This Cal women’s soccer team is not supposed to be under .500. Last year, they finished 10-5-6. Before this season began, Pac-12 coaches voted the Bears as the fourth best team in the conference.
The bad news: Cal’s record is 2-3-1. The good news: There is potential to erase its losing record in a single weekend.
The Bears host Utah Valley University at 4 p.m. on Friday at Edwards Stadium. Then Cal will head south to face the University of San Diego. The Bears can call themselves a winning team if they overcome both the Wolverines and Toreros. Note: there are no Wolverines in Utah; nor are there Toreros, which translates to ‘bullfighters,’ in San Diego. Admittedly, these are still both great team names.
Kylie Kerr, a starting defender and transfer from UCLA, knows what her new team needs to focus on to reach their potential.
“Probably the biggest thing for us is just cleaning up the little things. And I mean, obviously we need to clean up our attacking third and put our chances away because we had a ton versus Fullerton and just let the game get away from us,” Kerr said.
The “Fullerton game” Kerr referred to was a brutal 0-1 loss at home last Sunday. The Bears put seven shots on goal, but none of them made it past Toreros goalkeeper Mia Ranson. Cal’s goalkeeper Teagan Wy was practically just as great. She saved seven shots on goal, finishing one shy of her career high. But Wy was not able to save a penalty kick granted to Kaylin Raibon after the Bears were called for a handball inside the box.
Teagan Wy is one of the most exciting players in the Pac-12. Cal’s sophomore stud spent part of her summer as one of only three goalkeepers selected to Team USA’s U-20 CONCACAF championship roster, where the team finished in second place.
Back for the school year, Wy will be the full-time Bears starter after backing up Angelina Anderson for much of last year. Angel City FC used the 27th pick in this season’s NWSL draft to select Anderson, opening the starting job for Wy. Expectations are high, leading Wy’s conference to name her on the preseason All-Pac-12 team. Kylie Kerr is highly complimentary of her new goalie.
“We’re just learning together. She’s a great player and she played under Angie who’s another amazing keeper. I think it’s a big year for her to step out and do what she does and grow her voice a little bit. She’s doing great.”
Kerr is a graduate student athlete who spent all four years of undergrad at UCLA. After winning a championship last year with the Bruins, she feels like her experience helps her relate to every teammate.
“Hopefully I’m able to lead and give guidance to the younger girls because I’ve been on every side I’ve been on every side: I’ve not played, I’ve played, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been the coach’s favorite, I’ve been hated by the coach,” Kerr said.
Despite leaving her alma mater, Kerr is experiencing a homecoming of sorts after growing up in the East Bay.
“I’m such a homebody in the sense that I love seeing my family so they’re able to come to every game. And like when I was at UCLA, my mom would fly down the same day of the game, then get on a plane at 9 p.m. after a 7 p.m. game. So I wouldn’t be able to hang out. And so now I’m able to have both my parents come ,and my little brother. My little sister’s in college, so she can’t come all the time, but having them around is great,” Kerr said.
The Kerr family will be present for this Friday’s battle against Utah Valley, who Kerr notes are coming off of an impressive road win against USC. This weekend, the Bears need to clean up a few mistakes to earn victories against UVU and San Diego.