We Never Got Enough of Kelly Smith

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By Tim Nash

Way back in 1998, I had been writing about women’s college soccer for nine years and had seen many of the greatest players in the world.

The 1998 was the year the University of Florida won the national championship with senior Danielle Fotopoulos, a freshman named Abby Wambach and another future national team player in Heather Mitts. Angela Hucles was staring at the University of Virginia. Santa Clara featured Danielle Slaton, Aly Wagner and Mandy Clemens. There was a sophomore at Notre Dame named Anne Makinen, a tremendous midfielder from Finland, and a senior named Shannon Boxx. The University of North Carolina featured Cindy Parlow, Tiffany Roberts, Lorrie Fair and Staci Wilson, all U.S. national team players.

When I called Notre Dame coach Chris Petrucelli to ask him who, in his opinion, should be named the national player of the year, he mentioned none of them.

“The best player in the country is at Seton Hall,” he said.

Wait, what? Seton Hall? The Pirates finished the ’98 season 11-6-1.

“Kelly Smith,” Petrucelli said, “is phenomenal.” Continue reading