Two years ago, the Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s soccer program hit rock bottom with a record of 2-13-2. They were at a crossroads, having to replace their head coach, Janet Cassidy, and they only had 25 players on their roster.
During the offseason, the team found a replacement coach and began a major turn-around. CSU-Pueblo hired Paul Regrutto to take over the team, and in his first season with the ThunderWolves, there was immediate improvement. The 2013 season saw the ThunderWolves win five more games than the previous year.
Now, fast-forward to August 2014, and unlike previous seasons where there were only 25 players, the team entered the season with 34 players on the roster. Increasing the competition and depth on the roster created more excitement surrounding the program going into year two of Regrutto running the show.
Talking about second year head coach Paul Regrutto last month, CSU-Pueblo athletic director Joe Folda praised him and said, “Paul has done a great job so far and has the team going in the right direction.”
Even with losses to New Mexico Highlands and Fort Lewis, through 13 games the ThunderWolves are 5-6-2 and 3-3-1 on the road this season; in the previous three seasons they won only three road games combined. They still have an opportunity to add to that mark with two road games at Colorado Mines and UCCS.
Prior to this year’s success, Folda had high expectations for the program.
He said, “Even though they (women’s team) play in the RMAC, one of the toughest soccer conferences in the country, I think they should finish around the top four in the conference (each year).” This would likely mean finishing ranked in the top 25.
Comparing the women’s and men’s soccer programs, funding varies even though they are the same sport. The men’s program is funded less than the women’s program. With the difference in funding, Folda has higher expectations for the women’s program.
While people are noticing the improvement in play, another improvement is the facility. It was announced last year that the soccer field would be replaced with a brand new 450 seat grandstand soccer complex that would also host home lacrosse games. The complex isn’t finished yet, but the artificial-turf was placed this past summer and it is already hosting home games.
Once the new complex is completed, it’s bound to help recruitment, but for Regrutto, it’s already helped.
“We’re really excited about it. Some of the girls have already come here because of the fact that they already know the facility is going to be here,” he said.
As for the program going forward, Regrutto believes there’s a lot of potential at CSU-Pueblo. With the growth in the program, he believes people in Colorado, specifically in the northern part of the state, are starting to notice Pueblo, and it’s going to make recruiting easier.