Troy soccer will look a little different from now on.
The Trojans have welcomed many new faces recently, with a new head coach and several new players stepping onboard the program.
Ged O’Connor, Troy’s new head coach, hails from Saint Leo University, where he spent 11 seasons before taking over the top job for the Trojans last Monday. Not even a week after his hire, O’Connor announced the signing of five incoming freshmen to fill out the 2017 roster.
“We’re really excited about the class that we have signed,” O’Connor said. “I’m sure each of them is excited about taking the next step in their playing career and education, and we want to welcome them to the Troy family.”
The 2017 signing class consists of a duo of players from Texas to go along with players from Georgia, Florida and Michigan. KK Pawelczyk, Karina Valeriano, Maria Kaschalk, Ally Bayer and Karley Baker are the newest Trojans for the upcoming fall semester.
Among the signees are two defenders, two midfielders and a forward. KK Pawelczyk inked her commitment as the lone forward in the class, while Bayer and Baker signed as midfielders. Kaschalk and Valeriano add depth in the defender positions, depth that Kaschalk says is pushing the program to new heights.
“My class as a whole can bring a new, positive energy and an excitement for the game,” Kaschalk said in an interview with the Tropolitan. “We’re all pretty technical, and I think that that combined with some athleticism helps us bring a new level of play. More than anything, though, I think we’re all just excited to get down there and start playing with the team.”
O’Connor shares similar views with the signees, calling this class “fast, powerful and athletic.”
Many of the signees have impressive résumés, boasting district titles and all-state honors, but the newcomers also excelled off the field. Pawelczyk and Kaschalk were members of the National Honor Society, something Pawelczyk attributes to her time management skills, which she says will continue to help her in the classroom and on the field. Many of the signees show similar excitement to kick off the next chapter in their playing careers in Troy.
“I will work to earn playing time, do what is needed to fit my role and make memories as a Troy soccer player,” said Pawelczyk in an interview with the Trop. “I bring a high work rate, positive attitude and excitement to be playing soccer at the next level.”
Karley Baker also emphasized being able to play alongside the current Troy roster by saying she will work as hard as she can to earn playing time and to impact and connect with the team.
The impact these women will have on the field is yet to be seen, but they will have plenty of time to get acclimated to the new system in Troy before the Trojans’ first game of the 2017 season.