Alabama State soccer kicks off Friday

The defending SWAC champions will host Troy University in an exhibition match at 6 p.m.
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama State is back on the pitch! The Hornets will kick off the season on Friday with a brand new roster, and head coach Jodie Smith is excited to see where this team goes.

“I’ve been at this as a head coach for 28 years, 30 in the game, and every preseason takes on its own identity,” said Smith. “Every year, you recruit those players and then to finally get them here and to see what they can do for your team. I think that’s the most exciting part.”

Eleven new faces join the defending SWAC champions - all hoping to repeat this season. But to do that, Smith has to get everyone on the same page.

“The biggest thing is about half of our team will be new, so it’s incorporating all the new players into the team culture, the team atmosphere, and getting everybody adjusted,” he said.

Those newcomers include players from all over the world, from Alaska to Australia, and Smith will be leaning on his returners to help continue the program’s winning culture.

That includes senior forward McKenna Wiscombe, who was named Second Team Preseason All-SWAC. Wiscombe was also the tournament MVP this past spring.

“She’s a fifth year senior, and she did great things for us last year and has really kind of come into her own as far as the leadership part of it,” said Smith.

Alabama State was picked to win the conference in the preseason coaches poll, tallying eight first place votes and 148 total points. The Hornets claimed the regular season championship last season and have won three of the last five postseason tournaments. They are looking to become the first repeat champion since they pulled off the feat in 2016-17.

But as Smith said at practice on Wednesday, that is in the past. The goal is to keep being competitive and focus on 2021.

“Last year’s team was last year’s team. This is this year’s team, so our story has yet to be written of what we’re going to accomplish together as a team, but I’m liking the energy,” said Smith. “We’re better in some areas. Its kind that way every year. You graduate some players out, so you start new there, but then you create upperclassmen in other areas. So for us it’s not business as usual but trying to maintain that level and constantly improve on the year before.”

The Hornets will have their first taste of action on Friday when they welcome in Troy. Smith said the game is less about winning and more about setting the tone for the rest of the season.

“We compete every day in training. And who’s going to rise to the top, we’re not quite sure yet. That first lineup Friday is going to be real interesting.”

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at the Lady Hornet, and admission is free to all home soccer matches, with Alabama State being a mask-mandatory campus.

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