After an unprecedented pause of roughly 450 days, Cal women’s soccer made its long-awaited return in February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandeimc. Now, more than 70 days since Cal’s last game of the spring 2021 season, the Pac-12 has released its women’s soccer schedule for fall 2021, marking one of the shortest off-seasons in program history.
In total, the Bears will play 20 games, including both non-conference and conference matchups. On August 19, they’ll open their season against UC San Diego in Southern California. On November 6, they’ll close their season against Stanford at the Farm. All home games for Cal will be held at Edwards Stadium.
On the heels of an 11th spot in the Pac-12 with a 5-7-1 overall record, the Bears’ trajectory for the season can only go up. But opponents such as Santa Clara, UCLA and Washington may be particularly tough outings. In the 2020 NCAA College Cup, the Broncos were crowned the national champions after edging out Florida State in a penalty shootout thriller. Meanwhile, the Bruins and Huskies made waves in the same tournament, representing two of five Pac-12 teams showcased on the national stage.
For fall 2021, 25 returning Bears will be led by four captains: goalkeeper Angelina Anderson, defenders Sydney Collins and Emily Smith, as well as forward Emma Westin. With three of the four players being steady defensive fixtures, the blue and gold backline will presumably be a focal point for the upcoming season.
Alongside them will also come a highly touted 2021 recruiting class of 14 players in total. Included in the bunch are forwards Arianna Manrique and Karlie Lema, as well as midfielder Marleen Rohde, who round out a balanced, offensively gifted set of young talents. Collectively ranked by TopDrawerSoccer as the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, the eager cubs will soon have a chance to make their mark in a sea of talented Bears.
Ryan Chien covers women’s soccer. Contact him at [email protected].