When it comes to Women’s College Soccer, there are a few teams that have the distinction of being one of the single greatest college soccer teams ever. The 2005 Portland Pilots might have the title as the best. They went undefeated with Christine Sinclair and Megan Rapinoe. Well, the 2017 women's college soccer season has just wrapped up, and this year’s champs certainly give them a run for their money.
Here’s why the 2017 Stanford women's college soccer team will go down in history:
Paul Ratcliffe has made seven college cups during his time a Palo Alto, and the only national title team he had featured future superstars, Christen Press and Kelley O’Hara. While the 2017 team didn’t go undefeated as they did in 2011, the talent level is as good if not better. From top to bottom, this team has been stacked, and Paul Ratcliffe truly had the perfect combination of youth and experience.
Heading into this season, there’s never any real way to figure out just how big of an impact each freshman is going to have over the course of a season. Stanford was already touted as one of the best teams in the country. The team had plenty of juniors and seniors to count on. Of course, it all starts with Andi Sullivan. She’s destined for greatness at the next level.
The senior was a rock for Stanford all year, and the team could always count on her to stabilize the ship. When you add that with juniors Kyra Carusa, Jordan DiBiasi and Alana Cook, you’ve got help in the midfield, up front and at the back as well. Those players alone are probably good enough to get Stanford to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, but the contributions they received from their younger players helped Stanford get to the top.
Tierna Davidson earned All-American honors this year as a sophomore, as well as freshman sensation Catarina Macario. Her impact can’t be mentioned enough, and after three assists in the national title game, she ended her first collegiate season with 17 goals and 17 assists, which is pretty incredible.
Don't forget about the unsung hero of this team Jaye Boissiere, who played one game in 2014, missed all of 2015 and played only nine games last year due to injuries. Boissiere gave Stanford a much needed presence in the midfield to provide support to Jordan DiBiasi and Andi Sullivan.
To put everything in perspective, Stanford had nine of their starting XI make either first or second-team All-Pac-12. That means nine of their starters were deemed to be among the 24 best players in the entire conference, including Tegan McGrady and Michelle Xiao.
The bottom line is this Stanford team might be the most complete team from top to bottom in quite some time. What’s crazy is if their juniors decide to stay in school, then this team only loses Andi Sullivan. They’ll miss Sullivan, but Stanford might be expected to repeat again if their entire team comes back next season. Paul Ratcliffe and Stanford are set up to be dominant for a long time.