The 1998 class of seniors for the Florida soccer program (13 members) had the opportunity to build a program from infancy into a National Champion.
Selecting a Florida soccer Mount Rushmore is incredibly difficult. This, however, is not due to a lack of stardom.
Despite a couple obvious choices, there has been numerous stars to take the pitch at Pressly and Dizney Stadiums.
So let’s start simple:
Abby Wambach (1998-2001):
Abby Wambach’s name is all over the Florida record books. She is the UF career leader with 96 goals and 50 assists.
The nation’s top recruit surprised everyone when she opted to play for a program still in it’s foundation years. All she did was help lead the program to their first title in 1998 as a freshman, when she scored 19 goals and assisted on 12 more.
The four-time All-American tallied a career high 31 goals in 2001, the third highest total of any Gators player in one season. Wambach was named the 2000 and 2001 SEC Player of the Year and earned All-SEC accolades each year she attended UF. She was named to the UF Atheltic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Wambach was even more impressive on an international stage. She was named the US Soccer Athlete of the Year six times and recorded more goals than any American, man or woman, in international play.
Danielle Fotopoulos (1996-1998):
Danielle Fotopoulos opted to transfer to Florida prior to the 1996 season to be closer to her new husband who was coaching at USF. After putting up incredible numbers at Southern Methodist, she didn’t miss a beat and led Florida to the program’s first National Championship in 1998.
In two years at UF (she redshirted after tearing her ACL in 1997), Fotopoulos recorded 66 goals in only 48 contests. Her 118 goals and 284 career points still rank first among in NCAA history. In 1998, she earned the National Player of the Year and the Honda Award.
Despite playing only two years at UF, she ranks fourth in program history in goals and fifth in points. In 2008, Fotopoulos became the first Gators soccer player to be inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame.
Heather Mitts (1996-1999):
Heather Mitts played a massive role on the defensive end of the field as the Gators won their first title in 1998.
Mitts was an All-American in 1998 and 1999. She logged 7,547 minutes of game action in her 95 career appearances (94 starts).
A three-time Olympic gold medal winner, Mitts represented the United States in 137 caps.
Mitts retired in 2013 and was inducted into the UF Atheltic Hall of Fame the same year.
Savannah Jordan (2013-2016):
Savannah Jordan earned All-SEC honors each of her four years at Florida and was a four-time All-American. As a freshman, she recorded 22 goals and 47 point en route to being named the 2013 National Rookie of the Year.
In 94 appearances in the orange and blue, Jordan compiled 81 goals and 189 points. Both marks are good for second in program history.
On March 4, 2019 the Houston Dash announced that Jordan had retired from professional soccer.
Erin Baxter (1995-98)
- 3 time All-American
- SEC Player of the Year (1997)
- 26 goals, 71 points in 85 appearances
Melanie Booth (2003-2007)
- 3 time All-American defender
- Missed 2006 due to Canadian National Team commitment
*NOTE: I know choosing three players from the National Championship team isn’t preferred, but in this case it’s hard to argue the merits of those individuals. They excelled on the field and built the foundation of the Florida soccer program.
Inspired by Steve Russell’s radio show, Sports Scene, we have opted to determine the Mount Rushmore of each UF program that we cover. Let us know if you agree or if there are any omissions.
Also, we chose to omit coaches intentionally and will do a totally separate post on the top coaches at UF.