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2022 Women’s Soccer Preview With Anson Dorrance: Part II

The start of the 2022 University of North Carolina women’s soccer season is just days away. The Tar Heels will open practice on August 2 in advance of their first scrimmage of the season on August 7 against VCU. Coach Anson Dorrance sat down with to look ahead at the upcoming season in a two-part interview.

GH: What is one thing that you look at going into the season and think if we get better in this area, we’ve got a chance to be really good?
AD: We’ve got to look at the goal. claudia dickey was extraordinary, and she made us very secure because she was a great shot stopper. Her distribution of her was world class. We’ve got three excellent goalkeepers (Emily Allen, marz josephson, Nona Reason) who will have the opportunity to play. Marz is only one of the three with any experience of playing during a fall season. Emmie did a wonderful job for us during the spring while Marz was recovering from injury, but Nona’s never played at the collegiate level.

That’s the only sort of question mark and almost every other line of veterans are returning.

The kids coming in are going to have to fight the kids that have come back. Both groups are extremely talented. We’ve always had a philosophy of playing everyone, so it’s not like a talented player isn’t going to play. We invest in our children. There are some programs that pride themselves on how few kids they play. We pride ourselves in how many we play. We’ll take that philosophy into the season and try to find a role for all these talented kids on the roster. Let’s see who works the hardest and who competes most effectively for us to shape the team. I can see legitimate competition in every position with a possible exception of Maycee Bell. I don’t think anyone can step up to replace her.

GH: What makes Maycee such a special player?
AD: She has every piece to start on the US Women’s National Team. She’s a brilliant header, brilliant tackler; she’s got great pace, great skills, and she reads the game. We’ve had players with half her talent from her start and play on the women’s national team. Her talent is off the charts. Every time the US Women’s National Team is playing, she gets a text from me. I want her to see that she has qualities that on average are better than all the US center backs.

GH: The non-conference schedule is filled with NCAA Tournament teams and conference champions. Why did you decide to put together such a rigorous slate?
AD: We want to, to stretch ourselves and I’m not one of these coaches that’s afraid of a loss. We want to be prepared for the ACC regular season. The best way to prepare for that is by playing teams that can take you out and expose you. It helps discover what we need to clean up before conference play begins.

The Texas match is a return game. Former Tar Heel Angie Kelly brought her Longhorns here a couple of years ago when we were planning on playing the first four games in the new stadium against teams coached by our former players. We also want to recruit Texas. Some of our best talent through history has come out of Texas, so we want to go there to show everyone who we are.

We’re going to go out to California and play Stanford and UCLA as well for the same reason. If we want to compete nationally, we also must recruit California. The talent hotbed in the United States is Southern California. If you look at national teams over the years, the majority of players starting for national teams are Southern California kids. Look at our Californian. Emily Colton had a fabulous freshman year for us. We’ve got to be able to recruit California.

GH: How would you assess the ACC this season?
AD: It’s always going to be good. A lot of teams are loaded with fifth-year players and graduate transfers. Every team we’re going to play will have great experience and talent. It’s a positive nightmare and that’s the nice thing about playing in the finest conference in America; you’re not going to get any breaks and we don’t expect one. When anyone looks at their ACC schedule, they’re going to look at teams that can take them out and we’re going to be part of that formula against all these teams we’re going to play.

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