Breakers make Reeves first VT WoSo pro draftee

Jennifer Gordon January 20, 2014 26

Jazmine Reeves, left, became the first Virginia Tech player to be drafted into a women's professional soccer league. (Photo Copyright Steve Bruno for The Equalizer)

Sometimes timing is everything. A year ago, Jazmine Reeves was coming off her worst season as a Virginia Tech Hokie. Reeves logged only four goals and four starts in a 20-game season. Needless to say, Reeves wasn’t on anyone’s 2014 college draft boards then.

Fast forward a year and Reeves is now a Boston Breakers’ draftee, the first in VaTech history.

In 2013, Reeves was the Cinderella player on the year’s Cinderella team. In her senior year, Reeves nearly doubled her career goal total. She finished the year with 11 tallies on the year after 14 the previous three years. Reeves’ transition from forgettable forward to first team All-American wasn’t product of any fairytale, but rather a lot of hard work.

Following her selection by the Breakers with the 21st overall pick, Reeves admitted that being selected in the NWSL College Draft didn’t seem likely following her junior season.

“Personally, I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “I wasn’t coming off of a great junior year. I was kind of nonexistent really. I worked really hard this summer coming into my senior year and it paid off. I had an amazing team surrounding me.”

While all eyes in the college soccer world were trained on the Virginia Cavaliers’ historic unbeaten streak, their in-state foes were quietly making some history of their own. After three years of finishing in the bottom half of the ACC, Virginia Tech sprung onto the scene last fall and established themselves as a contender for the ACC Championship.

The two teams faced off on Halloween and Virginia downed the Hokies 2-0. The Cavaliers’ win set the stage for the teams’ next meeting a week later in the ACC Championship semifinal. Going into the match, Virginia was 20-0 and the Hokies were 15-3-2. The common perception was that the Cavaliers would once again claim victory. After all, Virginia was not only unbeaten, but led the all-time series against the Hokies 13-2-1. In fact, in Reeves’ time with the team, the Hokies had failed to beat the Cavaliers up until that point.

With most of the women’s soccer community watching, the Hokies stunned the Cavaliers 4-2. Reeves came up big for her side, scoring two goals. She wreaked havoc on a backline that had conceded the goals total in the previous 10 games. Suddenly, everyone wanted to know more about the forward who was central in destroying the Cavaliers’ perfect season.

“It was definitely surreal…We were up I think 4-1 at one point and I was still biting my nails the whole time because of how great of a team they were. To do that and score goals with people watching at that time, it was amazing,” Reeves said Friday of her team’s victory two months prior.

The Hokies fell to Florida State in the conference final, but the team’s journey was far from over. Virginia Tech’s remarkable season led them to the College Cup for the first time in history before falling again to the Seminoles. Their memorable season may not have been possible without Reeves, who tied for first in goals scored for the team.

It’s been a year of historic firsts for Virginia Tech. Reeves’ first team All-ACC award, All-American award, and MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist nomination were also school firsts. Friday, she also became the first Virginia Tech player drafted by a professional women’s soccer team.

  • Rdalford

    Both Virginia teams, VT and UVA, had seasons that exceeded pre-season predictions and Reeves was big part of VT’s success. Of course, UCLA had an even better season. Jazmine Reeves will need to continue to improve to succeed at NWSL level. Hope she does.

  • nwslfan

    will be fun watch the girl from Dover Del tear it up!

  • luke

    Superfast and deadly striker, but I’m not sure about her endurance – seen her being subbed in many matches in every half. Anyway, she was absolutely stunning in that Virginia game. Jaw-dropping performance.

  • gerd karl

    she was committed, because it costs the holders of the boston breakers very little money. 6000 dollar per season

    • Steglitz49

      Your point is well taken. $6000 does not go far in Boston. The median income for women in the US is about $35k and I suspect that in Boston it is more like $40k. A short-fall of ¤30-35k. Hmmm.

      Maybe a European or Japanese club should bid $20k for her services?

      • Rdalford

        Yes the low (US $200,000) NWSL salary cap translates into salaries that have been reported to range from $6,000 to $30,000. So there are certainly opportunities for Euro or other clubs to pay better.

        The low NWSL salaries are frustrating to fans and players, but (as you have frequently noted) someone must cover the cost. So without company sponsors, TV contracts, and much higher attendance the finances are what they are – for now.

        For a team like Boston with only 4 allocated players (2 US and 2 Canadian) the $200k cap must cover salaries for 14 to 16 players from the 18 to 20 player roster. The teams usually try to provide housing (often local host families) but the salaries are extremely low. Almost all players have other jobs during the off season some as assistants for local college teams. Other NWSL teams have similar financial challenges with the salary cap although teams with more allocated players have some potential to perhaps pay slightly better.

        The $6000 to $30,000 salary range has been frequently reported but the actual salary and terms for particular players are not disclosed by NWSL or teams.

        You are probably aware that the drafted players are not yet under contract. Once preseason training starts (mid March) the teams will have a couple of weeks to evaluate and sign the player (either party may choose not to sign) or team must waive rights to the player. Not all the drafted players will be signed since the teams can only carry 18 to 20 player rosters. Some waived players may get picked up by other NWSL teams that have roster slots and salary cap room. Other players may choose to try to find opportunities in Europe etc. or play in W-league or WPSL.

        • newsouth

          I love to point a finger at Paulson. This guy made more money than anyone, gets the great deal but instead of going on twitter and saying, increase the cap to at least 250k (bottom players would at least earn 12k for 6 mths), he is singing about portland’s next big pick up. for some reason i think the league has a bylaw which stops a franchise from doing an inhouse sponsorship but i’m sure the sahlen’s would have done a side deal to bring a big name into wny. it’s a big joke they can get the cap to 250k. 50k can’t kill a club. jazmine reminds me of a young boxx.

          • Steglitz49

            Even in Lyon, who started the arms-race (foot-race?), only a few players earn a lot.

          • newsouth

            it’s not a rat race, a realistic minimum monthly salary that each team can afford. no way 50k can break the bank of these teams. 6k for 6mths is a joke. and that’s pretax

          • Lorehead

            For the record, what he said and then deleted was:

            “well…two leagues have come/gone cause cost structure wasn’t sustainable. needs to be viable for women’s pro to even exist 1st”

            “that said, if I was allowed to pay more I would in a minute. we do more than any other team for players but also need 2 b legal”

          • KT5000

            I thought the salary cap *did* increase, no?

            Always easy to point a finger at Paulson and his tweeting habits, but I’m not sure what you’re tasking him with here.

          • Lorehead

            The 2014 salary cap hasn’t been announced, to my knowledge, and the league is not very transparent about its rules. The 2014 roster rules mention the salary cap several times, but do not give a dollar figure.

        • Steglitz49

          Your points are well taken. I like the team salary cap. It ensures a more even league.

          Europe is a worrying example. The vast majority of women playing soccer in Europe earn nothing. A few earn next to nothing, but a very few earn by ladies’ standards a lot and they play for certain teams. Thus you get the uneven leagues.

          To put it bluntly, one could argue that Lyon “bought” the Champions League. Wolfsburg were smarter. They bought the young players from other German teams who were blocked from playing by the stars. It took a couple of years but now they are top dogs — and are buying foreign, established players.

          If Man Utd restart their ladies’ section and if Real Madrid starts one, money will really count. Barcelona just bought (brought) Vero from Tyresö.

          Hopefully the NWSL can show how to run successful and financially secure ladies pro-soccer.

          • gerd karl

            steglitz49, they have no idea
            the nwsl is Not balanced, the owners have the power and not the players.
            in germany become a player from sindelfingen 800 euro per month, 11600 in the year. +car+apartment.

            in the nwsl become a young player 6000 dollar per season,
            exchangeable value euro – dollar
            then the german young player from sindelfingen comes off better.

            amber brooks has had to buy her own car. that is not good for the nwsl.

          • Lorehead

            Since Germany really does do some things better than the United States, you actually have half a point this time, although only half. Yes, since Merritt Paulson would like to pay his players more, and his players would like to be paid more, and the argument that he shouldn’t be allowed to pay all the Thorns enough to make football their full-time job because some other owner might not be able to and then we wouldn’t have parity makes no sporting or moral sense, Amber Brooks should get a raise.

            If he’s going to spend more money on her, though, he should do it by giving her money, which she could then use to buy a car of her choice, or something other than a car. If the salary cap stops owners from giving her money, but not from buying her things she would otherwise have to pay for, what is the point even supposed to be?

          • Lorehead

            Most U.S. sports leagues have a salary cap, but one negotiated between the players’ union and the owners, and that splits revenues between them (usually 50-50).

            What the NWSL has is a collective-bargaining agreement with the players on the USWNT that has U.S. Soccer pay them salaries exempt from the cap, and a side-agreement with the CSA and FMF that offers some of their players a similar but less-generous deal. Three of them have already turned it down.

            For everyone to whom it actually applies, the salary cap is terrible.

          • gerd karl

            us sports league have a salary cap?????????
            kobe bryant 21,4 millon dollar per year

            aaron rogers 22 million dollar per year
            yes, this is a great salary cap

          • Lorehead

            You’re right: it is a great salary cap. The purpose is not to keep the money in the hands of the owners, rather than the athletes who actually earn it. It’s to ensure parity between the teams and a negotiated split of the revenues between players and owners.

            Since those leagues bring in billions of dollars, individual athletes earn tens of millions.

        • Rufan

          “You are probably aware that the drafted players are not yet under contract….”

          From the league’s roster rules:
          “If a college Player is drafted by a Team in the College Draft, the League will attempt to sign the College Player to a contract in a salary range predetermined by the League Office.”

          • Rdalford

            Thanks for correction. Contract is signed (so player is under contract when they begin preseason) in applicable salary range then as rosters are finalized some players may be waived. If drafted player does not sign the NWSL contract they may seek opportunities in Europe etc (but must sign NWSL contract to play in NWSL). FYI My intention is not to argue over roster rules, we can/should read rules on NWSL site. Apologies for unnecessary diversion.

      • Lorehead

        Actually, according to the Census Bureau, in 2012 the median income of all women over 25 in the U.S. is $29,703, but the better comparison here might be $40,733, the median income of women with bachelors’ degrees.

        The NWSL is a little better than it looks because it isn’t year-round and most teams give their players a good benefits package.

        $35,000 was the median income of women who worked full-time for all of 2009; that is, who aren’t stay-at-home moms.

        • Steglitz49

          I think we can agree that $6,000 is not a big income in the US, independent of race, creed of sex. Forsooth, $12,000 ain’t much either.

          Does anyone know what Christen gets in Tyresö or Whitney got in Liverpool?

          • Lorehead

            The literal answer is yes, someone knows. 🙂 I don’t recall it having been revealed, and a quick Google search doesn’t turn up anything.

  • nwslfan

    everybody agrees salary cap sucks, league needs to be sustainable, etc. So, fans, when nwsl offers that subscription to watch nwsl games in HD this season, open your dang wallets and pay! and don’t whine about commercial breaks neither. #tithingtowoso

    Jenn- good writeup. hmm, fresh out of college with offer to get paid to play with USWNTers + get a look from TS? #yesgreatsummerplans

    • Pressured

      I’d gladly pay if the money went to the players.

  • josie

    Virginia is a great soccer state