W-League players await chance with pro league
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:23
by Gerald Barnhart
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
TAMPA, FL – With the Women’s Professional Soccer Draft coming up
Friday, January 16 at the NSCAA Convention in St. Louis, more current
and former W-League players will be looking on in hopes of seeing their
names called in the new league’s second and final draft. Here is a
quick breakdown of some of the top W-League prospects likely to be
selected by the seven teams in the 10-round draft.
W-League players represented 24 of the 28 picks made on October 6 in
WPS’s General Draft, which consisted of four rounds of selections
between the seven WPS clubs. Moreover, 18 of those 24 selections
competed as recently as the 2008 W-League season. The 24 W-League
players selected in the General Draft joined 10 that were selected in
the WPS International Rights Draft September 24 and the 13 alumni that
were originally assigned September 16 as part of the US Women’s
National Team allocations.
Historically, the same
incorporation of W-League alumni occurred with the launch of the
Women’s United Soccer Association in 2001. A total of 92 current and
former W-League players were allocated or drafted by the WUSA leading
up to the first of its three seasons.
One of the primary
factors in the selection of players will no doubt be experience given
the quality of players already lined up to play in the league as well
as by the huge jump between the levels of play in collegiate soccer and
what will be on the pitch in WPS. Numerous WPS coaches have already
gone on the record about the challenges ahead for the relatively
inexperienced college seniors, which will likely lead to a high
percentage of post-graduate W-League players who have been playing
against better competition the past few years being taken Friday.
primary determining factor will be nationality. With limits on the
number of foreign players per team, a number of star Canadian W-League
players will likely find it more difficult to be selected and may go in
the later rounds as teams try to fill positions, or will have to work
their way onto a squad via training camps in the spring. However, if
the behind-the-scenes negotiations with the previously selected
internationals are not going smoothly, a run on players from the top
teams like the Vancouver Whitecaps, Ottawa Fury and Toronto Lynx may be
Who’s on the Board?
quick look at current rosters (taking into account actual and likely
international signings only at this time), there are quite a few teams
in need of defense – a position where experience is most crucial. Aside
from the top few attacking standouts coming off the board early, look
for a run on defensive-oriented players in the first two, possibly
four, rounds of the draft with Chicago and Sky Blue also taking a stab
at goalkeeper early on. With a deep pool of talented midfielders
already allocated from the US squad and drafted in October, the only
clubs who may need to flush out the offensive end of things early are
Boston and Washington.
– One of the few recently active US Women’s National Team players still
available, the former W-League netminder (Delaware 1998) will probably
go second overall to Chicago, who currently only have an unsigned
foreign international slated for the position. With few premium
goalkeepers, the Red Stars can’t afford to pass this opportunity up.
– The two-year Sky Blue netminder has been one of the top goalkeepers
in the W-League, facing extremely tough opposition in the Eastern
Conference on a regular basis and still posting a GAA of 0.72. With Sky
Blue taking the young Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Cori Alexander in the
final round of the initial draft and no other teams in pressing need
for a keeper, she may be still available in the second or third round
as a security pick-up.
Kati Jo Spisak – The
two-year Washington Freedom goalkeeper could find herself staying put.
The club already took Canadian star Erin McLeod (Vancouver Whitecaps)
in the international draft, but with back-to-back picks at the end of
Round One and beginning of the second, she may be taken to shore up the
position for the Freedom.
Shannon Aitken –
Despite playing the past three years with the struggling Bradenton
Athletics, Aitken regularly garnered votes as one of the top keepers in
the conference and could find herself drafted as a back-up in the late
Meghann Burke – A standout that
helped lead the Memphis Mercury to the W-2 Final in 2001, Burke posted
a GAA average of 1.03 in her two seasons with the club and a third with
the Ashville Splash in 2004. She returned to the W-League in 2008 with
the Boston Renegades and was right on form with an average of 0.78 and
six shutouts in her 14 games. A St. Louis University grad, she may go
late to Athletica or stay in Boston if Ireland’s Emma Byrne does not
sign with the Breakers.
– One of the top defenders over the years in the W-League, it was
surprising she was not among the players taken in the first draft in
October. Look for the 2003 Defender of the Year, who spent the past two
years with Sky Blue and 1998-2004 with the Chicago Cobras, to go in the
Sasha Andrews – Another former
W-League Defender of the Year in the mix, the longtime Vancouver
Whitecap (2003-06) played last season with the Pali Blues, winning a
third W-League title. Needing players on defense, look for Blues coach
and LA Sol General Manager Charlie Naimo to take the Canadian
international with the fourth pick in the First Round.
– Perhaps a bit off the radar in some circles, the American Portuguese
international has been picking up a lot of experience playing for the
Portuguese National Team. She has spent the past two seasons with Sky
Blue and was a member of the 2004 New Jersey Wildcats, giving her
numerous possible clubs in WPS. With St Louis in need of defenders and
with a Brazilian head coach (Brazilians speak Portuguese), she may find
herself going sixth in the First Round or ninth in the Second, making
her a excellent cog in a club that will likely be heavily Brazilian
influenced. She could also go later to Los Angeles with Naimo having
coached her for the Wildcats and Sky Blue (2007) or stay in New Jersey.
Carrie Dew – One of two senior First Team
All-Americans, the young Notre Dame defender could be in high demand.
She was with the Pali Blues in 2008, but had a tough time cracking a
lineup that included Andrews and four players already assigned to WPS
clubs via allocation or draft in the form of Kendall Fletcher, Amy
LePeilbet, Jill Oakes and Kandace Wilson. That’s an excellent group
she’s been learning from at practice, making her an ideal selection as
a prospect. The California-native could go as early as third overall if
the Bay Area’s FC Gold Pride decide to take the California homegrown
Nikki Krzysik – A perfect
example of the USL pyramid, the New Jersey product began her career
playing Super Y-League and W-League for the New Jersey Lady Stallions,
pulling double duty as she made her ascent up the ranks. Her success
led to W-League U19 Player of the Year honors in 2004 and
All-Conference honors in 2007. She went on to play for the New York
Magic the following year and Sky Blue (under Naimo) in 2007. She
remained close to school (Virginia) in 2008 as a member of the Richmond
Kickers Destiny, where she displayed some range and saw time at
midfield. A First-Team All-American and youth international, she’ll
likely go in the first two rounds, potentially to Washington, who has
back-to-back seventh and eighth overall selections, or to Naimo’s Sol.
– A long-time Vancouver Whitecap since the age of 17, she has helped
guide the team to two championships while playing in the W-League and
has been a part of the youth and senior Canadian National Team program
since the age of 16. Naimo may take a chance on her given Zurrer’s
experience playing with Canadian keeper and Sol selection Karina
LeBlanc, a former W-League player under Naimo for the Wildcats.
– A newcomer to the W-League in 2008 for the expansion Ventura County
Fusion, Moore impressed despite just playing five matches. A Third-Team
All-American, she could find herself going between rounds 2-4.
– A former star Australian international with an outstanding career in
the W-League and a stint in the former WUSA, she may be one of the few
foreign players that will undoubtedly be taken in the draft. She helped
guide the Washington Freedom to the 2007 title and is versatile for
numerous positions on the field. She began her W-League career in 2001
with the Hampton Roads Piranhas, earning the Rookie of the Year honor.
She was among the league leaders in scoring in 2002 before helping
guide the Freedom to the WUSA title in 2003.
– A highly touted player that was a contender for All-Conference
selection, the four-year W-League player was a member of the Northern
Virginia Majestics in 2008 after helping the Washington Freedom capture
the W-League title in 2007. She began her career with the New Jersey
Wildcats in 2004 and won her first W-League championship with them in
2005 under Naimo, making her a familiar choice for the Freedom and Sol.
Rebecca Moros – A two-year player with the
Washington Freedom, Moros has been a key factor in the club’s success,
finishing the 2007 championship campaign with seven goals in the
regular season. She began her W-League career in 2005 with the New
Jersey Wildcats, giving her two W-League titles to her credit.
– A former teammate of Krzysik with the Lady Stallions (2002-04),
Averbuch debuted in the W-League at the age of 14. Since then her
career has seen her become a staple of the US youth national team
programs and a star at the University of North Carolina where she was
recently named a Second-Team All-American.
– A veteran of the W-League since 2001, Sitch brings plenty of
experience having played for the Chicago Cobras (2001-04), Hampton
Roads Piranhas (2005), Chicago Gaels (2007) and FC Indiana Lionesses
(2008). She’s reached the semifinals four times in her career,
finishing runners-up in 2003 and 2008. Listed as a defender for the WPS
combine, Sitch’s experience is primarily midfield and has excellent
attacking numbers for her W-League career. Her versatility though may
put her in high demand.
Kara Kabellis – A
player in the W-League since 2001, Kabellis brings a lot of experience
with her. She most recently played in 2008 with Pali Blues, but had
stints with the Chicago Gaels (2005, 07), San Diego Gauchos (2006-07),
Boston Renegades (2005) and Windy City Bluez (2001-04).
– Although she saw limited action with Sky Blue in 2008, the former
Swedish youth international brings a lot of experience given her career
for Sweden and time spent in the competitive Swedish league. A
Third-Team All American selection out of Oklahoma State, she may have
put herself on the radar, but may be a tough choice given her foreign
Jen Buczkowski – A veteran of the
league dating back to 2004 with the Cobras, the 2008 All-Conference
selection has been a fixture in Chicago soccer, playing for the Gaels
since their inception in 2005. She has been a leader for the club and
may provide depth for a WPS team.
– The recent Rutgers grad has been a regular in New Jersey W-League
soccer having played in the league since 2003 when she debuted with two
seasons with the Lady Stallions. She moved on to the Wildcats and a
W-League title in 2005. After skipping the 2006 campaign she spent the
past two years with Sky Blue, arguably having her breakout season in
Stacy Bishop – An All-Conference
selection in her fourth W-League season this past year for expansion
Tampa Bay, Bishop has been an attacking threat from midfield previously
for Sky Blue (2007) and the Central Florida Krush (2005-06), whom she
helped lead to the 2005 semifinals.
– Although she’s been out of the W-League since 2006, the former New
Jersey Wildcat (2006) and Boston Renegade (2001-02, 04) brings a lot of
experience with her. She helped guide the Renegades to back-to-back
championships in her first two years in the league.
– Quietly tucked away from national spotlight in Vancouver with the
Whitecaps, the former US international’s 2008 campaign was subdued by a
team bereft of numerous Canadian senior and youth internationals to
camps and tournaments. She still garnered All-Conference honors for a
third straight season after earning All-League accolades in 2007. She
may be at the end of her career, but she’s a proven scorer and could be
a great addition after the First Round.
– A new star on the rise out of the Freedom program, she has found
great success with Washington the past two years, earning
All-Conference honors after finishing second in the league in scoring
in 2007 en route to the W-League championship. Her numbers dipped a bit
in 2008, but she may be a future star that’s available in the second or
Sarah Steinmann – The 2008
scoring champion and W-League Most Valuable Player was surprisingly
left undrafted in October, but will undoubtedly find herself selected
Friday. Her numbers tripled in her fourth season with the Atlanta
Silverbacks. She also played for the Charlotte Lady Eagles from
Lyndsey Patterson – Perhaps one of
the key factors to Steinmann’s jump in numbers, Patterson joined the
Silverbacks in 2008 after two seasons with the Seattle Sounders. Listed
at forward for the WPS combine, she played primarily at midfield for
Atlanta after two years as a striker in Seattle, showing versatility
that could help her get selected.
– Listed at forward for the WPS combine, Brown brings versatility to
the table having played primarily at midfielder for Sky Blue in 2008
and for the Windy City Bluez from 2001-04. But her 2005 season with the
Boston Renegades showed some capabilities for her as a striker,
finishing the campaign third in points and second in goals to earn
Michele O’Brien – A
member of the W-League since 2004, O’Brien brings a wealth of varied
experience with her beyond W-League competition that also includes
midfield. The American has been a member of the Republic of Ireland
National Team since 2003 and has also had stints in the English and
Swedish leagues in the past two years. She began her W-League career
with the Long Island Lady Riders in 2004-05, was a member of the Rough
Riders in 2007 and played for Sky Blue in 2008.
Krista Bobo (Davey)
– A longtime veteran of the W-League, she began her career with a
W-League championship as a member of the 2000 Chicago Cobras. She would
go on to play in the WUSA in 2002-03 before returning to the Cobras in
2004. She moved to Richmond in 2005 and joined Atlanta in 2006. Her
minimal numbers statistically may force her to go in the later rounds
and potentially convert into a midfielder to find a permanent spot on a
Kelly Schmedes – In her two years with
the Charlotte Lady Eagles, she has been among the leading scorers in
the league, finishing third in points and tied for second in goals for
2008. Although her efforts were not quite enough to garner
All-Conference honors at the position in a very talent-laden
conference, she may be a good late round pick-up for depth.
– The FC Indiana Lionesses striker helped guide the club to the final
in their first season in the W-League this season, finishing among the
league leaders in points.
With the Major League Soccer draft
garnering nearly all of the media attention heading into the NSCAA
convention, here is at least one attempt at how the first two rounds of
the WPS draft could play out on Friday.
WPS Mock-Draft Projection
Amy Rodriguez, F
Chicago Red Stars
Briana Scurry, G
FC Gold Pride
Carrie Dew, D
Sky Blue FC
Fanta Cooper, D
Los Angeles Sol
Sasha Andrews, D
St Louis Athletica
Kerri Hanks, F
Kele Golebiowski, M
Ali Andrzejewski, F
St Louis Athletica
Kim Brandao, D
Los Angeles Sol
Nikki Krzysik, D
Sky Blue FC
Jillian Loyden, G
FC Gold Pride
Tiffeny Milbrett, F
Chicago Red Stars
Erin Hardy, D
Christina DiMartino, M
Washington Freedom agree to terms with three drafted players
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:22
9 Jan, 2009
Washington Freedom has agreed to terms with Lori Lindsey, Becky
Sauerbrunn and Emily Janss, three of its picks from the Women’s
Professional Soccer draft in October.
They are the first three domestic players to reach agreements with a WPS club.
“We are thrilled to have Lori, Emily, and Becky on the Freedom,”
President and General Manager Joe Quinn said. “All three players have
been a member of the Freedom family for some time – Lori since the WUSA
days – and I can't wait to see them on the field.”
Sauerbrunn, the third overall pick in the October draft, has two caps
with the U.S. Women’s National Team, was the ACC Defensive Player of
the Year in 2007 and is the only three-time NSCAA All-American in
Virginia history. The 2008 W-League season was her first with the
“I’m extremely excited to start playing with the Washington Freedom,”
said Sauerbrunn. “I’m very honored to become a member of the Washington
Freedom and to start playing with the other Freedom players.”
Lindsey, the Freedom’s third round pick, has been with the Freedom
since being traded from San Diego to Washington before the 2003 WUSA
season. Lindsey was part of the Freedom’s 2003 WUSA and 2007 W-League
championship teams and is one of only two players in ACC history to be
named the ACC Player of the Year in back-to-back years (2000 and 2001),
with Mia Hamm being the other.
“Women’s soccer is finally coming back,” said Lindsey. “We have been
training and waiting for this day and now it is finally here. It gives
us a second chance at really making this work. I’m excited to be a part
of it and excited to continue to be a part of the Freedom.”
Janss, the Freedom’s fourth round pick, is also a WUSA veteran having
played with the New York Power from 2001-2003. Janss joined the Freedom
in 2004 and was a part of the 2007 W-League championship team. The
Maryland graduate was named to the All ACC First Team and All ACC
Tournament Team in 1999.
“This is happening, this is real. It’s an exciting time. All of us have
been doing so many things for so long but have always dedicated and put
so much time and effort into growing the sport. It’s an ongoing quest
for women’s soccer in the country to progress and grow and its one step
Naimo Is Coach of the Year
Thursday, 08 January 2009 15:05
January 06, 2009
, Sports Editor
hard to imagine a first-year coach, in any sport and at any level,
having a more successful season than the one Charlie Naimo enjoyed as
pilot of the Pali Blues Soccer Club. That's why he's the winner of this
year's Palisadian-Post Coach of the Year Award.
From the moment he arrived in Pacific Palisades, Naimo took charge of
every aspect of the team's development, from public relations to
recruitment to scheduling to team practice and, most importantly, to
coaching on game day. Naimo pieced together a talented group of
players, yes, but he also molded his squad into a cohesive unit capable
of matching any opponents' style.
A prime example of Naimo's innate ability to know what buttons to push
and when was evident in his substitution patterns during the latter
stages of the W-League championship game. The Blues trailed FC Indiana,
1-0, with less than 10 minutes left but rallied for two late goals to
cap a perfect season.
"We really struggled to make anything happen at the start of the second
half, so I switched from a 4-4-2 to a 3-4-3 formation to try and get
some energy up top," Naimo said later. "Our depth was a huge reason why
we won the game. Our bench gave us the energy we needed."
Fresh off leading the Blues to the W-League title in August, Naimo was
named General Manager of the Los Angeles franchise in the new Women's
Professional Soccer league. The team begins play in the league's
inaugural season in April.
Naimo will continue to coach the Blues even as he oversees soccer operations for the new pro team.
"The two teams will absolutely be connected," he said, referring to the
link between the pro club and W-League side. "Our goal for the Pali
Blues is to repeat as W-League champions, and we will continue to
develop a strong presence in our local soccer community."
Lam-Feist, Teibert U-17's of the Year
Thursday, 08 January 2009 15:04
Lam-Feist, Teibert U-17's of the Year
Canadian Soccer Association names U-17 Players of the Year
Vancouver Whitecaps Press Release - www.whitecapsfc.com
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
VANCOUVER, BC -
Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in conjunction with the Canadian Soccer
Association, announce that midfielders Monica Lam-Feist and Russell
Teibert have been named Canadian U-17 Players of the Year for 2008.
and Teibert were honored in a vote that was shared between members of
the Canadian national team coaching staff and all Canadian coaches that
have taken A and B-level coaching courses. This is the second straight
year that Lam-Feist has been named the top U-17 female player in Canada
after winning the same award in 2007.
started six matches with the Whitecaps women’s team during the 2008
United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League season for a total of 483 minutes
Though eligible to play for Canada’s U-17 national
team in 2008, the native of Surrey, BC, moved up a level and helped
Canada’s U-20 national side claim the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s
Championship title, having scored in each of Canada’s two opening
matches in Puebla, Mexico, last June. At the FIFA U-20 Women’s World
Cup in late November, Lam-Feist scored goals against Democratic
Republic of Congo and Germany in Group C, although Canada missed out on
advancing to the knockout stages in Chile. Though she has not appeared
for the senior women’s national team, Lam-Feist was the youngest player
to be called up to the squad for the Four Nations Tournament in China
Teibert, 16, joined the Whitecaps Residency
program last August following spells with Toronto FC Academy’s U-16
side and the Ontario provincial team program, where he won a silver
medal with the Ontario U-16 side in Brossard, Quebec, last year. A
native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Teibert appeared in all five matches
of the Residency team’s highly successful trip to Japan last month,
making two starts and scoring one goal. Before traveling to the Far
East, the talented youngster received his first call-up to the Canadian
U-17 national team for a training camp in Mexico in November. This
included four appearances against Mexican youth sides, with the
midfielder scoring a goal in a 5-1 win over Querétaro FC Youth on
November 30. Teibert did not play in the PDL during the 2008 season.
New ownership for Sounders Women
Tuesday, 30 December 2008 11:08
Tacoma Tide acquire accomplished W-League side
Tacoma Tide News Release - www.tacomafc.com
Friday, December 19, 2008
TUKWILA, WA -- The Seattle Sounders Women, a member of the United
Soccer Leagues’ W-League, announced a change in ownership. Fellow USL
organization, the Tacoma Tide F.C. of the men’s Premier Development
League, has acquired the women’s franchise.
With the changing
soccer landscape in the Puget Sound amidst the new Major League Soccer
presence, Tacoma Tide owner Mike Jennings took advantage of an
opportunity to purchase the successful eight-year old W-League
a previous desire to expand the Tide organization into the W-League and
the knowledge of how important the Sounders W-League team is to the
development of girls’ soccer in the entire state of Washington,
Jennings stepped up to acquire the team with the assistance of Adrian
Hanauer, the former owner of the USL-1 Sounders and current minority
owner and General Manager of the MLS Sounders, and Teddy Mitalas,
Sounders W-League Coach & Starfire Sports Complex Director of
Operations – a pair of individuals who have been at the forefront of
the Sounders existence and success in the W-League.
Tide’s inaugural season in 2006 I have thought seriously about adding a
W-League team under the Tacoma Football Club banner,” said Jennings.
“Just as with the men, there are many capable and talented women who
are in need of quality training and competition through the summer
months. I look forward to maintaining the winning tradition the women
The W-League team will continue to play
their matches at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA. The team
is considering a name change to link it to its brother-team, the Tacoma
Tide. Mitalas will continue to act as GM and Head Coach for the ladies.
In their eight seasons in the W-League, the Sounders Women have
advanced to the postseason six times, reaching the league semifinals on
four occasions (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008).
“We are thrilled that
Mike Jennings and the Tide have become a part of this team,” said
W-League Director of Operations Melanie Fitzgerald. “Teddy Mitalas’
efforts have been tremendous over the past few years, but the passion
and resources that the Tide, who have been an exemplary PDL team,
brings to the table will no doubt propel this team much further as the
women’s game continues to grow.”
The team is made up of top
level college players and graduates from around the nation, including
former US Women’s National Team and WUSA player Michelle French, a team
leader that has turned heads on and off the field. The W-League will
consist of 37 teams in 2009, playing in five divisions that comprise
the three conferences. The team will play a 12 game season at Starfire
plus additional exhibition matches. The W-League championship game will
be August 7-8, and will air on Fox Soccer Channel.
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