Heather Arnell Excels On The Soccer Field
Oct. 14, 2002
LOGAN, Utah -
Sept. 26, 2002
LOGAN, Utah - By Jeff Burton, USU Athletic Media Relations Student Assistant
While some suffer the sophomore jinx, Utah State soccer star Heather Arnell has shone in her sophomore season for the Aggies. Arnell has emerged on the soccer field as a leader, helping USU soar to its best record thus far in the program's seven-year history.
Head coach Jen Kennedy Croft, whose first season as head coach was Arnell's first as a player, has noticed improvement in Arnell's game.
"I feel her confidence is up this year," Croft said. "She's scoring goals this year and they are pretty goals. Arnell plays with so much finesse. I think she has done very well at being a leader by getting this team fired up when they need it most."
A Kaysville native, Arnell played high school soccer for Davis High School under Curt Caldwell. She was a three-year letterwinner and recorded 26 goals and 30 assists as a Dart. She was well recognized for her efforts by earning all-state accolades from the Deseret News and Ogden Standard Examiner.
The Aggies are glad to have this leader on the team. Arnell originally committed to play soccer at the University of Texas El Paso. Utah State, who also recruited Arnell, told her if things did not work out with UTEP they would make a spot for her in Logan. So when things fell through in the Lone Star State, Arnell cruised back to Logan and the rest is history.
Although Arnell believed playing out of Utah would have been fun, she has never regretted coming to Utah State.
"I feel this is where I am supposed to be and I've had a great time here," Arnell said.
Playing so close to home, Arnell has enjoyed playing in front of friends and family. In just eight matches this season Arnell has posted great numbers. She is second on the team in both goals scored (four) and points (nine). She currently has a team-best .667 shot percentage, scoring her four goals on six shots this season. And at .833, her shots on goal percent is second among the Aggies.
Croft is excited for Arnell's game as it continues to get better.
"We would like her to shoot more," said Croft, "but she has great vision. She has a lot of composure in the middle and knows how to settles things down for us."
Arnell agrees that she can do more on offense.
"I know they want me to shoot more," Arnell said. "I struggle a bit because I want the perfect shot. I'm taking more shots this year because in the middle you see more of the field and it's expected of you. I'm trying to do what I'm supposed to do, and that is to take more shots."
Arnell's numbers have improved from last year, partly because she moved to the middle from the wing where she played last season. During the 2001 season Arnell scored two goals on eight shots and made one assist, giving her five points. She started in 16 of the 18 games she played as a freshman.
Soccer has been a big part of Arnell's life as she began playing at the age of five. She played with a guys' team at the age of nine, and later helped win five state titles with the Utah Futbol club team.
"We had a really good club team," she said. "We had a lot of really good talent and we just put it all together."
Although she believes that winning is the best thing about soccer, Arnell accepts that it's not the only thing.
"Looking back, I definitely remember winning, especially in games where we really excelled, but the friendships and the relationships with the other players and coaches is what I will remember most....But winning is important."