By Haley Thierry
The Youngstown State University soccer team is wrapping up its spring ball league and preparing for the upcoming fall 2023 season.
The team will welcome nine new recruits to Youngstown State for the 2023 season.
Jordan Evans, graduate student and captain of the soccer team, said the team has worked on the technical side of the game.
“[The team is] really taking what we were able to do in the fall and expand on it, and keep growing and keep getting better as a program,” Evans said.
The team battled its way to the Horizon League Championship against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee last season.
Head coach Brian Shrum said playing in the Horizon League Championship last season is pushing the team forward.
“That has caused a newfound motivation to improve the program even more, and keep us hopefully at that standard,” Shrum said.
Evans said she has fond memories competing in the Horizon League Championship and hopes to carry that momentum from last year.
“It was an indescribable feeling when we made it to that championship game. It’s something that we have all been striving toward,” Evans said. “Me being here for now five years, it was really exciting to see the growth of the team and how everybody this previous season came together.”
Evans said the team promised each other to always give 100% effort for practices, and hold each player accountable.
“Really both on and off the field, it was a team effort that everybody bought into that idea, and everybody worked as hard as we could to really better ourselves and better the program,” Evans said.
Jordan Diaz, senior defender, has been recovering from an ACL injury for two years. Despite the challenges, she said she continues to show up and support her team, even though she may not play next year.
“I kind of did a different outlook on it. It was like, I just need to be there for my team and be like, the best teammate I can be during this time and not feel bad for myself, ” Diaz said.
With the upcoming season holding such high expectations for the women, Shrum explained what he’s looking forward to next season.
“[We’re looking forward to] playing. The season itself is always competitive. So, most coaches, we enjoy that part of it. We’re strategically planning, figuring out who we’re gonna play, how we’re gonna play,” Shrum said.
Shrum’s goal for the upcoming season is to win another championship. He said he has high expectations this year.
“To continue to keep a high bar — It’s really hard to keep the bar high — It’s really hard to be able to control the way you think about things after you’ve had some success,” Shrum said. “That is my hope is that we as a staff are helping them continue to develop that process of keeping the bar high.”
Spring ball will continue as the women face off against Kent State University at 1 p.m. April 22, at Kent.