Asom ’19, part of a strong returning cast, sees a special season ahead

Mimi Asom ’19, right, and the Tigers opened the season 4–0.
Beverly Schaefer

Asom ’19, part of a strong returning cast, sees a special season ahead

Mimi Asom ’19 knows all about the Princeton women’s soccer team’s historic run to the NCAA College Cup Final Four in 2004.

“I hear ‘Back in ’04 ... ,’” Asom said. “I’m just waiting until it’s ‘Back in ’16 ... .’ This is the year to repeat greatness.”

Asom is one of 10 starters back from a Tigers team that went 14–4–1 and won the Ivy League championship in 2015.

“Now we go from the hunter to the hunted,” said second-year head coach Sean Driscoll. “There are going to be people loving the idea of knocking us off, and rightfully so. I think we need to embrace that challenge and accept it.”

Asom tallied 12 goals and five assists in her debut season and was the unanimous Ivy League Rookie of the Year selection. The goals tied Linda DeBoer ’86’s Princeton freshman record.

“I intend and hope I can be better than last year,” Asom said. “I worked hard this summer to get myself fitter so I could play more minutes and be more impactful for a longer amount of time.”

Seven teammates logged more playing time than Asom last year, but she proved efficient and had a higher shooting percentage than the Tigers’ other top scorers. Asom was Princeton’s second-leading scorer, behind Tyler Lussi ’17, and she scored her final two goals in a 4–2 win over Boston College in the NCAA first round.

Lussi has continued her prolific pace this year, scoring five goals in the first four games (all Princeton wins) and passing Esmeralda Negron ’05 to become the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer, with 48 goals.

Asom also picked up where she left off, with a goal in Princeton’s 3–1 win over Fordham Aug. 26 and the game-winner in a 1–0 win over Villanova two nights later.

“Ty’s doing amazing things, and I don’t want to be average next to her,” Asom said. “Ty really pushed me to work harder and do better.”

A year ago, Princeton was thrilled just to add Asom to its roster. As a junior at Hockaday School in Dallas, Asom verbally committed to Stanford. But on Signing Day, the elusive forward who routinely escapes defenders couldn’t stay away from the Tigers.

“I could see my four years here,” she explained. “I could see it in my head, and I could see myself loving every minute of it and being happy.”

Driscoll, who succeeded coach Julie Shackford midway through Asom’s senior year of high school, was overjoyed by the late pickup. Playing for the Dallas Sting in the Elite Clubs National League, a network of club teams for top high school players, Asom had led the league in scoring thanks to a rare combination of physical, back-to-the-goal play and a sprinter’s speed (she was part of a state-champion 4-by-100-meter relay team).

Asom’s play as a freshman was recognized with an invitation to the under-20 national team’s training camp last spring. She even considered withdrawing for a year to play in the U-20 World Cup this November.

“Hopefully I’ll be back in with the national team at some point in my soccer career,” she said.

For now, Asom is focused on bolstering the Tigers. With better decision making developed last year, more fitness, and a commitment to defend better, she is primed for a big season.

“If there was ever a year to do something special,” Asom said, “I would say this is it.”