cover photo from Colorado Springs Sports
Earlier in the year, Stan Anderson and Bill Reno released their top men’s collegiate goalkeepers of all-time. This month, Everybody Soccer presents the thirty greatest goalkeepers in NCAA history, specifically looking at the division one program. Rankings were based on collegiate accolades, overall ability, and team success during their tenure.
1. Janine Szpara (Colorado College, 85-88)
2. Erin McLeod (SMU / Penn State, 01-02 / 04-05)
3. Jen Renola (Notre Dame, 93-96)
4. Hope Solo (Washington, 99-02)
5. Nicole Barnhart (Stanford, 00-04)
6. Emily Shaw (Penn State, 98-01)
7. Heather Taggart (Wisconsin, 88-91)
8. Briana Scurry (Mass, 89-93)
9. Joan Schockow (Cortland State, 80-83)
10. Siri Mullinix (UNC, 95-98)
11. Alyssa Naeher (Penn State, 06-09)
12. Kristin Luckenbill (Dartmouth, 97-00)
13. Aubrey Bledsoe (Wake Forest, 10-13)
14. Marianne Johnson (UNC, 79-82)
15. Shelley Finger (UNC, 91-93)
16. Jaime Pagliarulo (George Mason, 95-98)
17. Ashlyn Harris (UNC, 06-09)
18. Kim Wyant (UCF, 82-85)
19. Tracy Noonan (UNC, 92-95)
20. Adrianna Franch (Oklahoma State, 09-12)
21. Mary Harvey (California, 83-86)
22. Valerie Henderson (UCLA, 04-07)
23. Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner (George Mason, 83-86)
24. LaKeysia Beene (Notre Dame, 96-99)
25. Saskia Webber (Rutgers, 89-92)
26. Skye Eddy Bruce (Mass / George Mason, 89-92 / 93)
27. Amy Griffin (UCF, 84-87)
28. Jillian Loyden (Villanova, 04-07)
29. Jenni Branam (UNC, 99-02)
30. Jen Mead (Providence / George Mason, 91-93 / 94)
The Early Years
The only four-time first-team All-American goalkeeper to emerge out of the NCAA system happened in the very first decade. Janine Szpara, who would later represent the USWNT and continue her pro career into her 30s, reached a level no other college goalkeeper has yet to match. But before Szpara suited up for Colorado College, two-time national champion Marianna Johnson was the first in a long line of successful UNC goalkeepers, six of which are featured on the list. UCF is another school with a decorated goalkeeping lineage. Their run in the ‘80s, highlighted by their 1982 runner-up finish, was largely backed by premier goalkeeping from Kim Wyant and Amy Griffin, née Allmann.
Even though Mary Harvey would later go on to help the US win their first World Cup and Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner’s performance against UNC would go on to impress USWNT head coach Anson Dorrance, it was ultimately Joan Schockow who left college with a mountain of awards. Schockow earned two first-teams as well as two third-team All-American recognitions during her four years, establishing herself as one of the first premier goalkeepers in women’s soccer.
Without a professional league until 2001, many goalkeepers scrambled to find homes after their senior year and Heather Taggart was no exception. After putting Wisconsin on the map, and wreaking havoc on the Badgers’ record books with 52 shutouts in her four years, she would cap off her final year with a first-team All-American award and a runner-up finish in the 1991 National Championship before turning to a life in the medical field.
Building Towards 1999
While Briana Scurry casts a large shadow on goalkeeping in the 90s, several athletes finished their career with a plethora of accolades. UMass presented a great example of overflowing talent as the university once held the two best goalkeepers in the country at the same time. Heading into her final year of eligibility, Sky Eddy Bruce would graduate from UMass and play her fifth year at George Mason, where she would promptly win All-American honors over senior UMass goalkeeper Briana Scurry. The two once teammates won first and second-team All-American, respectively, in 1993.
A bulk of goalkeeping starts for the national team also came out of the ‘90s. Scurry (175), Mullinix (45), Webber (23), Noonan (24), Beene (18), Luckenbill (14), Mead (6) and Pagliarulo (3) were all featured with the senior team after successful collegiate campaigns. And even though they didn’t receive a cap with the national team, Shelley Finger’s three national champions and Jen Renola’s NCAA 25th Anniversary Team recognition showcase their talent before the professional game gave collegiate players an avenue to continue playing after college.
New Century Ushers in New Talent
After facing an unbearable level of homophobia while at her first school, McLeod finished on a high note after transferring to Penn State, where she won first and second All-American honors (2005 and 2004, respectively) as well as a semifinal finish in her senior year. McLeod would go on to face Hope Solo and the USWNT many times over the next ten years, but McLeod wasn’t Solo’s first time competing against a Nittany Lion. Emily Shaw (née Oleksiuk) is a two-time All-American, including the 2000 honor where Solo was relegated to the second All-American team. Shaw would go on to earn two caps with the US national team before retiring after her 2002 season with the Carolina Courage.
Barnhart, Loyden, Harris, and Naeher all earned fame from the international careers, but Branam and Henderson combined for six final fours between the two of them. Branam, who would play as late as 2011 with Sky Blue, won two national championships with UNC while Henderson finished with 76 wins to her name during her tenure at UCLA as well as a spot with the 2006 U20 squad.
Modern Goalkeepers Take the Lead
As the decade comes to a close, two goalkeepers from the last ten years have stood out among the rest of the field. Oklahoma State alum Adrianna Franch has been featured with a national team camp numerous times, earning her first cap in 2018. Franch, a two-time first-team All-American, could be joined by Aubrey Bledsoe as the next US goalkeeper to earn her first cap with the national team. Bledsoe led Wake Forest to a 2011 semifinal finish, the school’s lone College Cup appearance, and was included in three different All-American squads during her career.