Mean Green Soccer Faces Tough Challenge At Home This Weekend

Oct. 21, 2016

North Texas vs. Charlotte
Friday, Oct. 21
7 p.m. l Denton, TX
Webstream l Live Stats l Game Notes
-Breast Cancer Awareness Game

North Texas vs. Old Dominion
Sunday, Oct. 23
1 p.m. l Denton, TX
Webstream l Live Stats l Game Notes

DENTON – North Texas head coach John Hedlund preaches “defense first” to his players. Despite the talented players in the offense, the Mean Green’s mindset is about holding the other team scoreless.

North Texas has relied on its defense for the last two wins, posting shutouts against UTEP and UAB. The defense is a mix of newcomers and returners. Juniors Chelsei Soto and Tori Phillips and sophomore Carissa Sanders are the familiar faces, while freshmen Dominique James and Miranda Schoening are wearing the Mean Green uniform for the first time.

James and Soto pace the outside back for the Mean Green and are often tasked with tracking down the quickest forwards from the other team. James grew up playing forward, but was inserted into the defense a few years ago when a high school teammate went down with an injury. Despite not having a ton of experience in the defense, James is more comfortable in the back.

“I feel more in control in the defense,” James said. “With the backline it is helpful having back up. I get kinda frantic at forward. I feel safe at defense.”

When the Mean Green has needed more energy up front, Hedlund has placed James up top. She has scored one goal and dished out two assists in her limited time this year at forward.

James has had injuries to both knees, but is still one of the fastest player on the Mean Green team. After suffering her second injury two years ago, James was determined to enter preseason camp with North Texas healthy and just as quick as she was before.

She relied on her sprint workouts that she learned running track, running the 10-minute drill, which consisted of running 100 yards and then jogging back to start again at the minute mark. It was a drill she hated, but she did it once a week to get ready for preseason.

“Track has definitely helped me in soccer,” James said. “I always had to work on my speed in track. So, in soccer, I was faster than most people because people in soccer usually work on skill rather than speed.”

James was a soccer and track standout at Keller Central High School in Fort Worth. She comes from a track family. Both her parents were track athletes in college, and her brother, Dustin, runs track at Mississippi State.

James was one of eight freshman on the 2016 Mean Green roster. She was the first freshman to break into the starting lineup, getting the start against Texas Southern and then scoring the game-winning goal. She has been in the starting lineup ever since.

The Mean Green defense will have a big challenge on Friday, Oct. 21 when North Texas faces Charlotte at home. Charlotte has the highest goal scoring average in Conference USA and is the only other team besides North Texas that has one loss in league play.



North Texas Mean Green