Shortly after Danny Sanchez was hired as the Colorado soccer coach on Dec. 19, 2011, he said recruiting in-state talent would be a priority.
On Wednesday, Sanchez announced a class of seven high school recruits and two Division I transfers -- none of them from Colorado. That doesn't mean Sanchez has gone back on his word, however.
Soccer recruiting is unique in that college coaches are already working on their class for two and three years down the road. That meant that Sanchez and his staff got a late start on the 2013 class.
"By the time we really got into it last January, we were kind of limited in what we could do, so we were just kind of really looking for the best players we could find," said Sanchez, whose team went 8-8-4 (2-7-2 Pac-12) last fall, his first with the Buffs.
Several players in the state signed with other programs, including in the Pac-12, but Sanchez said those players were already off the board when he got hired.
"It is a very strong class for 2013 in Colorado, but when we got hired, there wasn't really anybody left that we felt could compete at the Pac-12 level," he said. "There are a lot of (in-state) players going to Pac-12 schools, but they were all committed when we got the job."
Sanchez said that he and his staff have been working on building relationships with in-state players and coaches for future classes, but that "it takes a little bit of time."
Despite not having any in-state recruits, the Buffs did land a talented class.
The high school players signed the Buffs: midfielder Sydney Carlson (Bellevue, Wash.); forward Hannah Dearborn (Moorpark, Calif.); midfielder/defender Alyssa Herwatt (Fairfield, Calif.); forward/midfielder Brianna Hooks (Maple Valley, Wash.); defender Alex Huynh (Australia); midfielder/defender Mikaela Kraus (San Diego, Calif.) and goalkeeper Kenzie Tillitt (Carson City, Nev.).
In addition midfielders Tori Cooper (Georgia) and Brooke Rice (Santa Clara) transferred and enrolled at CU last month. Cooper started 15 games for Georgia last season, leading the Bulldogs in shots (52) and shots on goal (23). Rice made four starts at Santa Clara, while playing in 20 games at midfield.
"I like getting a couple of transfers that obviously have two years of experience playing in good programs and going to the NCAA Tournament, which is obviously where we'd like to be," Sanchez said. "Having them here in the spring is an advantage to them and the team."
Sanchez also sees great potential in the seven high school players signed, and believes some of them could make an impact this year.
"I think they're all capable of having a role in the short term," he said.
The one position Sanchez targeted was goalkeeper. Starting keeper Annie Brunner will be a senior in the fall, as will backup Betsy Builder. They are the only two keepers on the roster, which made Tillitt's signing crucial.
"We had to get a goal keeper; we were glad we were able to get Kenzie so late in the game," he said.
Tillitt has excelled as a forward and midfielder, in addition to being a standout keeper for her club team.
Rice's sister, Nicole, played for Sanchez for four years at Wyoming. ... Huynh will be the first-ever Australian player at CU. ... Don't expect to see a CU-Colorado State matchup for a while. "Down the road obviously that's a game everybody would like to see, but right now our schedule is full," Sanchez said. CSU added soccer last month and will begin play in the fall, but the Buffs and Rams might not meet on the field until 2015.
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