We take an inside look with Orange County G.M. Terry Foley at those WPSL stars who should make the WPS gradeSACRAMENTO, CA (01/12/12) -
On Friday, January 13th at 1:00 PM (Central Time) at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)
Convention, Women's Professional Soccer (WPS)
will conduct their fourth edition of WPS Draft. Two out of the three prior No. 1 picks were former stars in the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
- Amy Rodriguez in 2009 & Alex Morgan in 2011. In anticipation of the 2012 Draft, we sat down with Orange County Waves General Manager Terry Foley
to discuss those top WPSL prospects who should make the roster of the five remaining WPS teams.
Foley is a great resource for this information: in 2010, he served in a similar capacity with WPS Philadelphia. Alongside former two-time WPSL Coach Of The Year honoree Paul Riley, he helped the team reach the WPS title match which the Independence lost to the now-defunct F.C. Gold Pride.
One of the rising stars in the women's game in the U.S. is Sarah Hagen
, a two-time All-WPSL selection with F.C. Milwaukee of the Midwest Conference. Sarah wrapped up her University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee career last fall as a four-time NSCAA All-American, who led the nation in goals per game (1.238), points per game (2.90) and game-winning goals. Her 93 career goals is good for ninth in NCAA Division I history (212 points, 17th all-time).
Touted as one of the top prospects of the 2012 WPS Draft, Hagen would instead sign with Bayern Munich of the German Frauen-Bundesliga in December. This shouldn't affect her draft status but if she finds success in Germany, she could follow suit & remain there - like current USWNT star Alex Krieger.
"Sarah signed for Bayern Munich, which is a loss for WPS," said Foley. "I talked to a couple of coaches and she would have been drafted in the First Round. I think it will be good for her to gain experience in Germany and hopefully she will come back to WPS within the next two years."
Next up are two players who Foley has seen on numerous occasions for both club, college and in the case of Stanford's Teresa Noyola
, country as well. Noyola has suited up with the California Storm of the Pacific Conference since her high school days, and after being selected as the most recent winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy (awarded to the top collegiate women's soccer player) she will now move on to the pro ranks.
The Mexican National Team member was the lynchpin in Stanford's run to the 2011 College Cup title, scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Duke University. In her senior season, Noyola was named the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and earned the Honda Award, College Cup Offensive MVP, Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as her third NSCAA First Team All-America honor.
"I think Teresa is a very good player," said Foley. "I have watched her play quite a few times for Stanford and Mexico. She will get picked in the first two rounds and will be a good addition to any squad. The one question for me will be if she can handle the pace of WPS? Hopefully, her intelligence will help her play at this level."
The other player who Foley is more-than-familiar with is CoCo Goodson
, who starred for the San Diego SeaLions of the Pacific Conference last season. San Diego gave the Waves all they could handle in 2011 with thanks to players like Goodson, as they went 1-1 during the regular season against the fully professional side while pushing the eventual WPSL champions to penalty kicks in the Pac-Con Final.
The two-time Big West Conference Defender of the Year (2010 & 2011) helped the Anteaters to a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship Tournament in 2011. Goodson contributed twelve goals and five assists in her two years at UCI after transferring from the University of Texas, and was one of two Anteaters to be honored as an 2010 NSCAA All-American - a first in program history.
"CoCo played against us twice last year," said Foley. "She is a big strong defender with pace. Technically, she is very good and this will help her in WPS. I do not think she will go in the First Round, but she will probably get picked early in the Second Round."
In the previous three years of the WPS Draft, 65 former WPSL standouts have been selected overall. However, with only five teams competing in WPS for the 2012 season, Foley believes that there will be an even higher premium on which players will make a WPS roster; especially with all of the experienced post-collegiate players that have been still left unsigned.
This could spell doom for quality prospects like Melinda Mercado
of Oklahoma Alliance F.C. (a 2011 NSCAA First Team All-American defender & Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year from Oklahoma State), Jillian Mastroianni
of Boston Aztec U-23 & the Long Island Fury (U.S. U-23 Women's National Team goalkeeper from Boston College) and Jessica Luscinski
of Boston Aztec U-23 (two-time America East Striker of the Year from Boston University).
"Mercado, Mastroianni and Luscinski are three talented players that maybe hurt in the draft by the lack of teams in WPS," said Foley. "Coaches in WPS have a lot of senior professionals fighting for spots on their teams, so their draft picks will have to be someone who can make an impact right away. I would look to see some other standout players in the WPSL be picked up by WPS teams looking for some experience.
"I think players like Kim Yokers
[of the Bay Area Breeze], Brittany Klein
and Icelandic international Katrin Omarsdottir
[from the Orange County Waves] will all see interest from WPS coaches and teams."
The 2012 WPS Draft room will be closed to the public. However, fans can follow the draft selections in real time on Twitter (@WomensProSoccer) and via a live league webcast from the draft room on www.WomensProSoccer.com. Registered participants of the NSCAA Convention can view the draft via live webcast at the NSCAA booth inside the Kansas City Convention Hall (Booth 202). For full draft info, click HERE
.About the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL):
The WPSL is a 70-plus team national semi-pro league competing in five conferences and is the largest women's soccer league in the world. The league is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA)
as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)
. The WPSL's mission is to provide the highest level of soccer in our effort to: bring affordable & quality family entertainment to the community; display positive role models for our youth; while, being a stepping stone for aspiring professional & international-level players.
For more information, visit our official website at http://www.wpsl.info, phone us at 1-800-854-0913 or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also keep up with our league on our social media networking sites on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!!
Eurosport & SOCCER.COM is a Proud Partner of the WPSL, who feature a wide selection of top-of-the-line soccer merchandise. For more information, visit their official website by clicking HERE. Molten is the Official Championship Ball of the 2011 WPSL National Championship. Visit their official website at http://www.moltenusa.com for more information on their full line of products.