The Razorback women’s soccer team will include three players who have signed professional contracts in the upcoming spring season.
Senior forwards Parker Goins and Taylor Malham will be joining forces for Racing Louisville FC in 2022. They will be reuniting with former Razorback goalkeeper Katie Lund who was picked up by Louisville in the 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft ahead of the club’s inaugural season. Goins was selected with the 21st pick of the National Women’s Soccer League draft and Malham was signed as an undrafted free agent shortly after the event concluded. Senior defender Haley VanFossen signed on with the Chicago Red Stars as a discovery player.
“I was watching it in my living room with my family,” Goins said. “I was so happy and kind of shocked.”
Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said none of the players registered for the draft and made it clear to teams that they intended to return to Fayetteville to play out their last collegiate seasons. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NWSL ruled that players did not have to register for the draft in order to be selected or signed.
“(Coach Hale) called me and said it was official that Louisville got my rights and I was so excited,” Malham said.
Goins and Malham will now have been teammates all the way from middle school club soccer to the professional ranks.
“We played together on our very first soccer team and have literally played on every team since together,” Malham said.
All three of the Razorback signees hail from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The trio played for Union High School and Tulsa Soccer Club before committing to the Hogs.
VanFossen relishes the chance to face her current college teammates in the pros next year.
“It’s definitely going to be interesting getting to play against them hopefully at some point because I’ve never played against them in my life,” VanFossen said.
Hale was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2020. He expressed his appreciation for his players’ dedication to restoring glory to a previously substandard program.
“They came (to Arkansas) when it wasn’t necessarily cool and helped us build something and now they’re being rewarded for their hard work,” Hale said.
Malham, Goins and VanFossen singled out coach Hale’s motivation and work ethic for the program’s quick turnaround throughout his tenure.
“He’s always showed us that getting out of your comfort zone is what makes you grow,” Malham said. “I think learning that and applying that not only to soccer but other things in my life...will really take my game and my life to the next level.”
Goins’ biggest takeaway from her time in Arkansas will be the team’s success.
“We didn’t start off as the best, but we’re back-to-back SEC champions which is super cool,” Goins said.
VanFossen said she feels confident in the direction of the team under Hale, even with the Oklahoma trio leaving next year.
“Obviously he’s pretty good at recruiting if he got all three of us to come to the same place and beat out all the other in-state coaches,” VanFossen said. “I don’t know what he does...puts a spell on people but it works and he gets talented people here.”
Hog fans will have an opportunity to see the future pros in action soon. The Razorbacks will play six matches starting in February as part of an abbreviated spring season before the NCAA Tournament begins in April.
“I think this team has a chance to do something really good,” Hale said.