NIU athletics adds women’s soccer

By Andrew Hardy

Crowds worldwide pay exorbitant prices, travel hundreds of miles and fight for good seats, all to see dozens of tawny, muscled legs and short shorts. No, this is not Ms. Universe or even the Venus Swimsuit competition at Amnesia. It’s soccer.

Soccer season is back at NIU. Not only is it alive and well, but it’s had a birth—and it’s a girl. NIU has finally expanded the athletic department to include a Division 1 women’s soccer team to compliment the already formidable men’s team.

Frank Horvatt, head coach of the new team, is looking to make the Huskies competitive quickly. This means the criteria for the selection of players will stress fitness as well as technique, Horvatt said.

There will be at least 35 players trying out for the 25 positions available, making competition fierce. Many of the players trying out are from NIU’s club team. However, no one is sacred.

“There is a big difference between the club and our program,” said Horvatt. “Club players will be surprised at the difference in intensity and expectations from the players.”

According to Horvatt, a good high school all-conference team is comparable to the club. Division 1 soccer is a whole new world, he said.

At press time, Horvatt hadn’t made any decisions regarding positions. He had seen a few of the players in action, but because he was hired late in the year, Horvatt said he was not able to recruit the way he would have liked.

However, he is expecting to see a lot out of transfer students such as Beth Pomles, Amy Derry, Heather Palombi and Jennifer Ryan.

Though the team is young and inexperienced as a whole, one positive sign is so are most of their competitors. Horvatt said this year’s plan is “to do as well as we can, and raise our level of play.” This first year the team will be learning the ropes and their schedule will not make this an easy task.

“Notre Dame will be an education,” said Horvatt, talking about the first scrimmage game. This game will be a benchmark for the team’s skills.

They will be able to weigh the difference of change and unity on Oct. 2 when they face the Creighton University, a national power in women’s soccer.

“We’ll work extremely hard,” Horvatt said “but that’s necessary for where we want to go.”