North Texas Daily

Oklahoma transfer seeks to uphold North Texas soccer’s winning legacy

Oklahoma transfer seeks to uphold North Texas soccer’s winning legacy

Oklahoma transfer seeks to uphold North Texas soccer’s winning legacy
August 31
08:00 2023

Junior forward Bailey Wesco is focused on one thing this season — winning. When she first arrived in North Texas this May, the American Athletic Conference selected Wesco as a player to look out for on its annual Preseason Watch List. 

Wesco acknowledged it. It just did not mean anything to her.

“I don’t know what it means, I don’t know what it does,” Wesco said. “Do I get a trophy from it? No, so it really doesn’t mean much to me, honestly, but it’s always cool to have those accolades.”

Instead, Wesco gravitated toward the teamwork and collaboration that is woven into soccer. 

“I think the team [is my favorite part…] I couldn’t do one of those single sports,” Wesco said. “Having teammates is a big part of [soccer]. […] You’re not going through anything alone, you’re not winning alone, you’re not losing alone, you’re not running and dying alone. It’s all with your teammates.” 

The alternative for Wesco was track. Wesco’s parents, Tambia and Bryant Wesco are both former track athletes. Bryant was a five-time All-American in the triple jump, as well as a 2021 inductee into Louisiana Tech’s Athletics Hall of Fame. But Wesco hated running. So, she started playing soccer at 10 years old and never looked back. 

In her sophomore year at Oklahoma, Wesco saw an opportunity elsewhere. Wesco noticed North Texas’ historic success and decided she wanted to join something larger than herself. 

“I saw the idea, I saw what they were building,” Wesco said. “They were good without me here so I just want to help in any way I can.”

Sophomore defender Meghan Schwertner said the team was excited to have her. 

“She definitely is a big strength,” Schwertner said. “She brings a high competitiveness to practice every day, she’s obviously a goal scorer. […] She brings a lot to the team and we’re happy to have her.”

The other reason Wesco chose to transfer was because of her family. 

“My brother’s about to go really far for school,” Wesco said. “So I thought, me being closer would kind of help them cope with having no kids in the house.” 

Family is how Wesco got to this point. Growing up, it did not matter if they had won, lost or tied. If Wesco’s parents did not think she had tried her best, they would make her run after games. 

“They just know what effort looks like and whenever you don’t give effort, they will get the effort afterward,” Wesco said. “While my team was getting medals and going home, I was on the field running in 100 F heat.”

That experience directly carried over on Aug. 20 of this year, the team’s second game of the season against Northwestern State By the 15th minute, The Demons were down by one. A Demon defender received a short goal kick and made a pass toward a nearby midfielder. Once the ball landed, it bounced into the air. When the ball arrived at the midfielder’s foot, it ricocheted off her foot toward Wesco. 

The midfielder began to chase after her mistake. At the same time, Wesco jolted toward the ball. Then toward the net. 

The midfielder pursued Wesco and stuck out her left leg to stab at the ball. Wesco made a quick move to her right, giving her an opening. Two defenders began closing in on both her left and right. At that exact moment, Wesco shot. 

The defender on her left jumped into the air, extending her leg, while the defender on her right slid onto the ground. The Demon’s goalie dove to her right, but grabbed nothing but air. The ball sailed into the right side of the net and Wesco put the team up 2-0. 

“I’m going to be honest, I was dehydrated and I did not even realize I had scored,” Wesco said. “But I mean after I watched it, it was cool. It’s a good feeling to always score, you know, at a new school and early on in the season.”

Graduate student and midfielder Jenna Sheely said  Wesco’s goal-scoring is one of her greatest strengths. 

“She’s very determined, she has an urgency to to score,” Sheely said. “She’s fast, she’s good at taking defenders one on one, she’s great at hitting the ball in the air, that’s the girl you want to put on ball on corners, she’ll get up there.”

The Mean Green have 12 games left in their schedule including opponents like Southern Methodist University and Memphis. So far they have started out at 4-0 and are now striving for a championship. 

“I think we’re making the stepping stones to get there,” Wesco said. “You won’t see the end product until two months from now but right now, it’s looking good.”

Featured Image: Bailey Wesco poses next to a soccer net at the UNT Soccer and Track & Field Stadium on Aug. 27, 2023. Makayla Brown

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Hyunsung Na

Hyunsung Na

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