New Maryland women’s soccer coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer hasn’t been shy about her ambitions since joining the Terps. The former Rutgers associate head coach wants to immediately compete with a Maryland team mired in the second longest winless streak in the conference’s history.
“We want to compete for championships right away,” Nemzer told The Diamondback in March. “Somebody tried to use the word ‘rebuild’ with me, and I got very upset because rebuilding is an excuse to be average.”
Nemzer turned over a squad that’s struggled for success since qualifying for its first Big Ten tournament in 2019. Since she became coach on Dec. 10, 2021, Nemzer brought in 19 new players for her inaugural season. Only 11 players from last year’s roster remain on the team.
After helping Rutgers to a semifinal appearance in last year’s NCAA tournament, Nemzer has no intention of staying rooted to the bottom of the Big Ten table with the Terps.
Of the 19 new additions, 10 are transfers, with Nemzer focusing on recruiting players who can make an instant impact all over the pitch. She’s looking forward to how each player can contribute to a new-look Maryland team.
“We’re filling spots with people that we know that compete right away, that can have an impact at a Power 5 school,” Nemzer said. “They’re all in, so we’re ecstatic to develop them and to make them into a team.”
Stahl, the first of two attackers from West Virginia, should provide a dynamic presence up top for the Terps. She scored 16 goals and provided six assists in 51 appearances over three seasons with the Mountaineers.
The senior possesses something the Terps lack: experience at the highest level. Stahl scored all three goals during West Virginia’s run to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2019 and earned United Soccer Coaches All-Midwest Region second team honors in 2021.
“[She] has proven that she can score goals multiple ways,” Nemzer said. “She’s good in the air, she can post up, she can get in behind, she does a little bit of everything. So, for us, we were very excited to be able to bring her in.”
After leading UTEP in assists in each of her last two seasons, Fisher will bring a needed creativity to Maryland. She scored once and notched seven assists in her four seasons with the Miners.
Nemzer said the forward could also appear as an attacking midfielder. Her ability to play and thrive in multiple positions made the graduate student an appealing option.
“Her versatility excites us,” Nemzer said. “She loves to drive at people, can see players, can create for others but can also create for herself as well.”
The two new transfers along with multiple incoming freshmen should power an improved offense Nemzer believes can test opposing defenses in many different ways.
“What I like about every one of the players that is coming in as a forward is that they’re all very, very different. It’s not a one trick pony up there,” Nemzer said. “I feel like we have multiple options based on what we see in the game.”
Lynch committed to West Virginia during the 2016 season in which it was ranked No. 1 in the nation for almost the entire latter half of the season. The midfielder returns to her native Maryland after three seasons with the Mountaineers and immediately becomes a presence in the center of the pitch.
In high school, she led Sparrows Point to three-straight Maryland 1A state championships and was named Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year twice. She made 51 appearances for West Virginia, scoring three times and assisting once.
“[She] is a stud, and I see her coming in and competing right away as well,” Nemzer said. “Once again, a true leader, blue collar work ethic that just has an engine.”
Urban, who’s also listed as a defender, should settle in quickly at Maryland due to her familiarity with Nemzer as a coach.
Nemzer coached the junior at Players Development Academy during her youth club career. Urban won an ECNL title with PDA in 2019 and was named a high school All-American.
“To be able to bring [Urban] in who knows my terminology, who knows the expectations and the standards of what I want, to me that was a no brainer,” Nemzer said.
Urban joined the Terps from Florida after two years with the Gators, where she made 37 appearances.
Vinas transferred to Maryland after three seasons and 25 appearances at Oregon.
She and fellow transfer Sydney Hopkins played club soccer together at Real So Cal, and Nemzer said Hopkins helped convince Vinas to join the Terps. The new coach is excited to see what the California native can bring in the midfield.
“She is a no-nonsense kind of player,” Nemzer said. “[She] is very good technically and covers a lot of ground but isn’t afraid to get stuck in a 50/50 and set the tone.”
If returning midfielders Catherine DeRosa and Mia Isaac continue to improve and the new transfers settle in quickly, the Terps could boast a solid unit in the middle of the pitch after looking dysfunctional at times last season.
One of four transfer defenders joining the Terps, Waterman will help bolster a Maryland backline that returns Malikae Dayes, Olivia Hicks and Zora Jackson.
Waterman was named to the NEC first team three times in four seasons at Fairleigh Dickinson and helped the Knights appear in two conference tournament finals. The defender will add needed experience at center back where she could pair up with Dayes.
The Maryland native returned to her home state as a graduate student after playing high school soccer at Eastern Tech and club soccer with Baltimore Union SC.
Rutgers played Fairleigh Dickinson during Nemzer’s tenure at the Big Ten school, and Waterman’s performances in those matches influenced Nemzer to bring her to the Terps.
“I’ve watched Chris Waterman play over the last four years now … She was the one that we always said, ‘Hey, let’s not go in her area,’” Nemzer said. “So when she came on the transfer portal, that was a no brainer. Her athleticism, for us, was something that we were very excited about.”
Schafer transferred to Maryland after four years and 62 appearances with Rhode Island. An experienced defender, she will likely operate as a fullback for the Terps but can play across the back line.
The former Rams team captain chose the Terps despite having a variety of schools to pick from, Nemzer said.
“I saw her film, and I was very excited,” Nemzer said. “Her ability to drive at players, her ability for one v[ersus] one defending. [It] doesn’t matter who she’s playing against, the bigger the game I feel like that the bigger play she had.”
After three years and 40 appearances at San Diego, Hopkins transferred across the country to join the Terps.
The defender could operate as a fullback but her versatility will allow her to slot in across the pitch, according to Nemzer.
“She has the technical skill set,” Nemzer said. “She’s athletically very gifted where she can get up and down the flank [and] feels very comfortable serving balls in. I think she could fit in, whether it’s the back line or anywhere in the wide spaces as well.”
Johnson joined Maryland after just one year at UNC Wilmington, in which she was named to the CAA third team and rookie team.
She played multiple sports at The Madeira School in high school and advanced to the ECNL Champions League national playoffs three times while playing club soccer with McLean.
The Bethesda native might not start right away, but her addition as a younger defender with college experience excites Nemzer. She notched 14 appearances and eight starts with the Seahawks last season.
“Her ball possession, her ability to see the game playing out of the back and just [her ability as] a pure ball winner added a lot of depth and excitement for us,” Nemzer said.
Nemzer’s role at Rutgers focused largely on the team’s defense, and the Terps’ four transfers show that the back line will be a focal point during her inaugural season.
A transfer from Florida Atlantic, Cohen joined Madeline Smith and Krista Varrichione as an option in net.
Cohen earned multiple caps for Israel’s international team and helped ASA Tel Aviv to the domestic league title and Champions League qualification in 2019. She played 24 games for the Owls over two seasons and kept seven clean sheets, making 87 saves in that time.
Despite recently turning 23 years old, Cohen still maintains three years of eligibility, according to a Maryland news release. The Israeli international will likely compete for the starting spot with Smith, who split time last year with the departing Liz Brucia. Smith played in nine games last season during her first season with the Terps, making 35 saves.
“Amit’s national team experience, I think that it’s hard to replicate that,” Nemzer said. “So that’s what got the coaching staff very excited, is her professionalism in that spot and her demeanor to continue to get better.”