Women's Premier Soccer League News

New England Mutiny Announce 2005 Signings
March 16, 2005 

2004 WPSL Coach of the Year Austin Daniels, 2004 All-WPSL selection Jessica Gjertsen, Rachel LeDuc, Erin O'Grady and Naomi Stone return to the Mutiny; former WUSA players Kerry Connors, Rebekah Splaine and former NWBL Springfield Spirit general manager Steve Fox join New England for 2005

SPRINGFIELD, MA - The New England Mutiny is pleased to announce their first signings for the Summer 2005 season in the Eastern Division of the Women's Premier Soccer League. Returning to the 2004 WPSL National Finalists will be defending Coach of the Year Austin Daniels, 2004 First Team All-WPSL selection Jessica Gjertsen (Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada), local legend Rachel LeDuc (Longmeadow, MA) and former Boston Breakers Erin O'Grady (Glastonbury, CT) and Naomi Stone (Teaticket, MA).

On the field, joining New England this summer will be two former Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) players in Kerry Connors (Somers, CT) and Rebekah Splaine (Cambridge, MA). Connors was a familiar opponent against the Mutiny last season, as she competed for the Massachusetts Stingers in the WPSL Eastern Division while Splaine plied her trade for the 2004 New England champion Boston Renegades of the W-League. Off the field, the addition of Steve Fox as President of the Mutiny organization further augments a strong front office that was rewarded last season with team owner Joe Ferrara's selection as WPSL Manager of the Year.

"I'm very excited to be back with the Mutiny this summer," Daniels said, who is also the Coaching Director of Northern Kentucky United. "We're looking forward to taking the team one step further this season, and that has been helped immensely by our returning players and those who have signed with us."

In 2003, Daniels was a runner-up for Coach of the Year honors, bringing the first-year Mutiny to the WPSL Final Four. In 2004, he helped lead New
England to the next step - the National Final - and therefore, took the next step up regarding league honors as well. In two seasons at the helm of the Mutiny, Daniels record speaks for itself: a 19-4 win-loss margin, four All-WPSL selections (Alexa Borisjuk-Smith, Gjertsen, LeDuc and Mary-Frances Monroe), two Eastern Division titles and two trips to the WPSL National Championships.

Steve Fox's strong experience in the region with the Springfield Spirit (National Women's Basketball League) and the Springfield Slamm (Eastern
Basketball Alliance) - working side-by-side with the likes of current WNBA star Sue Bird and former UConn and U.S. National Team great Rebecca Lobo - will boost a front office staff with his hiring as President of the New England Mutiny. As with the Spirit, Fox's duties with New England will
include: sponsorships, ticket and merchandise sales, staffing and community out-reach programs.

Kerry Connors is not only a familiar face to the Mutiny, but to the regional, national and international soccer world. A First Team All-American
at the University of Connecticut in 1996 - where she started all 24 games as a senior, scoring 20 goals and 18 assists for 58 points, the most ever in a single season by a Husky - Connors has been capped four times for the U.S. National Team. The W-1 League MVP in 2000 for the Boston Renegades, Kerry started out with the WUSA's New York Power in 2001 before playing for the Philadelphia Charge and San Diego Spirit. In 2004 for the Stingers, she was selected to participate in the WUSA Soccer Festivals with the Spirit.

Jess Gjertsen finished her career at UConn last fall, helping the Huskies win the 2004 Big East Conference Championship. The senior forward garnered First Team All-Northeast Region and First Team All-New England accolades, ranking second in team scoring with 24 points (11 goals, 2 assists, 4 GWG). 2004 was the second consecutive season that Gjertsen was honored as an All-WPSL selection, as she took the next step up from her 2003 Second team selection (9 goals, 3 assists) with her 2004 First Team selection. In the 2004 WPSL Final Four, Jess notched goals in the 4-3 semifinal win over Utah and the 3-2 loss to California in the National Final.

Rachel LeDuc captained her side to the division championship in 2004 while helping push the Chinese National Team to the brink of a major international upset in a 4-3 exhibition loss on July 29th. A WPSL First Team selection in 2003, scoring 8 goals and an assist, Rachel confirmed her presence as a "big-game" player, notching 2 goals and 2 assists in the 2004 WPSL Final Four (6 goals, 6 assists on the season). Arguably one of the finest women's soccer players to ever come from the Springfield area, LeDuc was the co-leading scorer for the W-1 League Springfield Sirens in 2001 (9 goals, 2 assists) while leading the 2000 W-2 League National Champion Sirens in both goals (16) and points scored (35) as an All-League selection.

Erin O'Grady - after shaking off an injury early in the 2004 season - became one of the most popular players for the Mutiny. With her hard work and
constant effort, O'Grady was selected to play in the WUSA Soccer Festivals and was a key component in the New England midfield: especially for the
successful late season surge by New England as she scored and assisted on a goal in the 4-3 loss to China. After a stellar career for Syracuse
University, where she was a First Team All-Big East selection in 1998 and 2000 (Second Team in 1997 and 1999), Erin joined the Boston Breakers in 2003 after being a starter for the two-time National Champion Boston Renegades.

Rebekah Splaine is another new player for New England this summer that has had plenty of regional and national recognition. The Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a First Team Northeast Region selection as a senior at Brown University in 2001, Splaine was a teammate of O'Grady for Boston as they won back-to-back W-League championships in 2001 and 2002 (scoring the gamewinner in the final versus Charlotte). Signed as a Developmental Player for the Boston Breakers in 2003 - and selected to participate in last year's WUSA Soccer Festivals - Bekah was one of the leading scorers for the Renegades in 2004, notching 8 goals and 4 assists in 9 games played.

Naomi Stone - alongside LeDuc - will be entering her third season with the New England Mutiny. Due to the call-up of four U.S. National Team members (Kristine Lilly, Kate Sobrero, Angela Hucles and Jena Kluegel), the Boston Breakers added Stone to their roster as a Supplemental Player in April 2003. However, with that Supplemental status, Naomi was still open to sign with any team of her choice and joined the Mutiny just prior to the 2003 season. A teammate of Connors at UConn, the Huskies reached the Final Four in her senior season in 1997. The 38th overall pick of the Carolina Courage in the 2000 WUSA Draft, Stone has also played for the New Hampshire Phantoms and Springfield Sirens of the W-League.

All six of these players will be on the field as the New England Mutiny kick off their Summer 2005 season on Saturday, May 14th at 7:00 pm against the Philadelphia Pirates - a new addition to the Eastern Division this season. A U.S. Open Cup qualifying match, this match will be played at Agawam High School in Agawam, MA (site of last year's exhibition match against China). Tickets are $7 for adults, and $4 for students/children.

New England will split their home matches this season between Agawam and Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow, MA - their home site the past two seasons. Our full Summer 2005 Schedule will be released in the coming days. For more information, call 1-800-854-0913 (ext. 703), email us at mutinysoccer@hotmail.com or visit our official web site at www.mutinysoccer.com. The WPSL is the only stand-alone national women's
soccer league in the United States and is affiliated with FIFA and the U.S. Soccer Federation. This is what we do!

Jorma Kansanen
(413) 222-7268


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