By Hannah Rose
The Utah State University women’s soccer team recruited its highest number of out-of-state recruits in the past three years for its upcoming 2015 fall season.
Six of this year’s nine recruits are not from Utah.
Head coach Heather Cairns attributes the rise in out-of-state recruits to the 2012 change from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference.
In addition to the conference change, the university implemented a new academic scholarship called the non-resident waiver. The scholarship pays the out-of-state portion of the player’s tuition cost.
“Since our student athletes are not all on full-ride athletic scholarships, the ability for them to qualify for academic money is important,” Cairns said.
The rise of out-of-state recruits began in 2013 with five players from outside Utah, and the 2014 season followed with a peak of eight recruits.
About two-thirds of Mountain West teams in 2014 had rosters with 50 percent or more of their players not from the university’s home state.
Shyani Terukina, a midfielder from Mililani, Hawaii, signed to play for the Aggies in 2013.
“When I was younger I wanted to stay home because I couldn’t imagine leaving my family,” Terukina said. “As I got older that changed. I wanted to experience things that a small rock in the middle of the sea couldn’t offer.”
Terukina attributes her assimilation to Utah State to the returning players who welcomed her at summer training. Twenty-one returners will welcome the nine recruits during summer training in August.
“Each girl has a unique experience when they join the team,” said Lexie Henrie, a senior defender. “The out-of-state recruits bring a different atmosphere and style to the team that is fun.”
Cairns planned team activities to help boost unity and assimilation.
“Being farther than a car ride from home is hard,” Cairns said. “I will say that our in-state families have done a tremendous job of inviting the out-of-staters into their families so they feel a connection.”
To help the out-of-state recruits feel welcome, the team participates in activities during summer training such as an annual trip to Bear Lake and a visit to the local rodeo.
“We help the recruits feel welcome by making everything we do be a team function, and we treat everyone the same,” Henrie said.
The newest soccer recruits include Emma Clark (San Diego, California), Emilee Monnig (Yorba Linda, California), Jenny De Boer (Meridian, Idaho), Alexa Hunt (Las Vegas, Nevada), Sydnie Dolzine (McKinney, Texas) and Jaylen Hinckley (College Station, Texas).
Fans interested in following the new 2015 USU soccer team can follow it on Facebook at USUSoccer, or Twitter at @USUSoccer.