The numbers are thin on the ground this season when it comes to Aussie forwards in NCAA Division I, with just the four on rosters at this stage. However, all four have plenty to prove, with Shauni Reid and Sophie Bui looking to make up for lost time, and Ashley Jordan and Renee Pountney heading over for their first seasons. A former W-League player with Newcastle Jets, Pountney is one of the most well-credentialed Australians in college this year, and will be looking to make an immediate impact in the Big East.
Sophie BUI (Sophomore, Alabama State, Canberra)
A snag in the eligibility process cost Sophie Bui the first half of her freshman season, but the Canberran made up for lost time in the second half of the 2019 campaign. Bui managed to force herself into the starting lineup in four of her eight appearances, finishing with four shots on target out of a total of seven. Alabama State finished 4-6 in conference play last season, a rare losing record for the Hornets particularly given they won consecutive conference championships in 2016 and 2017. However, with a solid recruiting class that includes Bui’s fellow Australian, Grace Norbury, and iconic defender Mercedes Padilla returning from a season away from the team, regular service may be returning in Montgomery sooner rather than later, and Bui could be a large part of that renaissance.
Ashley JORDAN (Sophomore, San Francisco, Melbourne)
An unstoppable force at NPL Victoria Under 19 level for FC Bulleen, Ashley Jordan banged home 39 goals in 27 appearances in 2019 to help lead the Lions to third spot in the competition. Not only that, Jordan also forced her way into the first team for seven appearances, no mean feat considering FC Bulleen finished second on the ladder and reached the grand final. COVID-19 robbed the prolific striker of any chance of last hurrah before heading to college, but that will surely only make the sophomore even hungrier for goals. Having spent one year at the University of Melbourne, Jordan will only have three years of eligibility rather than the usual four, but she has already put that one year to good use. With an Australian University Games bronze medal and Golden Boot under her belt, the pacy attacker will be looking to make the same kind of impact on the college scene in the US.
Renee POUNTNEY (Sophomore, Creighton, Newcastle)
The first Australian to lace up the boots for Creighton since Anastasia McCleary in 2015, Renee Pountney heads to Omaha with nine games of W-League experience and a goal for Newcastle Jets under her belt. Generally deployed out wide for the Jets, Pountney has proven to be a goalscoring threat at NPL level with the Emerging Jets, banging home 9 goals in 19 appearances in 2019. Having already spent one year studying at the University of Newcastle, Pountney will start her college career as a sophomore, but the Bluejays will no doubt be happy to have a player of her calibre for three seasons. With Creighton having been on a steady rise from 4 wins in 2017 to 8 victories in 2019, Pountney comes in at a time when the Bluejays will be hoping to take that next step in the Big East and make a real impact on the title chase.
Shauni REID (Senior, Nicholls State, Perth)
Once part of an Australian triumvirate that also featured Tessa Calabria and Kristy Helmers, Shauni Reid now finds herself the lone Aussie at Nicholls State heading into her senior season. Yet to make an appearance for the Colonels, Reid will be hoping that whatever impact she makes this season can improve her team’s fortunes after a dismal 2019 campaign that saw Nicholls State finish without a win in conference play. With nine goals and six assists as well as a national championship at junior college level, Reid has certainly proven that she can strike given the opportunity, and with a new interim head coach recently appointed, hopefully the Western Australian can help turn things around for the Colonels.