North Texas Daily

Transfers impact Mean Green soccer team

Transfers impact Mean Green soccer team

Transfers impact Mean Green soccer team
September 25
00:15 2014

Scott Sidway / Staff Writer

The Mean Green soccer team features 10 new faces that did not play for North Texas last season. Two of those players are making a big splash after playing collegiate soccer elsewhere last season.

Sophomore forward Marchelle Davis and freshman defender Kaylah Hunter brought their talents to the Mean Green from the University of Texas and Baylor University, respectively, for the 2014 season. Since transferring, both have earned the trust of head coach John Hedlund and gotten significant playing time.

“They’ve fit in quite perfectly with our offense, and because of their hard work and production on the field, they’re both starting,” Hedlund said. “So it’s two additional weapons that we have now.”

Hedlund said he wasn’t sure before the season if either would crack the starting lineup. But because of hard work, conditioning and offensive abilities, Hedlund said that this year’s transfer class is contributing more than any other that he has seen in his career.

“I would say yes, especially from an offensive standpoint,” Hedlund said. “They come from big schools, pretty solid programs, and they’ve come right in and really helped us with our offense and set pieces.”

The recruitment of transfer students is different from recruiting students out of high school. Because of a student’s affiliation with a university, it is entirely up to the student to seek out other programs after obtaining permission to transfer from their current institution. Fortunately for North Texas, Hedlund is already familiar with many athletes who plan to transfer due to their connections to the local area.

“If it’s a Dallas-Fort Worth kid, when they contact us, I already pretty much know about them because we recruit so hard in this area,” Hedlund said. “So I have a good understanding of what this kid can do before she even arrives on campus.”

While North Texas coaches may already know plenty about local recruits, the recruits aren’t always fully aware of what the Mean Green soccer program entails. Hunter realized what the team was all about when she and her old Baylor team scrimmaged the Mean Green in the spring.

“It seems that when Baylor played against them, everybody just worked really hard,” Hunter said. “We were getting beat to every ball when I was at Baylor. It seemed like there was more heart in it on the UNT side.”

In addition to not fitting in with Baylor’s style of play, Hunter said that Hedlund’s candid communication style also convinced her that North Texas was a prime destination. Hunter also missed all of last season at Baylor due to injury.

“He was just so upfront with me, which I really liked,” Hunter said. “I had no question about what I needed to do to get on the field and what I needed to do to play. He was just really open with me, and I appreciate that.”

For Davis, who scored two game-winning goals while attending Texas in 2013, one of the biggest reasons she transferred to North Texas was so she could be closer to her hometown of Trophy Club, Texas. Since returning home, she has developed a strong bond with her current team off the field. She is also making an impact on the field as she ranks second on the team in goals.

“I get along with the girls a whole lot. They’re a whole lot of fun to be around,” Davis said. “The chemistry on the field is great, obviously, with the results we’ve been getting. And it just helps being comfortable around them, and that helps on the field.”

The Mean Green has benefitted greatly from the two transfers, as they have recorded a combined three goals and two assists through nine games. Hedlund said he is pleased with the duo, and junior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine, one of the team’s captains, said she is impressed by how Hunter and Davis have fit in.

“They went full force into it,” Kerestine said. “I think they handled the transition really well. They are able to come in and out. They have speed and they want to score, so that definitely fits in with our forwards.”

Hedlund said not every transfer is capable of making such an impact.

“Sometimes we hit it pretty big, getting kids like this that really want to transfer and make a difference, but other times it’s too much for the player,” Hedlund said. “But in this case, it’s really worked out for us.”

Featured Image: Sophomore forward Marchelle Davis battles for possession with a Texas Southern University defender on Aug. 22. File Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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