If there was one sure thing heading into Friday’s draft it was that the Spirit would be looking forward. The allocation left them with little in the way of scoring prowess, and they were accordingly given the second overall selection at the first NWSL entry draft. The forward they settled on was Tiffany McCarty.
McCarty will bring two things to the Spirit – goal scoring and some home town exposure. The two-time MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist is from Laurel, Md., less than an hour’s drive from the Maryland SoccerPlex where the Spirit will play their home matches.
“My family is very excited that I’m going back home,” McCarty said via conference call about an hour after being drafted. “I know a lot of people back home in Maryland so I feel like it’s going to be a really good experience for me.”
At Florida State, McCarty was a tried and true goal scorer. She came right out of the box with 11 goals as a freshman and bagged 17 more as a sophomore when she was named first team All-American. After redshirting her junior year in 2010, McCarty came back with seasons of 18 and 17 goals respectively.
McCarty’s final college goal was a 90th minute equalizer that forced overtime at the College Cup semifinals last month. Unfortunately the joy was short-lived when Christine Nairn (drafted no. 7 by Seattle Reign FC) scored two minutes into sudden death extra time.
“At Florida State we played possession-oriented style,” McCarty said. “But I also like to get in behind the defense and I think I’ve added a lot of things to my game over the years. My heading game has gotten better and my long-distance shot has gotten better. So I think I can kind of possession style or over the top of need be.”
McCarty, who neglected to refresh her Twitter page in time to get the news and had to be informed by friends, will be part of a young group of forwards at the SoccerPlex. The Spirit picked up another forward with local ties in the second round taking Caroline Miller from Virginia. There is still free agency and more roster shuffling between now and the April 13 league opener, but for the moment McCarty and Miller are the goal scoring threats the club will be leaning on.
“It’s hard to imagine how this draft could’ve gone any better for our club,” said Spirit owner Bill Lynch. “We’ve had Tiffany in our sights from the very beginning of this process, and were shocked and delighted that Caroline was still available when the time came to make our second selection. We expect Holly (King, 3rd round) and Colleen (Williams, 4th round) to contribute right away and are delighted to welcome all four to the Spirit.”