Philadelphia Independence signs Nicole Barnhart

Jeff Kassouf February 22, 2011 6
Nicole Barnhart

Nicole Barnhart has signed with the Philadelphia Independence (Photo: Bill Barrett)

The Philadelphia Independence have signed U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, The Equalizer has confirmed. Barnhart won the 2010 WPS Championship with FC Gold Pride, but the team folded in November, leaving Barnhart and her teammates as free agents.

During that championship run, Barnhart played in 21 regular season games for FC Gold Pride, accumulating a goals against average of 0.77.  That number led the league.  Chicago’s Jillian Loyden was the next closest with a 1.17 GAA.  Barnhart made 73 saves and secured eight shutouts, also a league high.  FC Gold Pride’s defense gave up a league-best 19 goals in 24 regular season games (0.79 GAA).

With two first-choice goalkeepers, Philadelphia Head Coach Paul Riley now finds himself in a similar situation as 2010.  Last year, Karina LeBlanc and Val Henderson split time in net for Philadelphia.  Now, Henderson will compete with Barnhart.  After the season that Barnhart had in 2010, that will be tough.  However, Barnhart is expected to miss significant time this season on U.S. Women’s National Team duty.  Henderson proved in 2010 she is fully capable of being the No. 1 goalkeeper when called upon.  Henderson also played behind LeBlanc with the Los Angeles Sol in 2009.

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  • jim

    Nicole should be alanta starting. this is getting ridiculous with the fitz. he is forcing the rest of the carry all the salaries in the wps. i mean the beat didnt want to pay le blanc 25k. it will be nice if 2-3 teams are added next season the talent can be spread and atl can stay in last place if that’s the way fitz wants to play it cheap.

    • Ashley

      Yeah, I really do feel for Atlanta, their coach shouldn’t rely so heavily on the absence of big-name players this summer. I have difficulty imagining that plan actually working. I guess it’s better than these new college players having no place at all to play, but still, there should be more equality among teams (not just Atlanta is at fault here). Paying a little extra for two players, a top-of-the-line goalkeeper and forward, would have been all Atlanta needed, when looking at the rest of their current roster.

  • DB23

    Won’t be a competition, Val has already lost a job that IMO I think that she earned with her play last year (she won it and took Philly to the finals). As the USWNT #1 keeper, pressure will be on to make Barnhart the gurranteed #1 from the beginning. Move doesn’t make much sense to me at all. Why go back to the same situation as last year??

    • Valid point, but Barnhart is going to miss a lot of time with the U.S. Henderson will have plenty of time in net. It will probably end up splitting like last year except that there will be less head-to-head competition, in the sense that Henderson will play when Barnhart is not there. Otherwise, Barnhart is absolutely the No. 1.

  • jim

    sorry. look how long it took for anyone to sign barny. there was pressure from the wnt to have her on someone’s roster and playing. i think the bottom line is everyone was waiting for atlanta to pick her up. you have a 5 team league right now. that’s why rosters are loaded. have you seen atl forwards…just trotter and a bunch of college players and w-leaguers? come on.