When the sunshine broke over the South Campus at San José State University on Tuesday morning it wasn't just the beginning of another summer day, it was the dawn of 2017 SJSU women's soccer season. The Spartans and fourth-year head coach Lauren Hanson hit the ground running for the first official practice at 7:00 a.m. sharp.
"Today was great," said Spartans' head coach Lauren Hanson. "We started out with some fitness this morning to see where everyone is at, and our players look great. Then we kicked things off with a little scrimmage here in the afternoon where some of our new players got to show what they have against our returners."
The 13 returning letterwinners from last season - including five starters - and 11 newcomers are gearing up for their one and only friendly against CSUN on August 10 before the regular season begins Friday, August 18, at Santa Clara.
Among the returners are a pair of 2016 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Pacific Region players Dorthe Hoppius (Sr., F, Dorsten, Germany) and Kristen Amarikwa (So., D, Bakersfield, Calif.). Veterans Darriell Franklin and Sabrina Miller combined for 19 points last season and are back for more in 2017. A healthy Paige Simoneau (Jr., GK, Corona, Calif.) returns in goal after missing more than half of last season and she is joined by fellow keeper Ana Calero who started 10 mates between the pipes last season.
Despite losing some key contributors to graduation the Spartans have reloaded with a group of nine NLI signees bringing new talent to every position. Lauola Amanoni (Fr., D, Palo Alto, Calif.) and Natasha Harris (Fr., F, Mountain View, Calif.) are two local high school rivals uniting as Spartans beginning in 2017.
"We have a lot of talent with this new group and it's fun to see that," Hanson said. "They competed hard on this first day and there was a lot of back-and-forth which we were happy with."
San José State has played in a number of different home venues in recent years, but 2017 marks the beginning of a new era with a permanent home in the new Spartan Soccer Complex. The team's home opener at the new field is set for Sunday, August 20, at 2:30 p.m. (PT). That will be the only home match during the first month of the season, but the team plays seven consecutive matches at home to begin the month of September.
Tickets for San José State home games will be available for purchase at the entrance gate. Admission for adults 18 and above costs $8 and youth ages 17 and under are just $5. Fans can also visit the Spartan Ticket Office web page to buy tickets.