2021 Season Opens This Week
BERKELEY - California women's soccer opens the 2021 season with back-to-back matches this week. The Bears will kick off the season on the road as they take on UC San Diego on Thursday at 1 p.m. They follow that with the home opener on Sunday as they take on the defending NCAA Champion, Santa Clara at 4 p.m. at Edwards Stadium.
The Bears return all but one starter from a team that went 5-7-1 during the shortened, conference-only spring season last year. Cal adds a 14-person freshman class to the team, which was ranked No. 1 in the country according to TopDrawerSoccer.
Cal is 2-0 all-time vs. UC San Diego, but the two UC system schools have not played since 1987. They played twice in the first five years of Cal's program being created and the Bears racked up two wins by a combined 10-0 margin.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted the annual matchup between Cal and Santa Clara as the two Bay Area schools have played every year since 1982. When the two teams faced off in 2019, Cal won the regular season matchup, 2-1 in September. However, Santa Clara won in overtime, 1-0, as the teams matched up in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
NON-CONFERENCE MATCHUPS ARE FREE
Cal will have free admission to all home non-conference matchups during the 2021 season, including Cal's preseason matchup vs. the 2020 NCAA Champions, Santa Clara. It will also be free attendance for games vs. Saint Mary's (CA), San Francisco, Sacramento State and UC Irvine.
Conference play starts September 25 vs. Colorado and includes matchups vs. Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State on the home schedule this year.
Tickets for home conference matchups are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors (65+) and youth (2-17). Group tickets are $3 per ticket for groups of 10 or more.
Angelina Anderson is just two saves from entering Cal's all-time top five in saves, having only played one full season and a shortened 2020 season in the spring of 2021.
Mary Harvey sits in fifth in Cal's all-time top 5 list with 156 career saves, while Anderson enters the 2021 season with 154 saves in two seasons.
Anderson was named National Freshman of the Year in 2019 as well as Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year and Freshman of the Year. She was the first player to win both Freshman of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year in the conference. She earned second-team All-Pac-12 last season as she's proven to be one of the top shot stoppers in the nation.
WESTIN LEADS ATTACK
Redshirt Senior midfielder Emma Westin has led the Bears in scoring for each of the past two years.
Last season, Westin had nine points in eight games as she led the team in assists with three and tied with Keely Roy for the Cal lead with three goals.
Westin also led the Bears in scoring in 2019 as she had 24 points in 21 games, including 11 goals.
NO. 1 RECRUITING CLASS COMES TO CAL
For the 2021 season, the Bears welcome the top-ranked recruiting class in the country according to TopDrawerSoccer. Cal welcomed 14 new student-athletes in the class of 2021.
Noelle Bond-Flasza, Cailin Bloom, Courtney Boone, Maya Griffin, Velize King, Kei Kitamura, Karlie Lema, Ari Manrique, Aasha McLyn, Ayo Oke, Marleen Rohde, Aaliyah Schinaman, Alexis Wright and Jordyn Young make up the class of fantastic freshmen.
Of the 13 national recruits, 11 are ranked in the Top-200, including No. 25 Oke, No. 28 Manrique, and No. 36 Lema. TopDrawerSoccer gave nine recruits a four-star rating, with two rated as three-star athletes. Eight athletes have national team experience, including international recruit, Rohde, who was ranked as one of TopDrawerSoccer's international newcomers to watch.
The Bears bring back the majority of the team that played during the 2020-21 season. The squad finished the season 5-7-1 in a shortened, conference-only, spring schedule.
For the 2021 season, 21 of the 24 players that saw minutes during the 2020-21 season return. Cal returns 19 of the 20 players that made starts last season, with Kailee Gifford the lone departure, after she started all 13 matches last year.
The Bears return student-athletes who have combined for 358 starts and 533 games played in their Cal careers. The experienced group will add the top-ranked recruiting class for the 2021 season.
Seniors Emily Smith and Emma Westin return for a fifth year in 2021. The duo, who have been roommates since freshman year, are eligible for an extra season due to the rule change resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two are team captains along with senior Sydney Collins and junior Angelina Anderson. This is the fourth straight year that Smith has been a team captain and the second year for both Westin and Collins.
DRAFT AND STAY
Racing Louisville FC selected defender Emily Smith in the second round of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Draft. Smith, chosen with the 31st overall pick, decided to play one more season with the Bears in 2021, before reporting to Louisville for the 2022 season.
IN THE ONE HUNDRED
Two Bears earned national recognition on TopDrawerSoccer prior to the start of the 2021 season. Defender Emily Smith ranks No. 55 in the National Top 100, while goalkeeper Angelina Anderson ranks No. 83.