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Women's Soccer: Year in Review

Jul 10, 2021

In an unprecedented season, Stanford women's soccer battled to a 6-6-2 record and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in Paul Ratcliffe's 18 seasons as the Knowles Family Director of Women's Soccer.

Few programs faced the adversity the Cardinal encountered during a 2020 season that was moved to the Spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to county restrictions, Stanford was unable to practice as a complete team until Santa Clara County health orders were lifted on Jan. 26 – with limits being placed on the sharing of equipment.

To compound the delayed start to training for the Cardinal, a rash of injuries limited the team to have only eight players appear in all 14 games of the season. Team captain and reigning Pac-12 Defender of the Year Naomi Girma missed the season due to a knee injury in the fall, two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner Catarina Macario elected to turn pro on Jan. 8, and All-American forward Madison Haley dealt with injuries which limited her to two starts on the year, throwing the Cardinal's newcomers into action in an already abnormal season.

A Pair of Early Draft Picks
Two of Stanford's senior All-Americans heard their names called in the first round of the 2021 NWSL Draft. Kiki Pickett was selected by Kansas City NWSL with the fourth overall pick – after Kansas City sent $175k in allocation money to Sky Blue FC (now Gotham FC) for the rights to the draft pick. Madison Haley was drafted seventh overall by the Chicago Red Stars.

Both Pickett and Haley elected to delay their professional careers to compete in the spring season. Pickett left for the City of Fountains in May after the conclusion of the collegiate season, while Haley remains with the program for this upcoming fall season.

Stanford and North Carolina were the only programs with multiple players selected in the first round, and the Cardinal is the only program in the country to have a player selected in the top five in each of the last four drafts.

Banner Year for Pickett
In her Stanford swan song, Kiki Pickett has several additions to her trophy case. To date, Pickett received the following honors during the season:

  • MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
  • United Soccer Coaches All-Pacific Region first team
  • Pac-12 Defender of the Year
  • All-Pac-12 first team
  • CoSIDA Academic All-America second team
  • CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 first team
  • Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll
  • Team Captain

Haley, Pickett Earn CoSIDA Honors
Madison Haley and Kiki Pickett were both named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America teams in June, the second-straight season the Cardinal have landed multiple players on the CoSIDA Academic All-America teams, third all-time.
Haley, who was named to the first team, is only the second player in program history to earn multiple CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in her career, joining Teresa Noyola '12. Pickett was named to the second team for her first career CoSIDA Academic All-America honor.

Youth Movement
With the rash of injuries Stanford suffered on the year, the Cardinal turned to its freshmen class to post six wins on the year. Freshmen combined to make 31 starts this past spring – with multiple freshmen cracking the Starting XI every single match.

Freshmen forward Samantha Williams' nine points led the Cardinal, and she tied the team-high with four goals.  Her brace against Utah (March 5) was the only multi-goal match of the year for any Stanford player.

Williams and Amy Sayer – who missed two games to appear in a pair of friendlies for the Australian senior women's national team – were both named to the Pac-12 All-Freshmen team.

Respect from the Coaches
Despite finishing the season with a .500 record, Stanford's play on the pitch earned plenty of respect from the coaches of the Pac-12 and the Pacific region.

From the Pac-12, Kiki Pickett was named to the first team, Maya Doms was named to the second team, Belle Briede and Civana Kuhlmann were named to the third team, and Amy Sayer and Samantha Williams were named to the freshmen team.

Pickett and Sierra Enge were both named to the United Soccer Coaches' All-Pacific Region teams, with Pickett being named to the first team, and Enge to the second team.

The Farm to the USWNT
Its no surprise one of the best programs in the history of college women's soccer has a long track record of supplying talent to the United States Women's National Team. As many as eight former Cardinal players saw action with the USWNT since January, with five being named to the roster for the Tokyo Olympics: Jane Campbell, Tierna Davidson, Catarina Macario, Kelley O'Hara and Christen Press.

Joining that group in Tokyo will be Ali Riley, who will captain the New Zealand national team.

Thank You, Kiki
Stanford bid farewell to senior Kiki Pickett, who won three Pac-12 titles and two national titles in her stay on The Farm. Her senior class of Belle Briede, Madison Haley, Jojo Harber and Civana Kuhlmann will all return for a fifth year, while Catarina Macario elected to turn professional before the start of the season.