Stepping up to a new season


Robert Casey

Sadie Newsom dribbles down the line and looks to cross the ball.

Weber State University’s women’s soccer team ended last season with a 1–0 Big Sky Conference championship loss against the University of Montana. In the upcoming season, the Wildcats are chasing their first title since 2013.

“Finishing second in the conference tournament, I think we surprised a lot of people,” assistant coach Kendra Smith said. “Now the secret’s out a little bit of who Weber State is.”
After not reaching a Big Sky tournament match since 2018, the Wildcats finished the season with an 11–9 overall record and a 6–3 in-conference record, making them the fourth seed in the Big Sky tournament.

“A big thing for us is we were leading the conference up until the last two games of the regular season, and we had a lot of players who hadn’t really been in that position before,” Smith said. “A big thing for us, and especially throughout the tournament, was getting a lot of these younger players that kind of opportunity that they haven’t had yet.”

Prepped for a first seed, Weber State lost the last two games of the regular season against Montana and the University of Northern Colorado. The Wildcats made a strong impression during their first game of the Big Sky tournament against the University of Idaho, beating the Vandals 3–0. Weber State got revenge on the Northern Colorado Bears with a close 3–2 win before falling to the Grizzlies.

“I think the girls are hungry to have those moments again,” Smith said. “There’s kind of that passion that’s been reinstalled and getting that close to winning a conference championship that I think they’re going to come back ready to go.”

During Weber State’s offseason, the Wildcats have been working on finding their rhythm after dealing with the loss of graduated teammates.

“We ended up losing eleven players,” Smith said. “It’s definitely been an adjustment, but we’ve been working really hard as a team, trying to improve what we’re doing as a group and getting everybody on the same page.”

The list of departing players includes five-year veteran Sadie Newsom. During her tenure at Weber State, the midfielder received three All-Big Sky Conference honors.

While the list of players that won’t be returning for the 2022 season is vast, Coach Smith is confident that both the returning players and new recruits will lead Weber State to win a conference championship.

“We feel really confident in our 2022 class and the girls coming in this fall,” Smith said. “We’ve really recruited each of them to serve a specific purpose on the team, and they each have very specific roles for what we’re trying to do here.”

The Wildcats will face Salt Lake Community College for a season opening exhibition at the Wildcat Soccer Field on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.