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Breakers set course for future with four 1st rounders

Rose Lavelle headed a big day for the Breakers who had four of the first nine picks in the NWSL Draft.

Rose Lavelle headed a big day for the Breakers who had four of the first nine picks in the NWSL Draft.

Boston Breakers Head Coach Matt Beard said it was a “no brainer” to take Rose Lavelle with the first pick of the NWSL College Draft as he boosted his ranks with four first round picks. All eyes were on the Breakers, who held pick numbers one, three, eight and nine, allowing Beard to build on a roster that has been seriously overhauled in the off-season.

Along with Lavelle, USC’s College Cup winner Morgan Andrews was selected at number three, with forward Ifeoma Onumonu picked out of California at eight and midfielder Margaret Purce out of Harvard at nine. Purce, incidently, is the first player to be drafted out of Harvard in the NWSL’s history.

Speaking after the first round, Beard was predictably upbeat after adding strength and depth to his squad. On Lavelle he said: “What I like about her is she is a talented player. She can pass the ball, beat a player, create goals and score goals, and in any successful team, you need a goal-scoring midfielder.

{RELATED: See full results of 2017 NWSL draft}

“She’s had a good education playing at holding midfield this year, so when you’re looking for the complete package midfielder, she is it and that made the decision to select her at one a lot easier.”

Having managed Liverpool to two league titles in England, Beard will tell you that one of the key players that made up his roster for the Reds was England international, Fara Williams. Speaking about USC’s title winning midfielder, Morgan Andrews, Beard confessed to seeing similarities between England’s record cap holder and his young enforcer in the center of the park.

“You could see her confidence when she went up on stage, which was good to see.” he said. “She reminds me a bit of Fara Williams in terms of her ability to pass the ball, so I am delighted that we have got her.”

{MORE: Dames discusses Red Stars draft day | Sheridan leads three Canadians taken}

Beard was equally positive about his more attacking pick-ups in Onumonu and Purce, stating that Purce caught his eye during a friendly against Harvard last year in which she scored.

“We missed a player like Ifeoma last year, someone who is very direct and can add that bit of speed in the wide areas.

“As for Margaret, we played Harvard last year and she gave a lot of established players problems, so we kept an eye on her and I’m happy to have her here.”

Beard now has what looks like a highly competitive roster that many will expect to be better than their tenth place finish last year. After trading the first pick of the second round to the Red Stars, they concluded the draft by grabbing another USC College Cup winner, goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme, and Boston College’s Hayley Dowd. Now the pressure is now on the Breakers and Beard to mold a team that can better compete than previous seasons.

However, despite the added strength and quality to the squad, Beard is taking a similar approach to that of Paul Riley last year, setting no specific goals or objectives for his side.

He concluded: “All these young players that we have picked, the step up from college to the professional game is completely different, so it’s a transitional period where we welcome them, make them feel comfortable, and embed them into the squad. The exciting thing for me now is that we now have a roster with strength and depth, which is something we didn’t have last year.

“I felt at times my line-up was predictable last season, so I’m delighted with what we have been able to do today.”

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