Over the past week or so, The Equalizer has been unveiling draft previews for each of the nine Women’s Professional Soccer teams to look at what each team might be needing in 2010 and beyond. In talking to coaches and general managers around the league, this is the best guess at a mock draft that could be put together. Things may end up completely different, but that is just the unpredictable nature of the draft.
1. Atlanta Beat takes….Tobin Heath, M, North Carolina – Really, there seems to be very little argument here. The biggest possible shock in this draft would be somebody other than Heath going at No. 1 just because it is so assumed.
2. Boston Breakers take….Whitney Engen, D, North Carolina – Boston needs help in the back and there is a perception that the level of defenders in this draft is Engen, who is great, and then a lot of good defenders after that (with a drop from the talent of Engen). The Breakers may not want to risk missing out on such a need.
3. FC Gold Pride takes…..Kelley O’Hara, F, Stanford – FC Gold Pride wants a forward with pace, and O’Hara can provide that. So can Lauren Cheney, you say? Yes. But Lauren Cheney did not go to school 20 minutes down the road from the team’s home stadium or win the MAC Hermann Trophy and she doesn’t have a strong local following from playing at Stanford.
4. Chicago Red Stars take…Lauren Cheney, F, UCLA – Chicago will take advantage of others passing on Cheney and snatch up an incredible talent. Emma Hayes and company won’t take the risk on Casey Nogueira.
5. Los Angeles Sol takes…..Casey Nogueira, M, North Carolina – LA will be willing to take Nogueira at No. 5. It shouldn’t be stated so negatively either. She is a top talent, but there is just a slight on her for being lazy or complacent at times. That is the difference that makes her drop below the other top four.
6. Sky Blue FC takes….Brittany Taylor, D/M, Connecticut – Sky Blue FC is looking for defensive help, and a versatile defender at that. Taylor can play anywhere on the field and make it look natural, but she is perhaps best suited as a defender. Plus, there is a connection there with her playing for the Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues, Sky Blue FC’s W-League affiliate.
7. Washington Freedom take….Becky Edwards, D/M, Florida State – To me, this comes down to another W-League connection. Edwards played for the W-League Freedom and is another versatile player that may be best as a defender, which is what Washington is looking for.
8. Los Angeles Sol takes….Nikki Washington, M, North Carolina – A quality midfielder that could be a question mark with injuries (we’ll be hearing that about a lot of players).
9. Los Angeles Sol takes….Ali Riley, D, Stanford – She is from the LA area and has connections to LA affiliate Ajax America Women (WPSL). Plus, she can play on either side of the defense, so she can play opposite Stephanie Cox.
10. FC Gold Pride takes….Kara Lang, M, UCLA – Another midfielder that possibly has some injury concerns, but a very talented and versatile player.
11. Boston Breakers take….Michelle Ernyeart, M/F, Portland – Not to be a broken record here, but there are injury concerns with Ernyeart as well. If Boston goes defensive at No. 2, depth in the midfield will be the next priority.
And it is there that this mock draft will stop. Professional drafts are much too unpredictable, and it is very likely that we will not even see teams select in this order. Saint Louis or Philadelphia could trade up, as could any of the other seven teams if the deal is right. If this mock draft happens to be half correct it will probably be a success (and that goes for any mock draft, in my mind). There is an abundant amount of talent out there that will stretch deep into the third round and beyond, but it just does not make sense to speculate so deeply when the No. 2 pick could change everything.
Check out the full “On the Clock” series here:
Part One: Sky Blue FC
Part Two: Los Angeles Sol
Part Three: Atlanta Beat
Part Four: Boston Breakers
Part Five: FC Gold Pride
Part Six: Chicago Red Stars
Part Seven: Philadelphia Independence
Part Eight: Washington Freedom
Part Nine: Saint Louis Athletica
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.
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