COLLEGE PARK, Md. – There was something of a lull in offensive output for the University of Maryland women’s soccer team in 2013 and redshirt-freshman Alex Anthony figures to have something to say about that this season.
“When I came in, we decided that I was going to have to redshirt due to a knee injury,” said Anthony after a preseason training session. “It was a little bit difficult at first and it was hard watching the team go out there and fight and knowing I couldn’t do anything but try to be vocal from the sidelines. So, that was really tough, especially with the season we had last year.”
The Terps’ offense came out like gangbusters, putting up 4.5 goals per game in the first four games of the 2013 season. But the sledding got a lot tougher over the final 16 games and the offense managed just 17 goals for a 1.06 goals-per-game average during that span.
For the year, Maryland managed a 1.75 goals-per-game average in 2013, which is the program’s lowest since the 2007 season (albeit just .04 goals per game below the 1.79 the Terps averaged in 2008).
Anthony was expected to be a key cog in the Terps’ offensive machine last season when she signed with Maryland out of Littleton, Colo.
She certainly had all of the credentials: No. 26 on the ESPNHS Top 150, the 86th-best recruit on the IMG Academy's Top 150, the 11th-best recruit in the Rocky Mountain/Southwest Region by TopDrawerSoccer.com, the 30th-best forward in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Why did Anthony earn those honors and accolades? Easy; she’s a natural goal-scorer, which is something that caught Maryland head coach Jonathan Morgan’s eye.
“Alex might be one of the most competitive kids I've ever come across,” said Morgan when she signed with the Terps in February of 2013. “She loves to win and she loves to score goals. Alex always knows the score. One of the ECNL's leading goal scorers, Alex possesses the tools to score in a variety of ways. I've seen her score from distance, out of the air (headers and volleys), and off the dribble. Some of the goals she's been able to score in club have been the most amazing goals I've ever seen from a youth player. We can't wait to get her on campus."
But Morgan and the Terps had to wait as Anthony’s knee injury forced her to miss the entire 2013 season. However, there wasn’t just one silver lining to Anthony’s dark 2013 cloud. There were two.
First, the injury didn’t keep her out of spring training and that was something Anthony relished.
“I was able to [play] in the spring, that was fun and it was great to get back out on the field,” said Anthony. “It was great to start playing with the team and play with the girls so we could get to know each other [on the field].”
Anthony’s excitement for playing this past spring is still nothing compared to how she feels when stepping onto the practice field for preseason training this summer.
“I am beyond excited and I couldn’t be happier with this team and I couldn’t be luckier to be a part of a better team,” said Anthony. “This team is great; the support that everyone has for each another and we push each other all of the time. We have very talented players and I’m looking forward to getting out there with the team and being able to step out onto that field and making an actual difference this year.”
And that second silver lining to Anthony’s redshirt season last year – Maryland fans will get to watch Anthony score a lot of goals for the Terps for four more seasons.