The 2021 women's college soccer season is nearly here, as several ranked teams took to the pitch this week to kick off the upcoming season with exhibition games. The preseason top 25 is loaded with talented players who will try and land their team a spot in the College Cup.
Here are five of the many players to keep an eye on this season:
Jaelin Howell, Florida State University — Senior, Midfielder
After being named the 2021 MAC Hermann trophy award winner last season, it is safe to say that Jaelin Howell will be a force to be reckoned with. Howell has earned nearly every prestigious award in the sport, so expect her to have a strong presence on both offense and defense as the reigning ACC Midfielder of the Year. After narrowly losing the national championship last season in a penalty kick shootout, don't be surprised to see Jaelin Howell and the Seminoles find their way back to the title game with a chip on their shoulder.
Kelsey Turnbow, Santa Clara — RS Senior, Forward
With a team-high 24 points and 10 goals last season, Kelsey Turnbow led the Santa Clara Broncos to the national title for the first since 2001. Turnbow was named the College Cup Offensive Most Outstanding Player, the Top Drawer Soccer Player of the Year and was drafted 18th overall in the NWSL draft. Thanks to an extra season of eligibility following the 2020-21 season, Turnbow will be able to suit up for the Broncos one last time before turning pro.
WOMEN'S SOCCER RANKINGS: View the full preseason top 25
Mikayla Colohan, BYU — RS Senior, Midfielder
Three-time first-team All-American Mikayla Colohan will return this season for her fifth and final year with the BYU Cougars. Colohan was a key part of the 2019 BYU squad that went undefeated in a regular season for the first time in school history. Colohan led the entire West Coast Conference in total points, shots and shots on goal last season. In order to get BYU to its first-ever College Cup, the Cougars will need Colohan to have another exceptional season.
Anna Podojil, Arkansas — Junior, Forward
Anna Podojil has made a name for herself not only in the SEC but in all of women's college soccer. Podojil is the first Razorback to ever be named a first-team All-American, MAC Hermann award semifinalist and the SEC Forward of the Year. Podojil netted seven goals last season, as well as a team-leading 10 assists and 24 total points. Podojil will look to cement her legacy at Arkansas by leading her team to a deep tournament run.
Lia Godfrey, Virginia — Sophomore, Midfielder
Virginia's Lia Godfrey breaks into the list after a stellar freshman campaign. Godfrey was named the ACC freshman of the year, the Top Drawer Soccer freshman of the year and she was the only freshman to be named a first or second team All-America selection last season. Godfrey led the ACC in assists in her college soccer debut. We expect Godfrey to continue to be a breakout star in her second season as a Cavalier.