Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Spring Brings Clean Slate for Nebraska Soccer, Former Huskers in NWSL

March 04, 2023

The Nebraska soccer team starts its spring exhibition schedule on Sunday with a three-game jamboree at Hawks Championship Center. Winter conditioning started weeks before the upcoming 70-minute matches with South Dakota and Kansas. Nebraska then returns to workouts before finishing its spring with three games in April.

Nebraska comes off a season that ended in Columbus, Ohio, in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals against No. 1 seed Michigan State. The Huskers’ late-season surge couldn’t get them off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament. So the young squad starts attacks 2023 with higher aspirations.

All but one of last year’s squad returns for 2023. The veteran leadership group of goalkeeper Sami Hauk, defender Gwen Lane, midfielder Audra Clark, forward Eleanor Dale, midfielder Reagan Raabe and defender Nikola Hauk return as seniors in 2023. Their growth mirrors the team’s development in recent seasons. Raabe’s unlikely to contribute much this spring following a knee injury sustained at the end of last season. Surging underclassmen, who stepped in last season, can continue their trajectory in 2023 while welcoming new faces.

Nebraska signed four high school standouts in November, three of which will join the program this spring. Norris star Reese Borer, Lincoln East forward Kayma Carpenter and New York native Ella Rudney are all listed on the Huskers’ spring roster. Gretna midfielder Ava Makovicka signed with Nebraska during last November’s signing period and will join the Huskers in the summer after an attempted third consecutive state title with the Dragons.

The Huskers slightly tweaked their coaching staff since the end of the 2022 season. Former Husker Sam Areman is no longer listed as a volunteer assistant. She’s also spent recent seasons as an assistant girls soccer coach at Norris, where she graduated. Former Husker Savanah Uveges Anderson-Baer is a new volunteer assistant coach in 2023. The former two-time team captain at Nebraska returns to Lincoln following a brief professional career. Uveges announced her retirement this winter following two seasons with the Orlando Pride in the NWSL and with MSV Duisberg in Germany.

Uveges joins full-time assistant coaches Marty Everding and Ian Bridge on head coach John Walker’s staff this spring. The Huskers host South Dakota for an abbreviated game with a 1 p.m. kick at Hawks on Sunday. They’ll then play Iowa State at 1:50 p.m. and then South Dakota again at 2:45 p.m. that same day. Nebraska does not play again until April 8 when the Huskers host Kansas for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Hibner Stadium. Kansas City then visits Lincoln for a 1 p.m. kickoff on April 15, also at Hibner Stadium. The Huskers close their spring season with a noon kickoff at Colorado on April 22.

National team experience

Two current Nebraska soccer players received calls from their countries this winter. Dale, a native of Birmingham, England, got the call up to the Under-23 England National Team for a friendly against Belgium. Dale has five goals in nine all-time appearances in the England U17 and U19 teams. She was a third-team Big Ten selection last season with seven goals and two assists.

On Friday, Nebraska announced Gretna native Sarah Weber received the call up to the Under-23 United States National Team for the Thorns Preseason Tournament later this month. The first-team Big Ten selection made the roster of all collegiate players that will compete against three different NWSL teams in a week to prepare them for the 2023 season. Weber led the Huskers with 10 goals and added five assists while starting all 20 games last year.

Nebraskans in NWSL

A few former Huskers and Nebraskans of note are preparing for the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season. Haley McCutcheon (Hanson) signed a new two-year deal with the Orlando Pride during the offseason. She was traded to Orlando last season after 81 appearances with the Houston Dash. Lincoln native Paige Nielsen is back in training with Angel City FC. The Southeast graduate who played at North Carolina started 14 of her 20 appearances last season.

Former Husker standout Jaycie Johnson comes off another knee surgery with hopes of returning to the field. She’s not listed among Kansas City Current’s 2023 roster at this time. The Kansas City native and 27th overall pick in the NWSL Draft has bounced among North Carolina, Seattle and Kansas City.

Former Husker Sinclaire Miramontez, who most recently played for OL Reign, announced her retirement from professional soccer earlier this winter at age 24. She’s the younger sister of Sydney Miramontez, another former Husker.

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