Colorado women’s soccer coach Danny Sanchez officially welcomed a 2018 recruiting class on Wednesday that he touted could push for playing time even on a team that boasts a wealth of returning veterans in a program that has reached the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons.
And that might have been the second-best nugget of good news Sanchez received on Wednesday.
While Sanchez was announcing the latest crop of Buffaloes to join his program, he also was receiving word that he will be inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame this summer for his stellar run as the head coach at Metro State a decade ago.
All in all it wasn’t a bad day for Sanchez, who received national letters of intent from four 2018 freshmen while also making it official with Virginia transfer Sofia Weiner, who already enrolled at CU for the spring semester.
“Although we only lost four seniors and two starters, we feel all five of these players can come in and play right away,” Sanchez said. “Our recruiting coordinator Dave Morgan and our associate head coach Jason Green, it’s really all three of us are on the road constantly grinding. It’s not like it’s one person doing the whole job. Dave does a lot of the dirty work and hands it off to me.
“When we go out there, the university, Boulder, does sell it. But I think the Pac-12 women’s soccer, the top conference in the country, sells it. Like I’ve talked about, I don’t know if there’s enough really, really impactful players around the country for the number of good players there are.”
Among the five new Buffs are two native Coloradoans including Weiner, a midfielder from Evergreen who redshirted at Virginia last fall and still has all four years of eligibility remaining. Sanchez also signed Windsor forward Chaynee Kingsbury, whose ability on flip throw-ins will add a dynamic to CU’s attack that has been missing since Danica Evans graduated following the 2016 season.
CU also signed forward/midfielder Emily Groark, one of the top prep players out of the St. Louis area; midfielder/defender Jesse Loren out of Redondo Beach, Calif.; and midfielder Kayleigh Webb, who played on the same club team that produced current CU defender Kelsey Aaknes.
“I think we’re establishing ourselves nationally,” Sanchez said. “We need players like this to come in and push the players we have if we’re going to take the next step.”
Sanchez will be inducted to the RMAC Hall of Fame during the league’s ceremonies on July 13. In seven seasons at Metro State, Sanchez’s teams won six RMAC regular-season titles and three RMAC tournament titles while winning the NCAA Division II national championship in 2004 and 2006. His clubs went 76-1-3 in league matches during his tenure.
“Really we had the success because we had a great administration led by (former AD) Joan McDermott and the presidents we had when we were there,” Sanchez said. “We had unparalleled success at the Division II level there and had a great run. Great student-athletes, a couple national players of the year, a bunch of All-Americans. It was a special time at a special place.”