Women’s Professional Soccer has scaled back its draft considerably over the past two years. The buzz that surrounded the inaugural college draft in 2009 was followed by another lavish splash (thanks to Puma’s pockets) in 2010 before transitioning to a closed event in 2011. Last year also saw the draft decrease from 65 picks to just 24 selections.
Friday’s 2012 edition promises to be similar to last year: A closed door event with the fewest number of picks – and teams – ever. Just 23 selections will be made on Friday, leaving little room for genuine late round steals.
Still, with all the focus on forwards and that first round of selections, a great player could slip into those final picks and play a considerable role with a team down the road. It has happened quite a bit in the past, but primarily in 2009 and 2010, when 70 and 65 players, respectively, were selected. The 2009 draft is a little bit harder to judge since rosters were built from scratch, but still, here is a look at some of the better selections in late round draft history:
McCall Zerboni, No. 47, Round 7 to Los Angeles Sol – This is probably the steal of the draft, if not so much for LA as it was to have Zerboni, now a constant in WPS, selected that late. Zerboni played in 10 games for LA in her rookie season before moving to Atlanta in 2010. Her breakout year came last season with the Western New York Flash, when Zerboni had four goals and three assists in 14 games.
Jen Buczkowski, No. 39, Round 6 to Sky Blue FC – Buczkowski was thought by many to be the MVP of the 2009 WPS Championship game. She followed that up by becoming an absolute rock in the center of midfield for the Philadelphia Indepndence over the past two seasons.
Brittany Cameron, No. 52, Round 8 to Los Angeles Sol – Cameron has not seen much action in WPS, but her longevity in the league proves that she’s a very worthy back-up. Even Jill Loyden going at No. 37 (Round 6) to Saint Louis and Allison Whitworth being taken at No. 54 (Round 8 ) by FC Gold Pride were steals. It was a good year to get goalkeepers late in the draft. That’s not even mentioning Val Henderson (No. 33), Brianna Scurry (No. 35) and a few others. Check out the draft results.
Taryn Hemmings, No. 65, Round 7 – There is no better ‘bang for the buck’ than being the last player selected and making an impact. That is what Hemmings did, playing in 29 games over the last two seasons for Boston. She’ll be back with the Breakers in 2012.
Carolyn Blank, No. 46, Round 5 – Blank played in 19 games between Saint Louis and Atlanta before she moved to Sky Blue FC in 2011, where she played 17 games and scored one goal.
This draft also produced goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris at No. 19 (Saint Louis) and Jordan Angeli at No. 16 (Boston), who if healthy could have a future with the United States.
It’s tough to call anything a late round steal with 24 picks in this draft, but Meghan Lenczyk (No. 14 to Atlanta, now with Philadelphia) and Amanda DaCosta (No. 17 to magicJack, now with Sky Blue FC) are two players to keep an eye on.
We’ll see. My hunch is that if we see Teresa Noyola or Camille Levin slide farther than they should, we’ll be crying out ‘steal!’ very soon.
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