With everyone convinced that the Atlanta Beat will be taking Tobin Heath with the No. 1 selection in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft, much of the rest of the draft relies on what the Boston Breakers do at No. 2.
Whether Head Coach Tony DiCicco decides to go defensive with North Carolina’s Whitney Engen or take an attack-minded player like Lauren Cheney will send every other WPS team into a frenzy. Draft boards will shuffle, player destinations will change, and the entire course of the draft will shift. All of this will happen in a matter of minutes.
The departure of Sue Weber and Heather Mitts leaves some shoes to fill on Boston’s back line. Currently, there are only three defenders on the roster. Granted, they include U.S. international Amy LePeilbet and English left back Alex Scott, so a player like Engen could be brought under the wings of their experience. However, free agents could also fill that role. Greer Barnes has been invited to Boston’s preseason camp and Kasey Moore can help out, both of which could make immediate contributions.
But selecting a defender with the No. 2-overall selection in a draft littered with current and future U.S. Women’s National Team forwards and midfielders could be hard to justify for DiCicco and company. Many around the league are hesitant to make too many plans, because they don’t think that Boston knows where it wants to go with the pick yet, and there is no denying that in Breakers camp.
“I think we have to pick up a defender but we aren’t sure who we will go after with that number two pick,” DiCicco said. “You want to get a player who will make an impact but you want to be a good defensive team.”
DiCicco said that he was unhappy with the job he did in the 2009 WPS Draft and is looking to learn from last year. He was also quick to point out that great college players do not always translate to great professionals, a level where players can not decide to mentally take games off.
Clearly, Amy Rodriguez did not work out in Boston. That has been highly publicized, and nobody has made a secret of it in Boston. To me, it seems that A-Rod’s failure at the professional club level would make Boston hesitate to draft another highly-touted attacking star and make DiCicco lean more toward a ‘safer’ pick in Engen.
Then again, DiCicco says that he has four or five center backs in mind, and surely at least a couple will still be around when the Breakers pick again at No. 11.
He was also disappointed in his late-round selections in 2009, and noted how many player that slip through the cracks play big-time roles with teams.
“Those are the one’s that you just try to get the best player out there,” DiCicco said of the later rounds. “Maggie Tomecka, Allison Lipsher and Mary-Frances Monroe all started for us, but none of them were drafted.”
As much as those later rounds are important, the No. 2 pick will shape the rest of the draft.
This feature is the fourth of a tenpart series titled “On the Clock, ” which will feature a draft previewfor each WPS team and culminate with a mock draft. Check out the full WPS Draft order here.
Later: “On the Clock: FC Gold Pride”
The 2010 WPS Draft will take place on Friday, January 15 at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia. Look for live and exclusive coverage from The Equalizer.
Follow me at Twitter.com/JeffKassouf