Monthly Archives: March 2016

NWSL 2016 – Crunching The Numbers Before Final Roster Cuts

So here’s the rosters current as of today’s twenty-five player deadline. I’ve divided each team up into “signed” and “unsigned” sections to give a glimpse of how many spots are “open” for each team, though most of those spots figure to be taken by draft picks who haven’t signed yet. The only draftees I have as being signed at this point are Katie Bowen for FCKC and Christen Westphal for Boston, though feel free to correct me if you see something wrong.

Finally, positional listings are what I have on my books and not what teams have listed right now, so YMMV.

Boston Breakers

Signed (20)

GK – Kranich, Stout
DEF – Elby, Engen, Kallman, King, Lazo, Pathman, Westphal, Wood
MF – Farrelly, Mewis, Salem, Schillgard, Schoepfer, Verdoia, Zerboni
FW – Marlborough, McCaffrey, Simon

Unsigned (4)

GK – Smith
DEF – Strom
MF – Ratcliffe
FW – Krieghoff

Chicago Red Stars

Signed (15)

GK – Dalton, Naeher
DEF – Gilliland, Johnson, Johnston, Short
MF – Colaprico, DaCosta, DiBernardo, Luba, Mautz
FW – Hoy, Huerta, Press, Walls

Unsigned (13)

GK – Smallidge
DEF – Brown, Gorden, Jordan, Krauser, Naughton
MF – Comeau, Malone-Povolny, Pappalardo, Raetzman, Roller
FW – Flaws, Lopez

FC Kansas City

Signed (16)

GK – Barnhart, Rowland
DEF – Averbuch, Bowen, Sauerbrunn, Taylor
MF – Buczkowski, Frisbie, Laddish, O’Reilly, Scott, Tymrak
FW – Groom, Kastor, Silva, McCarty

Unsigned (9)

DEF – Andujar, Arlitt, Karas, Menchel, Reed, Sesselmann, Silver
MF – Labonta
FW – Newfield
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – WNY Flash

(Welcome to part ten of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Carolina Arias – MF – None

Colombian enters camp on a wave of momentum having featured prominently at right-back for her nation during a breakout Women’s World Cup last Summer. A little undersized at 5’4”, and positional listing on the preseason roster would seem to indicate a move up the pitch may be in order if she’s to make it. Hard to take a flier on someone with so little top level experience at club level, but the Flash do have an international slot still available, so she does have a small chance of hanging around.

Dana Costello – F – Monmouth

Another youngster who has been away from the pro WoSo scene for a few years hoping to catch on now. Costello was a four-year starter and star for Monmouth who raked in the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year award in 2013 as a senior and left with twenty-eight career assists, second at the school only to someone you may have heard of, Christie Rampone. Never topped more than eight goals a season for the Hawks though and was a pretty inefficient shooter in front of goal to boot. Flash have a glut of forwards on the main roster though, so her odds of sticking aren’t great.

Taylor Leach – F – South Carolina

Was one of 2015’s top undrafted players and tried to catch on here as an amateur and will look to do so again this season. Why she’s listed as a forward is anybody’s guess, as Leach played three seasons at center-back in college for South Carolina after beginning her career as a reserve attacker. Was a very good central defender for a traditionally stingy Gamecock defense but may not have that extra gear to make the transition to the next level. Club definitely will need some reserve center-backs given the Olympics, so Leach may well see the field at some point this season for WNY.

Courtney Niemiec – D – La Salle (Portland Thorns)

Not exactly a surprise that Niemiec, as a Riley favorite, is at least being given a chance to win a roster spot as an invitee. Caught on as an undrafted free agent with the Thorns in 2014 and started ten matches for the club but ended up being marginalized last season and eventually waived midseason despite starting three matches early for the club. Played right-back often for the Thorns but has the size to play centrally. Versatility could help her win a roster spot again but hasn’t shown much more than being a replacement level player in the league so far.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Washington Spirit

(Welcome to part nine of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Sarah Adams – MF – Georgetown (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft Prospect #76)

Versatile Hoya alum is listed as a midfielder but played right-back and up front for Georgetown when asked, and ability to play multiple positions may be key to getting a look here as well. Four-year starter didn’t do much on the stat sheet in terms of goals, so finding a role on defense may ultimately be her ticket to sticking. Spirit are pretty much stacked on defense but may need some right-back cover down the road, so Adams may have a long-term future here if she impresses.

Yanara Aedo – MF – None

Chilean was probably seen as something of a long-term project upon signing with the Spirit and played with the reserve team last season. Certainly did well for herself, including scoring both goals in the team’s W-League final triumph in late July. Spirit still have an international slot open on the main roster and could use with a little bit more offensive thrust from the midfield, so she could stick if really impressive in camp. However, the numbers game overall likely means another year on the reserve squad.

Melissa Downey – F – Georgetown (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft Prospect, Unranked)

The very rare graduate transfer from an Ivy League school, Downey began her collegiate career at Princeton and was pretty nondescript for the Tigers, seemingly seeing her tenure end with a whimper after a serious injury early into her senior year. Surprisingly popped up with the Hoyas as a fifth-year senior but was used mostly as a super sub, scoring five goals on the year to finish fifth on the team in scoring. Local product certainly has the brains to succeed at this level, but with the forward field already crowded, Downey’s unlikely to survive the first cut.

Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz – D – Michigan State (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft Prospect #37)

One of the best players not to have been drafted in January. Fiebernitz is a little bit older than most top level prospects being a fifth-year senior at Michigan State this past season but has played like a pro for four seasons with the Spartans, including having another great year as a senior. Not the tallest center-back but very good in the air. Also has a decent range of passing and ability to step up and intercept passes from the backline. Hard to stick on this roster, but good enough to get paid somewhere.

Didi Haracic – GK – Loyola (MD) (WNY Flash)

Veteran keeper has now bounced around the league as everyone’s favorite emergency option for a few years. Most notably started a match for the WNY Flash in 2014 and did well for herself considering the circumstances. Probably could have followed the path of some other third-string keepers and grabbed a paycheck in Europe but has chosen to hang around the NWSL hoping for a break. Will likely begin the new season as the #3 here again but will almost assuredly be the reserve option when Stephanie Labbe is on international duty.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Sky Blue FC

(Welcome to part eight of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Brittany Anghel – GK – Syracuse (AIK)

Former Syracuse keeper made the rounds in Sweden a few years ago with minnows AIK and Brommapojkarna before coming back stateside for a few unsuccessful stints in preseason camps with Portland and FC Kansas City. Decent athlete despite not being overly tall but makes bad decisions off her line and doesn’t have a consistently great leg. Certainly found the right situation though, as she’s probably no worse than what the club have for other keepers right now.

Nicole Baxter – MF – William & Mary (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft Prospect #62)

Doesn’t have great size but is a sparkplug in midfield who can do a little bit of everything. Excelled with a W&M side that has been a perennial contender for honors for decades. Had a breakout season as a senior, nabbing ten assists this past year after nine combined the previous three seasons. Not going to do a lot of scoring herself at this level. A little bit simplistic with her game but still effective. Team needs midfield depth, so she’s got a shot.

Rachel Breton – MF – Rutgers (Amazon Grimstad)

A frequent name around SBFC preseason camp, Breton’s back again in 2016 trying to win a full-time spot here. Broke camp early last season to sign with Norwegian strugglers Amazon Grimstad, a move which didn’t really work out considering they were relegated, with Breton featuring in six matches for the team. Breton never really stood out at college level but has persevered and could work her way into a full-time contract considering her versatility and the team’s need in certain positions.

Kelly Conheeney – MF – Virginia Tech

A rather shocking name and potentially an unbelievable story if Conheeney is able to step foot on an NWSL field in 2016. For three seasons, from 2009-2011, Conheeney was the best player in the history of Virginia Tech soccer, scoring twenty-six goals and adding twenty-three assists as a midfielder while also netting fourteen game winning goals. That was enough to put her on top of many categories despite having played just three full seasons. Concussions ended her career after four games in 2012 though, and if she can make it back four years later, it’d be a wonderful story. Had mid-round NWSL talent when healthy, but can she shake off the rust and find that form at the pro level?

Theresa Diederich – MF – Alabama

Back again with SBFC after seeing some time in mop-up duty in three matches last year with the club. Decent scorer with the Crimson Tide as a collegian but toiled in obscurity for a mediocre program for most of her four seasons. Not that efficient with her offense, with her numbers dipping noticeably as an upperclassman. Probably a spot open in midfield for someone to take, so she’s got a shot considering her experience with the club.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Seattle Reign FC

(Welcome to part seven of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Morgan Batcheller – D – Cal State Fullerton (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft Prospect #46)

An astute undrafted pickup from the Reign, taking in one of the keys of powerhouse Cal State Fullerton’s success this past season. Not an overnight star with the Titans but came good as an upperclassman to establish herself as one of the West Coast’s best center-backs as of late. Brave diving into tackles and played against some top attackers despite Fullerton being a mid-major. Reign have a few spots open at the end of the bench, so she’s got a shot of sticking here.

Kelly Beck – D – Seattle University (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft Prospect #89)

Local product from mid-major contender Seattle U was a three-year starter for the Redhawks and was one of the WAC’s best defenders for much of her tenure. Has good size and competes well aerially off of set pieces. Question is if Beck can hit the ground running against top level competition, as she didn’t see much of it in the WAC. Has potential but definitely needs time to develop at the professional level.

Kate Bennett – MF – University of Washington (Valerenga)

It’s the second go-round in a Pacific Northwest team’s camp for Bennett, who hung around with the Thorns last season and saw action in one game as a reserve. Did her best work as a scoring option from an attacking midfield role in college and has a cannon of a long-range shot. Played in Norway for half a season with strugglers Valerenga after her NWSL stint. Reign needs midfield depth, so she could win a job here.

Rebecca Candler – F – Indiana

Graduated from IU in 2013 and did so with momentum, having scored nine goals and adding nineteen assists in those two seasons combined. Not particularly efficient, as five goals as a senior came on a whopping fifty-six shots. With the long layoff since her college career and seemingly no pro experience since, the question is if she can shake the rust off to be a factor here. Reign could do with another forward option early in the season, so if she can, she may win a roster spot.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Portland Thorns

(Welcome to part six of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Celeste Boureille – MF – Cal

Rookie midfielder wasn’t ranked on my final big board, but that’s solely due to her not being on the initial draft list. Had never been a big star at collegiate level but had her best season as a senior, earning All-Pac 12 Second Team honors, no small feat in that league. Versatile, with the ability to play as a central midfield or as a left-winger. Doesn’t possess gamebreaking speed but has technical skill and flair. Uses size well in the air. Could be a valuable reserve considering amount of international absences to come on this roster.

Anna Maria Gilbertson – F – Notre Dame

Another player who would have been on the final big board had she been on the initial league released list. Had struggled to establish herself as a starter with the Irish until his season and scored thirteen goals in 2015, exactly as many as she had in three previous seasons combined. Great scoring record against top teams playing in the nation’s best WoSo conference. Not particularly efficient and a high volume shooter. Definitely worth a flyer and good developmental prospect that could fit on the end of the bench as an undrafted rookie.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Orlando Pride

(Welcome to part five of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Leah Fortune – MF – Lee University (Charlotte Lady Eagles)

This one’s a long, complicated story. Fortune was once a Brazilian youth international seen as a top level prospect in DI to the point that she looked like a vital cog for the University of Texas once she signed there. Then, astoundingly, Fortune quit on Texas in the middle of a season to pursue a “pro” opportunity in Brazil. A stopover at then-NAIA school Lee University and a shredded ACL later, Fortune’s trying the circuitous route to the pros. Unfortunately, while still talented, she’s been a shell of her past form after her serious knee injury, making her a longshot here.

Julia Kantor – GK – Florida Tech

Dual-sport athlete played both soccer and lacrosse during her stint at Florida Tech. Well traveled player also had short stints at Hofstra and JUCO side Eastern Florida State. Has size but has never really played at a high level collegiately and was never a superstar at DII level, though she was very good as a senior. With no other keeper here, she could be the backup when Ashlyn Harris is away with the USWNT, but Kantor still seems exceptionally raw on paper.

Chelsea Leiva – F – Florida International (KR)

Another player with local ties having played for Miami’s FIU during a pretty productive college career. Took her game over to Iceland after graduating and scored six goals in sixteen matches for strugglers KR, which probably doesn’t help her chances of making it over here. Pride might need an extra body in attack when Morgan and Belanger are gone, so she might have a small chance at sticking as a reserve.

Sierra Lelii – MF – Nova Southeastern (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft #87)

Another small school local who had a big senior season to get on people’s radars. Had tremendous efficiency as a senior with the Sharks with eighteen goals on eighty-eight shots. Looked good finishing on tape, but can she separate from pro level defenders? Will obviously get a look along with other midfield invitees but still pretty raw coming out of college and may need a while to develop.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Houston Dash

(Welcome to part four of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Monica Alvarado – MF – TCU

Mexican international is another of the diaspora El Tri called up to fill out they ranks, and it’s been a boon for Alvarado, who’s been on the past two WWC rosters. Was little more than an average player at collegiate level for some dire Mississippi State and TCU teams though. Hasn’t seemed to have done much at club level after graduating following 2012 college season. Long odds to stick here.

Allie Bailey – F – Texas A&M

One of the league’s best success stories from the ‘amateur’ ranks, Bailey made history as the first reserve player to score in an NWSL game last season and made seven appearances after being touted as a sleeper to watch in the preseason. A bit surprising that she hasn’t been picked up by someone, either domestically or internationally. Could probably get paid for somewhere, but will it be here?

Bianca Brinson – F – Texas A&M (Boston Breakers)

Another example of the Breakers’ woeful drafting over the years, Boston wasted a pick on the speedster in the 2015 draft’s third round. Brinson has tantalizing athleticism and a big motor but is a year removed from a great senior season with the Aggies in 2014. There was talk of moving Brinson to full-back in Boston, but nothing really came from it. Remains to be seen if that’s the thinking here as well, but she probably isn’t the worst option for an amateur fill-in.

Haley Carter – GK – Navy

Carter’s tale as a former Marine Corps officer is well known and lauded, making her one of the Dash’s most popular figures, even if she hasn’t suited up in an NWSL match for them. Neutrals will be eager for her to get into a match as a reserve, and she’ll have a chance to be the Dash’s emergency keeper when Lydia Williams is with Australia on international duty.

Janelly Farias – D – UC Irvine

If Carter’s the longest of longshots, Farias cannot be far behind. Farias played just one season at New Mexico and one at UC Irvine in college but was given a shocking recall to the Mexican WNT this past season and found herself playing in Olympic qualifying for El Tri earlier this year. Dash need help in terms of defensive depth but overall lack of top level experience likely keeps the odds of her making the final cut very steep.

Tessa Gavilsky-Florio – F – Stetson (Malbacken)

One of the most well traveled American exports in Europe over the past half-decade. Gavilsky-Florio finally is getting a well deserved chance at this level after three seasons with Swedish side Mallbacken. Was a very good collegiate player though not quite an All-America calibre player with the Hatters. Didn’t have a great scoring record in Europe and has accrued multiple knee injuries as a pro so far, but making the roster would be a big statement for perseverance.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – FC Kansas City

(Welcome to part three of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Tessa Andujar – D – Florida

Former Gator was one of the top full-backs in, the admittedly weak, crop from the 2015 NWSL Draft. Got a cup of coffee in both Houston and Portland’s preseason camps but couldn’t manage to stick. Had just one big season in college, is a bit undersized at 5’2”, and comes from a school with the reputation of producing defenders that can’t defend at this level. But FCKC needs defensive depth, especially with the Olympics likely to take away a few players, so she’s got a shot.

Jessie Ayers – MF – Colorado College

Another from last year’s draft class, Ayers was taken by FCKC in the third round last season but couldn’t stick on a loaded FCKC roster that just didn’t have any room at midfielder for her to get a shot. Was a mid-major terror for CC but had her stock dip after the club struggled when she was a senior. Lots of competition again in the middle of the park, though the club might be able to use a dynamic option off the bench.

Kelsey Brouwer – GK – Middle Tennessee State (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft #63)

One of many mid-major goalkeeping standouts from this past draft class. Came into 2015 with plenty of starting experience but only really began to shine as a senior with the Blue Raiders. Has size and some upside but not a super athlete on film. FCKC doesn’t need an emergency keeper with neither of their signed GKs likely to be at the Olympics, so Brouwer may be auditioning for someone else.

McKenzie Karas – D – Washington (Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft #43)

One-time project for the University of Washington ended up being one of the Pac-12’s best defenders by the end of her collegiate career. Has size, strength, and a willingness to use them to force attackers off the ball. Lacks the pace to excel at this level though in all likelihood. Definitely someone that will need to be brought along gradually but some potential here.

Lo’eau Labonta – MF – Stanford (Sky Blue FC)

Fourth round pick by SBFC last season stuck on their roster for a handful of matches before getting the axe. Was a big match scorer in college for Stanford, but despite the style of play connection between college and new club, LaBonta’s not a prototypical Stanford playmaker from a #10 role. She is more of a direct scoring midfielder though, and that could be something that makes her stand out on a roster without players of that skill set.
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NWSL 2016 – Hi, My Name Is – Preseason Invitee Dossier – Chicago Red Stars

(Welcome to part two of a ten-part series taking a look at the non-roster invitees to each NWSL club’s preseason camp. I’ve got a good bead on most of these players, but there are gaps that need to be filled, so comments are appreciated.)

Kassidy Brown – D – Illinois

Local product is a long way removed from her college career having exhausted her eligibility after the 2013 season with the Illini. Played multiple roles at college level but size probably makes her a center-back at this level. Got a lot of experience but was never a standout with Illinois in four seasons. Club needs center-back depth but faces a major battle to stick.

Taylor Comeau – MF – Cal (Apollon Limassol)

Played in nine matches as an amateur for the Thorns last season before hoofing it to Cyprus to play in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Showed some sparks of potential in her time with the club but also looked far from the finished product. Has enough upside to likely be one of the top reserves here at least.

Madi Krauser – D – Colorado [Chris’ 2016 NWSL Draft #50]

A raw prospect who just started playing on defense this past season after playing earlier in her career as a forward that netted seven goals and ten assists her first two years with Colorado. Not tremendously quick but faster with the ball than without. Can play on either flank. Needs seasoning but could see time as a reserve this season.
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