UIC women’s soccer kicks off first season
Freshman Olivia Everin begins fall semester with 25 new friends – her fellow teammates on UIC’s first women’s soccer team.
“College is definitely a major change in your life, but soccer makes it a lot easier to settle in,” said Everin, a biological sciences major.
UIC, which played its first game of the regular season Friday, joins the eight universities in the Horizon League already fielding women’s soccer teams. The Flames fell, 2-1, in the season opener Friday against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and lost Sunday’s home opener versus Iowa, 4-0.
The team takes on Northwestern at 7:30 p.m. today at Lakeside Field.
“We’re the underdogs in this league, so we want to overcome that,” said Emily Wauer, a freshman in kinesiology. “Being the first team, there’s a lot of pressure.”
The new Flames played in regional and national leagues like USYSA Regional, National League and Elite Clubs National League.
“Our players also had great success during their years of high school soccer,” said head coach Brian Rigby.
Team members come from Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Ohio and include two juniors, four sophomores and 20 freshmen.
Their challenges include getting up to college-level speed and acquainting themselves with out-of-town stadiums. ”It won’t be a difficult challenge, but something that we’ll have to adjust to very quickly,” Rigby said.
Team members kept in touch over the summer before arriving at Flames Field Aug. 5 to begin their first preseason.
With days that started at 8 a.m. and ended at 9 p.m. — and three practices a day, compared to once-a-day practices in high school — it was a tiring couple of weeks for the women, but there’s an upside, Everin said.
“Preseason helps you prepare for managing time for when you have school,” she said. “It gets you in shape, prepares you mentally. ”
“It was definitely challenging at first,” said Sydney Wright, a freshman in biomedical engineering. “It’s a lot of work compared to what we’ve had in the past, but we’re ready to come out strong.”
Why come to UIC?
“Being able to make history with the soccer team was a big aspect of it,” Wright said. “But my decision came from Rigby. I love him as a coach, I love the team, the city is great and it’s close to home.”
Rigby, a 1998 business grad, played UIC men’s soccer, earning All-League Honors in 1997. He was an assistant coach at Loyola University Chicago and interim head coach at DePaul University before joining UIC to start the women’s program in November 2012.
“I think through playing and being part of the UIC family, it’s made me the type of person and coach I am today,” he said.
Assistant coaches are Julie Colhoff, who played soccer at Loyola, and Jamie Forbes, who knows Rigby from summer college camps. Co-captains are Flo Beshiri, a junior in computer science, and Jasmin Carrera, a sophomore in criminology, law and justice.
The team tied its first exhibition game 2-2 against Bowling Green Aug. 12. They fell to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne 2-0 in their first exhibition home game Aug. 16. They open the season Aug. 22 on the road against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Rigby expects team members to perform well and stay consistent.
“Having a good attitude, a good work rate, but most importantly, being smart and being thoughtful and creative when we have the ball,” he said.