Roth won’t return to Gophers

Anthony Maggio

Rachael Roth, Minnesota’s soccer team’s offensive leader and Second Team All-Big Ten selection, has quit the team and will forgo her senior season.

According to Roth, the decision to leave was made in a meeting between her, athletics director Joel Maturi and the coaching staff March 26.

Roth would not say specifically why she left.

“All I can say is there was a conflict of values,” Roth said.

Asked if she could say where the conflict arose, Roth said, “I’d love to tell you but I can’t.”

Maturi was able to give a clearer picture as to why Roth left before her senior campaign.

“I really believe in Rachael’s case it wasn’t the fun that it used to be,” Maturi said. “Who knows what those reasons are? It could be a lot of things. It was a very challenging and tough decision for her.

“I have great admiration for her and she came to the conclusion that she couldn’t play the game with the same energy and enthusiasm and joy that she used to play it in and under the situation we have.”

Roth is the 17th player to leave the program in head coach Barbara Wickstrand’s tenure. Reached on Tuesday, both Wickstrand and assistant coach Chris Higgins declined to comment on Roth’s departure.

The last two seasons Roth has been the Gophers premier offensive weapon. In her sophomore year, Roth scored seven of the team’s nine goals.

As a junior, Roth led the team in points (26), goals (11), assists (4), shots (64), shots on goal (37) and game-winning goals (4). She finished the 2002 season tied for third in goals and sixth in points in the Big Ten.

While Roth couldn’t specify exactly when she first thought about leaving the team, she said, “It wasn’t a rash decision. It was well thought out.”

According to her teammate Amanda McMahon, Roth played in an indoor tournament March 8, but didn’t show up at practice the next week.

“I feel for my teammates,” Roth said. “I love my teammates, I feel bad leaving them. But I think this is best for me and my teammates.”

Maturi said other athletes approached him with concerns about the soccer program in the fall, but he has not spoken with any soccer players recently.

“I would be dishonest if I didn’t say there aren’t expressed concerns over the lack of winning the soccer team has done in recent years and obviously the concern of former student athletes that have left,” Maturi said.

Being in his first year at Minnesota, Maturi said he couldn’t speculate if Roth’s situation was similar to that of any other former soccer player that left the team. He did say he plans on staying on top of the situation.

“I think that its my responsibility as the athletics director if there’s a common thread and a situation there that needs to be addressed,” Maturi said, “I can assure you that I would do so.”

Anthony Maggio welcomes comments at [email protected]