NWSL Draft 2015 – Undrafted Free Agent Tracker (UPDATED: 01/23)

Here is a constantly updated list of where some of the undrafted free agents from this year’s draft are showing up for preseason. Feel free to leave any updates in the comments.

NWSL

Houston

Tessa Andujar – D – Florida
Allie Bailey – F – Texas A&M
Jordan Day – GK – Texas A&M
Sam Harder – D – Denver
Whitney Jaynes – D – Texas
Taylor Leach – D – South Carolina
Kelley Monogue – MF/F – Texas A&M
Taylor Nelson – D – Long Beach State
Devin Prendergast – MF – UConn
Brooke Rice – D – Colorado

Portland

Kelsey Haycook – F – La Salle
Jackie Strug – D – Northwestern State

Abroad

Krystyna Freda – F – Winthrop (Merilappi United – Finland)
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NWSL Draft 2015 – Fourth Round Review/Analysis

28 – Sky Blue FC – Chioma Ubogagu – F (LF) – Stanford

In terms of sheer value, this might be one of the day’s best picks. Ubogagu was potentially pegged as a a #1 pick after her freshman season and was a highly hyped prospect who fell down the ladder as her career progressed, having a lot of difficulty scoring goals despite taking a very high volume of shots. But Ubogagu’s dribbling skill with the ball is sublime, and she comes from a program that knows how to keep it on the floor and pass and move. As long as she’s not the one being counted upon to do all the finishing, Ubogagu could well turn into a last round steal.

29 – Boston – Stephanie Verdoia – F/MF – Seattle

This would probably be a great pick if it was anyone else but Boston, who’ve already taken three attackers in this draft! Verdoia was a dominant player at a small school, running all over opponents as a part of a Seattle side that decimated overmatched WAC foes. She’s more of a direct scoring threat than either Fields or Brinson, but what are her odds of making this roster given all the numbers at the forward position? And no, Boston still hasn’t solved their problems at defensive midfielder or defense.

30 – Washington – Whitney Church – D (CB) – Penn State

Another great pick for value. Church is a two-time Big Ten Defender of the Year who probably would’ve gone a few rounds higher if she had been a couple inches taller. I actually like this pick more than that of the Oyster pick earlier by leaps and bounds. As far as need though, you wonder about the Spirit not using any of their three picks on attacking players. At this point, there are massive questions about scoring, and it wouldn’t have been the worst thing to take a flier on a forward.

31 – Houston – Carleigh Williams – D (CB) – UCF

Nice pick to close out the draft for Houston. It was pretty clear that the Dash needed some center-back depth going into the draft, and they grabbed the best central defender left on the board in Williams. It took a bit for Williams to truly blossom with UCF, but she was one of the nation’s top center-backs this season as a senior and should compete immediately for major minutes in the Dash’s backline.

32 – Chicago – Rachel Tejada – F – Illinois State

Value over need probably. Tejada’s another Midwestern product who tore it up against lesser competition for four seasons with Illinois State and dragged the Redbirds on her back to a pair of second round NCAA Tournament appearances the last two years. Step up in competition may be a bit tough, but she’s definitely worth a flyer late in this draft.

33 – Boston – Bianca Calderone – D (CB) – Northeastern

Leave it to Boston to take a local center-back but not the one that’s the best on the board. Calderone didn’t do much her first two years at Northeastern before rounding into a CAA Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Why so low on draft boards? She’s 5’4″, and 5’4″ center-backs usually aren’t long for the professional world. With a local like Gabrielle Charno still on the board at the position, this is another baffling pick in a draft full of them.

34 – Sky Blue FC – Lo’eau LaBonta – MF (AMC) – Stanford

Good pick for value, though I’m not sure where LaBonta’s going to fit in on a squad full of midfielders now that SBFC has taken two other midfielders before her. To be fair, LaBonta is not the same type of player as that pair, more of a direct scorer from the #10 role. She isn’t that efficient with her shooting though, and her penchant for big goals may have to carry over for her to make it at this level.

35 – FC Kansas City – Kaysie Clark – MF (CM, AMC) – Missouri

OK, I get that it was a local, and Clark’s a fine player…but why exactly does FCKC need another attacking midfielder given that they already took two in this draft? Shouldn’t they have taken another full-back or center-forward? Clark had a great senior season with twelve assists on a team without a big name scoring threat but faces a steep climb towards making this roster.

36 – Seattle – Kendall Romine – D (CB) – Stanford

A pretty big stretch with the final pick of the draft. Romine may be from Stanford, but she’s about as unsteady with the ball at her feet as any Card defender I’ve seen in a while. The former Stanford defender is also extremely injury prone, which isn’t exactly a great sign going into a grueling league season.

NWSL Draft 2015 – Third Round Review/Analysis

19 – Washington (from FC Kansas City) – Caprice Dydasco – D (LB) – UCLA

Well, the Spirit kind of lucked into getting the left-back they really needed, but it also cost them dearly with two second round picks next season when they probably should have taken Dydasco in the second round and hoped that Oyster would’ve been around at #30. Dydasco is probably a small notch below Gilliland and Hinkle as a left-back in this class but is still a consistent and dangerous performer in attack and defense. There’s a solid chance she can step right in at left-back and let Crystal Dunn play higher up the pitch.

20 – Boston – Sam Lofton – D (LB) – James Madison

A huge reach here. Lofton isn’t foreign to some higher level competition despite playing in the CAA, having played with the Washington Spirit reserves last year in the W-League. But she’s also a late bloomer, having not really excelled until this season. And that was having played a lot of the season as an attacker for the Dukes after having played on defense earlier in her career, specifically at left-back. She’s got the size to play in the middle though, and some of that versatility may be what helps her stick. But she’s still a project who may struggle to make the final roster.

21 – WNY Flash – Sabrina D’Angelo – GK – South Carolina

Great pick for the Flash, who grab the best goalkeeper available with their last pick in this draft. D’Angelo’s a tick below the best prospects historically, but she’s probably got the best upside of anyone in this class in goal. She’s got a nice combination of physical traits, including great footwork, a nice kicking game, and excellent shot-stopping ability. However, D’Angelo can struggle with crosses at times and can be struck with the odd individual error that usually afflicts young goalkeepers. But those flaws are fixable, and D’Angelo is probably going to be #1 for club and country sooner rather than later.

22 – Sky Blue FC – Daphne Corboz – MF (AMC) – Georgetown

Hey! I nailed this one exactly. Corboz is a hometown product who previously played with SBFC’s reserve team last season, so it’s not exactly rocket science. And it may not be the biggest need either, with the club already having Katy Freels to serve as the playmaker-in-chief. But a little depth never hurt anyone, and Corboz can add the occasional score from midfield as well. It should be noted that the former Hoya has French heritage, meaning there might be competition for her services from European clubs as well, so it’s not guaranteed she suits up for SBFC.

23 – Chicago – Cara Walls – F (CF, RF) – Wisconsin

Chicago probably needed a couple forwards in this class for depth, and they get some pretty good value at this point with a Midwestern prospect in Walls. The Wisconsin forward generally puts it in the back of the goal when she hits the target. But that’s far from the most certain prospect considering her shots on goal mark has declined every season in Madison, dropping to 34.5% this season. Walls probably isn’t going to be a big connector either, with six assists in four seasons, but she’s a good poacher and could make a mark as a super sub to begin her pro career.

24 – Boston – Bianca Brinson – F (RF) – Texas A&M

Brinson’s not a terrible pick by any means and had a very productive season out on the wing for Texas A&M, but, again, why Boston? The Breakers pretty much took the same player a round earlier with Jamia Fields: an athletic, hard working right winger. Brinson’s probably a little bit better in front of goal than Fields though and may actually be the better player when all is said and done. But considering the dearth of central midfielders and how shaky the defense still looks, why this pick?

25 – Sky Blue FC – Shade Pratt – D (CB), F (CF) – Maryland

I think everyone assumed that SBFC needed to get a little faster at center-back, and Pratt certainly provides that as potentially one of the fastest players in this draft class. The problem is, she’s very, very raw at this point and was bounced around the pitch this season by a pretty mediocre Terps team, being asked to play center forward to try and inject some life into a struggling attack. A project with upside, but probably one of the better ones in this class.

26 – FC Kansas City – Jessie Ayers – MF – Colorado College

Weird pick considering FCKC just took Shea Groom earlier. Ayers isn’t near the scoring threat that Groom is, but she’s a dynamic midfielder who dominated mid-major competition for Colorado College. Her stock slipped a bit though as CC struggled in 2014, and this may have been a bit high for her. Given the sheer numbers in midfield, she’ll struggle to make this roster, and I wonder if the club couldn’t have used stoma depth at full-back or another center-forward more.

27 – Chicago – Nicole Setterlund – MF (DMC), D (CB) – Washington State

So Chicago does end up taking Setterlund, just a little bit later than I thought they would in my mock draft. But this is a pretty good pick for value and need for the Red Stars, as Setterlund can slot in at defensive midfield or at center-back, both positions of need right now. The Canadian probably shows a bit more nuance than a pure destroyer at the position but is still good in the air at 5’9″. She was a big deal as a youth international for Canada a while back and could realistically get back in the WNT mix if she can stand out.

NWSL Draft 2015 – Second Round Review/Analysis

10 – Sky Blue FC – Kristin Grubka – D (CB), MF (DMC) – Florida State

This is hardly a shock, as Grubka was known to be pretty high on the club’s draft board, to the point that they probably would’ve taken her had they had another first round pick. It’s hard to argue against this pick from a value standpoint, as Grubka had a mid-first round grade on my board, but was another big center-back really needed by SBFC? They already have CoCo Goodson and Lindsi Cutshall on the books, though Grubka may have more upside than both. There’s no question that Grubka was an elite defender in college who really shone during FSU’s national title run this season both on defense and as a weapon in the air on set pieces. There’s also the possibility she moves to defensive midfielder, where she played early in her FSU career, but you wonder if she’s mobile enough to fill that role.

11 – Chicago (from Boston) – Sofia Huerta – F (CF/WG) – Santa Clara

Considering many had Chicago picking Huerta up with the fifth pick, getting her down at #11 while gaining an extra pick has to be seen as a coup for the Red Stars. Chicago needed some attacking depth, seeing as how they were going to end up missing a lot of their frontline players for the WWC in all probability. This is probably still a bit of a stretch for Huerta, but in a year where the forward options aren’t that great, need perhaps trumps value. Huerta was prolific for Santa Clara this past year but fired blanks against top sides while thrashing weaker teams, so she has to show she can be productive against top level defenses at this level. But at the very least, she’ll be able to stretch opposing defenses with her athleticism and should, at worst, be a super sub early into her rookie season.
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NWSL Draft 2015 – First Round Review/Analysis

1 – Houston – Morgan Brian – MF (AMC) – Virginia

There’s already been a lot of column inches devoted to Brian, so let’s try to keep this as brief as possible. The Dash badly needed some invention and teeth in the midfield going forward and got it with the trade for Carli Lloyd and the pick of Brian in the draft. The combo of Lloyd and Brian together should be one of the best attacking midfield duos in the league, though one wonders if it’s too attacking for its own good. The Dash are going to need great defensive midfield play to balance things out considering Lloyd and Brian are going to be bombing forward as much as possible. There’s also the worry of the pair being gone for the WWC, which could create problems, but in the long-term, Brian could be the foundation upon which a contending Dash team is built.

2 – Sky Blue FC – Sarah Killion – MF (DMC, MC, AMC) – UCLA

Any doubts as to whether SBFC was going to take a central midfielder pretty much disappeared mid-week when the club lost Sophie Schmidt, who is stepping away to prepare for the Women’s World Cup with Canada. Having traded away Ashley Nick as well, the club was desperate for a little more steel in the midfield to complement the passing and creativity of Katy Freels. Killion is capable of that and so much more as this draft’s most complete and well-rounded midfielder. I doubt she’ll be fulfilling primary creative duties, but Killion should function well as a link between defense and attack while shielding the back four as well. Who completes the midfield trio in Jersey will likely determine just how defensive Killion gets this year.
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NWSL Draft 2015 – Final Mock Draft

Round One

1 – HOU – Morgan Brian – MF – Virginia

This one’s a no-brainer, of course. Brian’s been destined for this spot for ages and should help out with a Houston midfield that had little attacking flair last season. While Carli Lloyd will be expected to provide most of the goals from the middle of the park, Randy Waldrum will likely be counting on Brian to slice defenses apart with her passing while also chipping in with the occasional goal herself. How Brian and Lloyd share the ball will be crucial. If Waldrum can get the two on the same page, the duo could be dynamite.

2 – SBFC – Sarah Killion – MF – UCLA

The departure of Sophie Schmidt only exacerbates the need for midfielders for SBFC, who look to have Katy Freels and a slew of replacement level players at the position right now. Killion isn’t the most dynamic midfielder in this class but is likely the most complete, able to fill the destroyer, shuttler, and creator roles in equal measure, though shielding the backline is probably the best bet at this level. It’s not a flashy pick, but it’s probably one of the safest in this draft.

3 – WNY – Samantha Mewis – MF – UCLA

The Flash are probably going to be overjoyed if Mewis falls into their laps, as there might have been some concern that SBFC would take her at #2, but all signs appear to point to Mewis being available at #3. The Flash badly need someone that can run the show from midfield after trading away Carli Lloyd, and Mewis, along with Morgan Brian, is one of the two elite #10s in this draft. While Mewis’ inconsistency may cause Aaran Lines to tear his hair out at times this year, she could develop into a cornerstone in time.

4 – WNY – Abby Dahlkemper – D – UCLA

WNY have taken a sledgehammer to their defense, with the only likely returning starter being Brittany Taylor. There may be a more immediate need at full-back, but you don’t pass up talent like Dahlkemper, meaning Taylor likely shifts to full-back with Dahlkemper partnering Whitney Engen long-term. Dahlkemper is a complete center-back, who is quick on her feet and powerful in the air and has great instincts for a player so young. The USWNT could beckon in a few years, and the UCLA center-back has the potential to shine right away in Rochester.

5 – CHI – Arin Gilliland – D – Kentucky

Lord only knows what Chicago does with this pick or even if they keep it. In all honesty, the Red Stars need a right-back more than a left-back if Rachel Quon isn’t here for the WWC, but I’m assuming they move Taryn Hemmings in the middle when Julie Johnston and Abby Erceg are away. There aren’t any elite right-backs in this class either, meaning Chicago may look to fill the left-back spot first. Gilliland probably isn’t letting go of a starting spot once she gets hold of one, and the Kentucky talisman should help stretch play and open up the offense, which was pretty stale at times last season. I wouldn’t be shocked if Chicago plumped for Kristin Grubka here too. They need some center-back cover, and the drop from her to the next option is big.

6 – WNY – Lynn Williams – F – Pepperdine

Williams played on Charlie Naimo’s LA Blues W-League conquering team this past Summer (albeit for one half of one game), so he’s probably familiar with her talents. The Pepperdine star possesses game breaking speed that the Waves used liberally in their counterattacking assault, and some of that pace could go a long way in replacing that dimension which was lost when Sam Kerr was traded. She’s currently on the Pepperdine track team and may miss some time, but that’s probably the case with many prospects, with Williams probably back in time for the WWC roster crunch to hit.

7 – WNY – Danielle Colaprico – MF/F – Virginia

Versatility helps everyone make a mark after the first handful of elite prospects, and Colaprico’s ability to play multiple roles is probably going to see her stick for a long time on rosters in her pro career. She literally played all four midfield positions with Virginia in a 4-4-2 diamond this season and can play higher on the wing in a 4-3-3 as well. That’s the role I see her in at this level, and her service from out wide could provide the club with a different dimension in the offense if they take Williams or another speedster as well.

8 – CHI – Sofia Huerta – F – Santa Clara

I think the Huerta hype is overblown, but there aren’t many great forwards in this class, while teams usually trip over themselves to reach for offense. The Red Stars are pretty much down to Jen Hoy and Hayley Brock come WWC time, with both players more vertical threats. Huerta offers up the ability to run the channels and stretch play with her pace and athleticism, which could be a godsend for a side that may struggle for consistency in the midfield. It also isn’t out of the question that the Red Stars might reach for her at #5.

9 – BOS – Stephanie McCaffrey – F – Boston College

Yeah, I think the last thing Boston needs is another damn unproven forward, but apparently the intelligentsia are reporting that the club is enamored with her. McCaffrey’s stock has been blowing up since she was called up to the U23 team and subsequently held over with the full USWNT a little bit later. But she’s not been a consistent goalscorer at the collegiate level and has functioned as mostly making teammates better. That’s not a bad skill, but is it enough to make her a first round pick? Boston has greater needs, but I suspect they’ll lean this way…and maybe trade up to make sure it happens.
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NWSL Draft – What They Need – Chicago Red Stars

* = confirmed signed for 2015
(parentheses) = Potentially absent for Women’s World Cup

In A Nutshell:

Yeah, Chicago needs a lot of contingency plans to prepare themselves for the WWC. A truly worst case scenario would see them missing nine players for the WWC, though a few of the fringe players on that list are likely to miss out. Even so, the lack of superior options in each line of the field is troublesome, though the midfield, with potentially Vanessa DiBernardo, Alyssa Mautz, and Zakiya Bywaters may be best off. Still, the Red Stars better be hoping Rory Dames can unearth a few more gems, or 2015 could be a long slog come the middle of the season.

Biggest Needs: DMC, RB, CB, LM, CF, LB, backup GK

GK – (LeBlanc), Vancil

Much in the same boat as Houston are, Chicago will be without their #1 keeper for much of the season, with Karina LeBlanc set to be with Canada for the WWC. Unlike the Dash, Chicago’s situation in goal is a little more unsettled. The incumbent is Taylor Vancil, who went from being Kelsey Wys’ backup in Florida State to a solid understudy for the Red Stars the past two seasons. Is she a true #1 though? I’m not particularly sure, though she could send her stock soaring with a strong season. It may be easier said than done when the club’s top defenders are all absent though.

With LeBlanc aging, Chicago may well make a move to solidify the long-term future of the position at any rate. At the very least, Vancil’s going to need competition for the long stretch of the season in which LeBlanc will be away. It wouldn’t be a shock if the club spent one of its picks on a netminder, though given how Rory Dames was able to find a later round gem in Vancil, the club could leave it late in acquiring another young netminder.
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NWSL Draft 2015 – The Declared Player Big Board (w/ Notes!)

I’ll be adding player profiles through the day on Thursday, so keep refreshing. Full mock draft coming late Thursday.

1. Morgan Brian – MF (AMC) – Virginia

The one time Golden Child is now a franchise player after making good on her massive potential. Brian struggled at first to meet lofty expectations but lifted Virginia to new heights as a junior and senior despite being unable to inspire the Cavs to a much coveted national title. Penchant for piercing balls to spring runners in the final third should make her a vital conduit of creativity at both international and club levels. Shooting was wayward this season, but Brian will likely be used more as a creator than a finishing option at the next level. A blue-chip prospect and a no-brainer at #1.

2. Sam Mewis – MF (AMC) – UCLA

Was Mewis’ breakout senior season real or a mirage? Mewis had often flattered to deceive for three seasons in Westwood, teasing her unlimited potential but seemingly unable to put it all together to turn into the superstar midfielder that so many thought she was capable of becoming. But the light bulb clicked on this season it seems, and Mewis put the offense on her back at times, netting eleven goals against RPI Top 100 teams and boasting decent efficiency stats for a midfielder. The UCLA star has the build (if not totally the strength yet) to survive the battles in midfield at the next level and could turn into a key cog in an offense with the right guidance.

3. Abby Dahlkemper – D (CB) – UCLA

The total package at center-back. Strong, mobile, and smart, the Bruins’ defensive talisman has spent the last four seasons neutralizing opposing forwards in clinical fashion. Dahlkemper’s anticipation and discipline were perhaps best exemplified against Florida State in 2013′s College Cup final, where she broke up foray after foray into the final third with icy cool aplomb. Dahlkemper perhaps isn’t as strong in the air as Kristin Grubka or as good going forward as someone like next class’ top defender, Emily Sonnett, but she’s damn good in just about every area necessary for a center-back to excel. Plug her into a backline and reap the rewards for a decade.

4. Sarah Killion – MF (DMC, MC, AMC) – UCLA

Killion certainly isn’t the most dynamic midfielder in this class, but she might be the most complete one available to teams. Killion can do it all, from being a connective element between defense and attack, to being a playmaker in the final third, to shielding the backline as a defensive midfielder. It’s that last role in which she excels though, and which she’ll probably see the most time in at the next level. Great defensive midfielders aren’t easy to find at this level, and Killion’s ability in that role could be her meal ticket to greatness if she can make the transition to the next level. Considering her body of work with UCLA, you wouldn’t bet against her.

5. Danielle Colaprico – MF (AMC, LM, RM) – Virginia

Virginia’s Swiss army knife figures to be high in demand on draft day thanks to her skill set and versatility. Colaprico played in all four midfield positions in the Cavs’ 4-4-2 diamond formation as a senior and excelled in each role as well, though you figure she’s undersized to play in a defensive midfield role at the next level. That’s not to say that a creative boss couldn’t find a way to shield Colaprico and use her as a deep-lying playmaker. Still, I think the former Cav’s calling card at the pro level is out on the wing, where her aerial service from the flanks and diagonal balls on the ground could cause the most havoc.
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NWSL Draft – What They Need – Washington Spirit

* = confirmed signed for 2015
(parentheses) = Potentially absent for Women’s World Cup

In A Nutshell:

When the Spirit have all of their personnel, they look like a pretty formidable side. They’ve got the ability to bomb forward from the defense, a great keeper, and some solid pieces in the middle of the park. But they aren’t going to have their top personnel for much of the season. The defense is shaky, to say the least, without the club’s national team players, especially on the flanks. If Kerstin Garefrekes doesn’t return, the club is dangerously short on guile in midfield besides Christine Nairn and Amanda Da Costa unless the club makes a risky move to throw Ali Krieger or Crystal Dunn into midfield. And the frontline could collapse like a house of cards if Natasha Harding doesn’t adapt quickly. The Spirit really need more than a single draft pick, but they’ll have to make do.

Biggest Needs: LB, CF, WG, CB, backup GK

GK – (Harris), (Williams), *Wys

As is the case with FC Kansas City and Boston, Washington will probably be sweating out the months leading up to the WWC and the possibility of losing starting goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris for an extended period of time. Likely battling with two others for two USWNT roster spots, Harris’ absence would be a serious blow to the Spirit’s playoff hopes. Unlike the other clubs mentioned above though, the Spirit have taken proactive steps to fortify the position in hopes of having a solid backup plan in the event of Harris’ absence.

Chantel Jones probably took a step backwards last season, and the Spirit made an intriguing switch in trading for WNY’s Kelsey Wys. Wys began as backup last season but ended up starting a giant chunk of the season after injuries struck down AD Franch and Lydia Williams. While Wys may struggle to be a full-time #1 at the moment, she’s a tested option in goal and probably wouldn’t be out of her depth if Harris is absent.

Oddly, the club claimed Wys’ WNY teammate from last season, Lydia Williams on waivers. It doesn’t make much sense on paper given Williams’ likely absence herself with Australia this Summer, and it’d be a surprise to see her in Spirit colors this season.
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NWSL Draft – What They Need – Seattle Reign

* = confirmed signed for 2015
(parentheses) = Potentially absent for Women’s World Cup

In A Nutshell

The Reign will be looking to avoid the hangover that struck the Flash after losing in the final in 2013 and look well poised to do it. The defense and midfield that played so well for the entirety of the season return intact and should be able to pounce on opponents’ weaknesses mid-season during the WWC. Re-signing Beverly Yanez was key to the frontline during the WWC, but how much will the Reign miss Naho? There aren’t any glaring weaknesses here, meaning Seattle will likely be drafting for depth on Friday.

Biggest Needs: WF, CF, backup GK, CM depth, RB/CB depth

GK – *Kopmeyer, (*Solo)

The Reign are in the same boat as most of the rest of the league, likely to be heavily dependent on their backup keeper for most of the year. Hope Solo is the only USWNT GK assured of a roster spot for the WWC, and her legal issues aren’t going to make things any less complicated if things aren’t settled by the start of the season. There’s no questioning Solo’s ability though, and if she’s there and in the right frame of mind, she gives the Reign a major advantage between the sticks.

Solo’s absence for international duty puts the pressure on third-year keeper Haley Kopmeyer. Kopmeyer’s been the understudy for two seasons and will finally get an extended chance to shine in 2015. She’s looked raw but capable in her limited minutes thus far and will have a chance to take a big step forward this season. There’s a good chance the Reign will bring in some additional competition though, as they at least need some cover with Solo being gone for so much of the season.
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