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Discussion in 'Women's College' started by Tom81, Apr 7, 2019.
UNC is never a bad bet.
I'm inclined to agree with you, LeftFoot2. UNC will be very strong next year. But I also keep in mind that winning the College Cup involves a great deal of luck. Specifically, luck that few key players will not get injured during the season; or that the team fails to gel at the right time, or as has happened may times, one defensive blooper ends the tournament run. A blooper earlier in the season is of no real consequence, but the last six games of the season starting in the middle of November have to all go really well.
From what I see, the next 4 years all provide UNC with a decent shot at another national championship. At this point the 2020 and 2022 classes are shaping up to be quite strong. The 2019 and 2021 classes not as much. However, if the coaching goes well and a number of the under the radar players develop well and become starters UNC should be on a par with any of the top teams.
As I have said before, when you compare Division I WoSo with other established NCAA team sports, a pattern of parity can be seen. To wit, there are a set of usual suspects of which about a ten or so could reasonably be expected to make it to the final four and there are another ten teams that are good enough to make waves and bump off favorites in the tournament. This is true in men's basketball, women's volleyball, men's baseball and women's softball, etc. (Small more niche sports perhaps such as fencing, water polo, or even men's wrestling, etc. are still in the developmental stage where a few schools can effectively dominate the recruiting market.)
There are now enough really good players coming into women's soccer that a top three or four teams can not scout, much less get all of the talent.
As a UNC fan, I am for ever hopeful, and we are one of the "usual suspects" in the race, but, realistically, we will fall short most of the time. Ya just don't know when a year will turn out a winner.
I agree with you, for the most part, in the above post.
You have a great in depth knowledge of women's soccer and UNC in particular.
I do deviate slightly about the depth of the power in WOSO.
Currently there are about 6 teams who have a great shot at winning the natty.
After that, there are another 4 or so teams that in a given year could win it, but don't push the envelope very often.
In the 37 years of D1 soccer NCAA championships (W) there have been 11 champions. One school holds 21 of those. 5 of those past winners are not currently on the radar of winning the CC.
1 team ND has won 3. No longer on the radar.
Portland, Stanford, USC and FSU have won 2 each.
Portland is no longer on the radar.
We still have a top half dozen teams that are going to win the CC 90%+ of the time.
It's true that talent is becoming more spread out, but with 11 players on the pitch and the need for at least 3 or 4 high quality subs, it is hard for other teams to break the strangle hold the top 6 teams have on WOSO.
The popularity growth of the sport at the grass roots level does show promise of creating enough talent that the top 6 may be expanded to a top 12 in the future.
Like I said, my disagreements with you are not in direct opposition to your statements, but more nuanced disagreements.
Give me 4 teams (heck even 3) to start 2019, and I'll give you the field and feel confident that I'll win. Same goes in basketball (W).
Couldn't agree more regarding 2022 class at UNC. From what I've seen they have the best offensive and defensive player from that class. And they've received commits from a couple of very strong 2023 players already..
3 years is a long time to project how 15 years old will develop.
You're kidding, you mean they won't be exactly the same player they are right now???
Well, you could have qualified your statement to reflect that point, but didn't.
Disturbing how UNC has many 2023 commits
Good analysis and I agree with your points, but wonder if the landscape will change and more teams will have viable chances to make a run if they choose to stock up on foreign-born players? FSU has proven that you can win relying on non-U.S. players in key positions, West Virginia made a deep run with a chunk of a Canadian youth national team several years ago, and now most of the top teams you mention have at least a few key players who are foreign-born. If the recent failure of the U.S. U20s and U17s to advance out of the group stage of their World Cup misadventures is any sign, the foreign market might be viewed as a shortcut to building a nationally competitive team and avoiding the fight for the top U.S. players, so might break the stranglehold on the top spots that you outline.
Speaking for Mark and FSU, I'd say it's a necessity for FSU to recruit elite internationals if they want to compete with UNC, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Duke and Virginia.
I like what Anson said leading up to the CC.
"He's earned this right to recruit the elite foreign player, and I genuinely respect him for it," Anson Dorrance said the day before the final. "Because I know in a living room, if I'm going head-to-head with him [for] an American ... 75 percent of the time, I'm going to get them. Just like when I go head-to-head with Stanford, 95 percent of the time Stanford is going to get them.
"So I have no issue with what he's doing, and I respect him."
Due to the academic prestige and future job opportunities, the Stanfords have a huge advantage when recruiting domestic players. Even the blue bloods are recruiting some elite internationals.
We are doing what we have to do and what we can sell. Mark can tell these international coaches, "Look we have a track record of returning your player much better prepared for your national teams. Send her to us and we'll send you back a more complete and polished player!"
I understand your point about less numbers than I postulate about what teams may have a realistic chance to achieve the final four in 2019 and going forward. I always respect your thinking and I can easily agree that your estimate of 6 plus 4 teams is rational.
My conjecture that the numbers may be 10 and 10 is based on what I see as increasing talent overall and the strength of specific teams. For example, in taking a look at CPT's listing based on trends, the teams he lists happen to have very strong teams for next year (regardless of trends.) The only team I think may not belong to that list is Georgetown (but I could be proven wrong.)
I consider Stanford, UCLA, Southern California, UNC, FSU, and Penn State to be your 6 who could easily find themselves in the championship game. But I add the following teams who I believe could easily join that group this year.
(1) South Carolina who has been knocking at the door in recent years and has pulled in great transfer talent and a very solid recruiting class, and when combined with good coaching this could be their year. (2) On paper, Tennessee, in my pinion has completely re-loaded for 2019, and with some anti-injury luck could easily make the elite 8 and and with a decent draw find themselves at the College Cup. (3) Virginia will be very strong in 2019. The Cavaliers started only two seniors last year (and only one for the last few NCAA games), but will welcome a typically strong class led by Natalia Staude (one of the three top defenders in the 2019 class), plus another two internationally experienced youth national team members, two other HS All Americans, and the Michigan Gatorade POY. (4) West Virginia already has 2 English U19 and U20 players and 2 Canadian YNT players, and is welcoming a 15 player 2019 class with 3 more Canadians, and a good crop of highly regarded US players. These last 4 teams, have a decent chance of ending up in the final four, although I will admit that they may not be in the same league with Stanford and UCLA etc. But on any given day.....
And speaking of anything could happen on a given day...I can concoct another list of teams that while not obvious contenders for the championship might surprise this next season. ACC teams NC State, Duke, Louisville, and Boston College could surprise (BC lost Coffey, but they have a strong core and three excellent recruits coming in along with a new coach.) Add in Santa Clara. And Texas looks to get stronger... (I don't have time to do more research on the SEC, but surely there are a couple or more teams that will surprise and be potent into the tournament.) So.... no guarantees, but I do think that there is potential for these teams to make it to the elite 8 if things fall into place for them.. And they could possibly knock off one of the 1 or 2 seeds along the way..
Great post SH.
UVA certainly has the look of a team that could make some serious noise this year.
I should put them on the ACC top group line with FSU/UNC.
Tennessee I just don't see. I just glanced (not in depth study) at their roster vs Stanford, and they graduated like 7 of those players who played against Stanford including Bunny Shaw! I'll be surprised if they finish top 15. We'll see.
I agree on USC after a quick look. Fisk and Patten in the back will make a formidable duo, and are familiar with each other from English NT age group duty. They will graduate a lot of talent this coming year, so make hay...
As a key cog for FSU last year, I feel competent to comment on her. Good on the ball and very high soccer IQ. She will be good going forward in the attack if asked. Not a quick twitch athlete, but her IQ helps her make up for that. Good get for USCe.
West Virginia Lost 6 senior starters from their box score against WF, of course with a such a big class and a few internationals, maybe so.
Mark's success with internationals has sure spread like wildfire.
I will try to pay attention to UVA for sure and probably USCe. Swanson may make some serious noise this year, like he did in 13 and 14.
I just hope that the “experts” on the seeding committee do a little better job so there is not a repeat of the Southern California farce from 2018.
I wish they had put them into a different bracket. I would have been very interested in seeing how they did against say Georgetown or even UNC.
I think they would have done well, but maybe they were just built (unintentionally of course) to give FSU hell!
Why did Patten leave FSU? Not going to start?
The main reason was Mark started playing her in the midfield last season after she lost her center back spot. She plays center back for her national team and wants to play there in college as well.
Agree with CH except I don't think she ever was our starting CB, except when players were not there.
She was a Swiss army knife for FSU. She does most things very well.
She doesn't have excellent speed, but her reading of the game (high soccer IQ) makes her valuable! Sad to see her go, but hope she has a great couple of years at USCe.
I heard that UNC won a few titles years back, but times have been tough since 2012. Maybe UNC can have Cinderella status soon if they have a good run.
will add that Ordonez is already in school and playing. She is another player who has fallen foul of the USSF system. She is a very good all round #9 and its hard to understand how she failed to make the U17 WC squad given her skill set is pretty unique. I dont see Staude having as big an impact as the CB pairing is well established. I guess she could challenge for the RB job, or perhaps a defensive midfield spot.
i think there will be surprises this year. Some of the well known teams are in transition having lost core locker room pieces. Others are certainly building on momentum from last year.
Thanks again for your open and well written analysis.
Are you sure you are not a UVA fan
We will treat him/her as a UVA fan, b/c he/she definitely has very indepth knowledge of UVA.
Like SH said above, I'd put UVA on the top line (with UNC/FSU) of the ACC this year with what they have coming back and coming in.
There are several other teams I have in depth knowledge on, but its easier to talk UVA, a team with no overt fans here and a dormant fan page, because it avoids the lack of objectivity. People get sensitive.
I dont need to be treated as anything really. Just someone with an opinion. I dont think you need to put me in any fan box
Oh, your in depth knowledge of UVA is welcome. We do need for UVA
representation (fan or not) on this board.
Just curious, what other programs would you claim in depth knowledge of?
Here's a rank chart for North Carolina, which I'm using as an example to make a point:
In the chart, ignore the yellow/orange line and the gray line. The blue is for Massey's rankings of D1 teams, which are the best rankings for showing true strength (in my opinion) and the red is for the ARPI's rankings. If you look at the formula on the right side of the chart, it's the formula for the dotted blue, which is the trend line for the Massey rankings. The formula indicates that North Carolina's Massey rankings have been getting poorer at a rate of 0.05 rank positions per year, which is a microscopic decline. In other words, North Carolina is very consistent, year after year. If you look at the irregular blue line with the data points, this reinforces what the trend line shows, which is that North Carolina is very consistent from year to year. There are small changes from year to year, but that's it in terms of variability.
What this indicates is that, for all of the roster changes that occur from year to year, those changes really have little effect on results. Players come, players go, but the program is exceedingly consistent.
What this suggests is that the "program" is by far the biggest factor in determining how North Carolina will do. The "program" includes the coaching staff (actual coaching, recruiting, organization, scheduling, reputation, etc.), the school, the support the school provides to the program, and things like that that are ongoing year after year. Who the individual players are that come in and go out may have an effect, but it's at the margins.
North Carolina, in stability, is at one end of the spectrum: an established program with the same core coaching staff over the long term. But, it's a good case study for schools with those kinds of programs.