departure of fifth-year defenders Kimberley Smit and Mackenzie Bray. Memphis was 11-5-6 in 2022. They won the American Athletic Conference Championship for the second consecutive season and topped Saint Louis and Mississippi State in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history where they were edged by Arkansas in a match that came down to a penalty kick shootout.

Leah Freeman – Senior – Goalkeeper – Duke –Freeman takes her game from the west to the east coast transferring from the University of Oregon in Eugene to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Duke has big shoes to fill in goal due to the departure of highly regarded three-year starter and multi-year All-ACC selection Ruthie Jones. Freeman has an impressive resume that includes being named the 2022 Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches All-Pacific Region First Team member. She started a total of 49 games during three seasons at Oregon and was a three-time All-Pac 12 selection. Duke also returns talented sophomore goalkeeper Caroline Duffy who appeared in five contests in her freshman season in Durham.  

Lucy Roberts – Senior – Defender – Louisville –Roberts is a native of Cheshire, England. She transfers to Louisville from South Florida where she was a four-year starter, team captain and solid component in the Bulls backline. South Florida punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament in three of the four seasons that Roberts was in Tampa. She has a solid history of very competitive play and a work ethic that should bode well for her ability to continue to add value while at Louisville. The decision of back Anouk Denton, a two-year starter, to depart after her sophomore season to enter the professional ranks contributes to a void that must be filled on the defensive side of the ball for a Louisville team that was 6-8-2 overall last with a 3-7-0 mark in ACC play.

Ioanna Papatheodorou – Junior – Forward – Washington  – Papatheodorou joins the Huskies after two very productive seasons at UMass Lowell where she was an All-America East First Team selection in 2021 and 2022 scoring ten goals each season. Papatheodorou will seek to help Washington fill the large void in offensive firepower that exists due to the departure of forward Summer Yates who found the back of the net 27 times and contributed 23 assists during her tenure in Seattle. Yates, a multi-year All-Pac-12 First Team selection and five-year starter, leaves some big shoes to fill. The Huskies will also be without forwards McKenzie Weinert (5g, 5a) and Karlee Stuckle (5g, 4a). Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Branson (5g, 4a) is among returning players who head coach Nicole Van Dyke will likely look to for offensive punch in addition to Papatheodorou.

Aitana Martinez-Montoya – Junior – Forward – Mississippi State – Martinez-Montonya is a transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson where she was named the Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022. She powered the FDU attack in 2022 with thirteen goals and two assists to help the Knights return to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2015. In 2021 Martinez-Montoya scored a total of eight goals along with three assists. She joins a Mississippi State team that is coming off a banner 2022 season during which the Dawgs made the programs second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and secured the program’s first ever win in the NCAA Tournament.   

Itala Gemelli – Senior – Forward – Alabama – Gemelli joins the Tide after three seasons at Dayton where she was a three-year starter and multi-year All-Atlantic 10 selection with 33 career goals and 8 career assists. In 2022 she found the back of the net 12 times including 7 game winning goals. Alabama will seek to build on a historic 2022 season under head coach Wes Hart during which they were 23-3-1 with a perfect 10-0-0 mark in SEC play and advanced to the College Cup for the first time in program history. The Tide returns a solid core of players but will be without several key players including All-American and SEC Forward of the Year Riley Mattingly Parker who had a banner season in 2022 during which she scored 17 goals including 7 game-winners. Gemelli is among the newcomers with the potential to add additional punch to the Bama attack in 2023.  

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