fpu women's soccer 2019 Season Preview

"This year’s team seems to have more energy and is a lot more focused than last year. It is still early in preseason, but they are all working hard and all have the same goal of being the best team they can be. I feel like this is the team that just came off of competing to win the conference two years ago when we came up one point shy. My expectations are for us to be more competitive and start to move the bar forward towards competing for the PacWest Conference Championship." - head coach Rob Podeyn

"I think the biggest strength of this team is their attitude. They have a tremendous focus and work rate and seem to genuinely like being around each other. Their biggest weakness is lack of experience together as a team, but I hope to see that change as we continue to progress through the preseason." - rob podeyn

key returners

alyssa kincade

senior | defender | Fresno, california

1300+ minutes on the back line, helped fpu deliver 2 shutouts, 2 assists in 2018

mackenzie reynolds

junior | forward | reno, nevada

led fresno pacific in goals and points, 2 game-winning goals, all-PacWest Third Team selection in 2018

Rachel Anderson

senior | midfield | Santa Cruz, california

led fpu in assists in 2018, 6 career game-winners, 3-time academic all-pacwest

key losses

alex benevidez, goalkeeper

1200+ minutes, 44 saves, 13 starts, 3 shutouts in 2018

vanessa casillas, defender

14 starts, 1200 minutes on the back line, team captain in 2018

whitney snow, midfielder

11 career goals, All-PacWest Second Team in 2018

hannah strong, defender

All-PacWest Second Team, team captain in 2018

meet the newcomers

"We didn’t add very many, but what we did add definitely made us a better team. It started in the back with the additions of Savannah Watts and Birgitta Eggertsdottir in goal. Savannah is coming off of a high school career that saw her selected as a Two-Time All-State goalkeeper in Colorado, and Birgitta is transferring from an NCAA Division I program where she saw action in five games. In addition, Birgitta was part of the U17 Icelandic National Team. On our defense, we’ve added junior college transfer Kendra Hawken from West Hills Community College, where she was a 2-year starter and recognized as an All-Conference Performer. In the midfield, we added Madilyn Hernandez from Clovis, where she just won U.S. Club Nationals with her club team Crossfire. We also added Maria Meza, a junior transfer from Taft College who was a 2-year starter and an All-Conference Performer. At forward, we added Hokulei Ishikawa from Oahu, Hawaii, and she is coming off an outstanding high school career that saw her selected as a First Team All-State performer." - Rob Podeyn

the schedule

"We have what I believe to be the toughest schedule in program history ahead of us this fall. It starts with a tough Central Washington team who we have tied two years in a row. Then we play our Central Valley rivals in Stanislaus State, a team we’ve never beaten. We follow that with two NCAA Tournament participants last year in Chico State and Sonoma State. I would say every game we play at home is a 'circle date' , as there is no team we can overlook with such a challenging schedule and a conference that gets better every year." - Rob Podeyn

the captains

"Having two players who have been through the program all four years is an invaluable asset to the younger players. They are strong leaders and roles models, but more importantly, have a passion and desire to succeed and to see this team succeed." - Rob Podeyn

the preseason

The Sunbirds were picked fifth in the PacWest Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving 97 total points.

"I like where we're picked because our team seems to play better in the underdog role. I think we can do well in that spot, and we are looking forward to surprising some of these teams." - Rob Podeyn

milestone watch

rob podeyn enters the 2019 season with 143 career victories as a collegiate head coach.
mackenzie reynolds needs six goals to crack into the top five on fpu's all-time leaderboard.
Rachel Anderson enters the season with six career game-winning goals, three short of tying the program record.

head coach rob podeyn

Podeyn joined the FPU staff in 2015 after leading Southwest Baptist to a Top 25 national ranking and back-to-back NCAA Division II tournament berths in 2013 and 2014. In his first season at Fresno Pacific, he guided a team that had finished 6-8-2 the previous year to a record-breaking season that saw the team lead the league in shots on goal while tying for the best record in program history. He was named the PacWest Coach of the Year in 2017 after the Sunbirds recorded their highest finish since the program’s inception.

Podeyn began his coaching career after a successful seven-year professional playing career as a goalkeeper. He played collegiately at Long Island-C.W. Post (1984-1987) where he was an NCAA Division II All-American while leading his team to the NCAA quarterfinals as a senior. That year, Podeyn led the nation in save percentage (.893) and ranked fifth in the nation in saves with 107. He went on to spend seven seasons with the Long Island Stars of the American Soccer League, earning league MVP honors twice while setting a league record of 973 consecutive shutout minutes.

His résumé also includes a variety of other elite-level coaching experience in the United States and abroad. This includes assisting with goalkeeper training for the U-17 U.S. Women's National Team, serving as a national technical director for APT Soccer and as a regional director for AFC Ajax, one of the largest and most prestigious professional soccer clubs in the Netherlands. He has also worked with professional coaches at Vitesse Arnhem (a Dutch professional club), in Brazil with Club Atletico Miniero (CAM), in Germany with Borussa Mochen Gladbach, and in the U.S. with the Tampa Bay Mutiny (formerly of the MLS).

away from the pitch

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