The NWSL Supplemental Draft came off without a hitch or a trade Thursday with teams using 45 of the allotted 48 slots to continue building rosters ahead of the league’s April launch. With clubs now holding the rights to 20-or-so players each, we finally have a pretty good idea as to what they will all look like. Well, expect where there are still pending free agent announcements, like in Washington and Kansas City.
Nevertheless here are three interesting storylines to follow in the aftermath of Thursday’s virtually held draft.
Breakers – no goalkeeper?
By far the most surprising development out of the draft is that the Breakers still have no goalkeepers who are old enough to order a drink at the next team party. The team announced Kyah Simon as its fourth free agent signing later Thursday and has now let the free agent period and two drafts pass without adding a keeper.
The Breakers were allocated Cecilia Santiago, who will not turn 19 until after the season. Santiago is a World Cup veteran for having been on Mexico’s roster as a 16-year old backup, but she never crossed the white lines.
“We’re very aware that we need to do something in goal,” coach Lisa Cole said. “We believe we have a couple options as we go through this process. There were goalkeepers on the board that we felt we were interested in, we just weren’t willing to take them ahead of some other players that we took. We still have to fill somebody into that spot, but we feel like we have a couple of options.”
Cole added that Santiago is, “a very good young goalkeeper, she just needs experience.”
As for the players the Breakers did take, the jewel was Joanna Lohman, taken No. 3 overall to bolster the midfield.
“From a Breakers perspective we’re very happy about what we were able to pick up in the draft,” Cole said. “We got a veteran in Joanna Lohman who is somebody that is not only going to be important to the Breakers on the field, but (someone) who does a ton of work promoting the league and is the type of person you want on your team, especially as a veteran.”
After that the Breakers secured Katie Schoepfer, who has known Cole since before she went to college, and Bianca D’Agostino. Cole tagged D’Agostino with the versatile label. She is officially listed as a midfielder.
Ellertson – “no pro ball this year”
Portland Thorns FC either did not see, or did not heed, Tina Ellertson’s tweet from Monday night that read: “Not playing pro ball this year guys! Family First!!!!” Maybe the Thorns know something that has yet to be shared via the magic of Twitter, but otherwise it appears they squandered their first round pick.
Thorns FC later added another defender, speedy outside back Marian Dalmy. They also gobbled up Angie Kerr, who was Angie Woznuk when she patrolled the midfield for the University of Portland. Their other picks were forwards Michele Weissenhofer and Jessica Shufelt. They passed on their final pick.
Circling back to the possibility of Ellertson not playing, she will not be alone if she sticks to the decision. Equalizer has learned that Tina DiMartino (fifth round to Kansas City) took advantage of the downfall of WPS to find a full-time job and has no intention of playing in NWSL. And in what could be another big blow to Seattle Reign FC, Equalizer has also learned that Nikki Krzysik (1st round) is undecided about playing. Kaley Fountain (6th round to Seattle) tweeted shortly after the draft concluded that she will not be playing in NWSL either.
Lots of old Flash players heading elsewhere
Aaran Lines must have done a bang-up job assembling his 2012 Flash squad that won the WPSL Elite title. Six players who played pivotal roles on that team were among the 45 selected, including Angela Salem who returns to Sahlen’s Stadium as the No. 15 overall pick.
Two former Flash were off the board even before the Flash went on the clock with the seventh pick. The Spirit made Stephanie Ochs the first overall pick and Sky Blue FC took exciting midfielder Katy Frierson at No. 5. Sky Blue later made Brittany Cameron the first goalkeeper taken on the day.
Other members of the ’12 Flash to be drafted were Tori Huster (No. 9 to Washington) and Laura Heyboer (No. 18 to Seattle). Additionally, Nikki Marshall and McCall Zerboni were part of the free agent group. Marshall went to Portland and Zerboni stayed with the Flash.
As for the newest Flash players, Salem will be joined by Estelle Johnson, Kim Yokers, Val Henderson, and Ashley Grove. Johnson will be returning to the site of two painful losses. She was part of the Philadelphia Independence team that lost the WPS final on penalties in 2011 at Sahlen’s Stadium and was part of the New York Fury last season when they lost a tough WPSL Elite semifinal, also at Sahlen’s.
Yokers was also on the Fury last season and before that a reserve on WPS champion FC Gold Pride team in 2010. Henderson was a top WPS keeper but her participation in NWSL is not a certainty. Grove is a local player who had success scoring goals at Maryland.
Other Draft notes
- The Spirit thought enough of Jordan Angeli to take her with the 17th pick even though she is not likely to be ready for the season. “I was surprised and excited,” Angeli told Equalizer. “It’s nice knowing that a team out there is still thinking about me and still wants me.”
- Casey Nogueira, who many had pegged as a free agent signing, was left on the board until the 4th round where FC Kansas City grabbed her at No. 30.
- The Red Stars used their 1st round pick on Lindsay Tarpley, who like Angeli has not played since 2011. Tarpley was injured in the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup and has since had a baby. The pick seems to affirm recent rumblings that Tarpley is plotting a comeback.
- Tarpley, Nogueira, and Courney Jones (1st round to Kansas City) represent North Carolina, which ties the prestigious program for the most former players taken among the 45. Maryland, Santa Clara, and UCLA were also represented by three picks. In all there were 30 schools represented.
- Another player on the comeback trail is Tasha Kai. Though no public word of Kai’s intention to play has surfaced, the enigmatic forward was gobbled up by the Spirit in the 4th round.
- In free agent news, today the Red Stars inked Jessica McDonald, the Breakers grabbed Kyah Simon, and the Blues nabbed Leigh Ann Robinson and Melissa Henderson. Still waiting on two more Spirit signings and maybe a final Reign FC addition.
- There were no trades made Thursday but speculation continues about a deal that will send Veronica Perez to Reign FC with the rights to Amy Rodriguez heading back to Western New York. UPDATE: The proposed deal seems to be dead, for now. Sources tell us it would have included the swapping of Mexican internationals Teresa Noyola (Seattle) with Veronica Perez as well as other players in a bigger package. No deal is imminent as of 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 8, however).
- The Red Stars, Flash, and Thorns all passed on their final pick.