TCU's move to the Big 12 Conference became official July 1, but tonight it becomes real.
TCU women's soccer becomes the school's first team to compete as a member of the Big 12 with a season-opening match at New Mexico tonight.
The Lobos, former Mountain West rivals for the Horned Frogs, are 7-3-2 against TCU. The Frogs last won at New Mexico in 2007.
First-year TCU coach Eric Bell hopes to solidify his starters over 10 nonconference games before Big 12 play begins Sept. 28. The Frogs' home opener is Aug. 24 against Montana.
TCU has 12 newcomers on its 22-woman roster, including 11 freshmen. Freshmen Sarah Schweiss and Carly Bowen and junior Brittany Slyman are expected to fill the scoring void left by Jordan Calhoun.
Vittoria Arnold, who transferred from Arizona State, will likely start at goalkeeper.
Bell gave his outlook for the Frogs' 2012 season:
Are you still assessing your roster as the season begins? A little bit. We have a lot of younger players on the team now, so seeing where we're at against a different team will be encouraging. But I think I have a pretty good grasp of where we're at.
How many freshmen will start? Probably five, so that's a lot. That's half the team. It will be interesting to see how they respond being shoved into duty maybe earlier than they may have expected. Some may have anticipated they'd come in and have an immediate impact on the team.
How beneficial is having almost a month and a half (and 10 nonconference games) before Big 12 competition begins? It's very important for us to figure out what we've got and where we're at and sort out how we want to play going into the Big 12 Conference. Hopefully we'll be ready to compete against those teams.
What do you need to be prepared for against the Lobos tonight? First and foremost you want to be organized defensively and not give them a whole lot of opportunities. And then being able to create scoring opportunities and maximizing those opportunities.
Crowds have been great at Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium in the past. How important is that for TCU? From what I've heard the people from this community and this campus really come out to support the team. I'm looking forward to seeing that. We'll probably need that as the season goes on and have that home-field advantage. Hopefully we'll see that next Friday night.