Goalkeepers galore: Three local athletes headline women’s soccer inaugural class

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

Southern Illinois’ inaugural Women’s Soccer signing class features 20 women from San Diego to Detroit.

“As you just roll down the roster sheet and you look at the geography,” Grant Williams, SIU Women’s Soccer head coach said. “We’re as far east as Detroit and we’re as far west as San Diego – we truly have been able to accomplish a national recruiting pawprint.”

See more: Meet SIU’s ‘Soccer Skipper’ Grant Williams

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Nine of the freshmen in the class reside in Illinois, two being from Marion – Marissa Basi and Blake Clark and Devin Butler from Harrisburg.

“I think we made some tremendous in roads in state as nine of those young ladies are from the state of Illinois,” Williams said.

Williams said athletics was able to hit some big areas for soccer with Chicago and the St. Louis Metro area, along with the players from the west.

“We have been able to hit some key recruiting areas, with four [players hailing] from Chicago, and a couple from the St. Louis area,” Williams said. “We have had some significant additions out west, with five [players] from California and one from Las Vegas.”

Looking at the players on the roster from a posistional standpoint, all four goalies on the roster call California home. For the three locals, there are eyes on Clark to be a scorer after having a successful season with Marion last year.

“Blake had a breakout season last year, setting a record number of goals,” Williams said. “She has great pace and a great work rate, so again another vertical threat for us.”

Basi is a well-rounded midfield and looking to compete for a spot in the lineup.

“[Marissa] can play attacking, she can play as a holding,” Williams said. “She will be competing for us in the middle of the park but her experience along with her desire to be here and being a local product – big things are in store for her.”

Butler from Harrisburg will fill in at an attacking role as a forward and midfielder who Williams thinks will grow having a program that is year round.

“Devin Butler who is from Harrisburg [is] an attacking player who has had a tremendous amount of success,” Williams said. “I think she’s going to benefit from being in a year-round environment as she continues to develop.”

While this class does feature 18 freshmen, there are two juniors – Natalie Bethers and senior Ashley Moore, who are current students at SIU and have played on the club team. 

“Ashley is from Carbondale, she had a two year career at Kaskaskia and came back,” Williams said. “Natalie was already a student here – you don’t play club soccer if you don’t love the game.”

With the roster somewhat set, Williams looks to still add four or five more players to the team before the season rolls around.

“We obviously have four or five, that we are still in the process of bringing,” Williams said. “I anticipate that initial roster by the time we get to August being 24 or 25.”

Fans anxious to see some Saluki Soccer , the first match of the team’s inaugural season at home is August 17th against SEMO.

Sports editor Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at
@warfel_adam.

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