NWSL – Who Are Ya? Camp Invitee Mini-Dossier – Houston Dash (UPDATED: 03/25/15)

Jazmyne Avant – D – Boston Breakers (Florida) – It’s probably going to be “three strikes, and she’s out” for Avant, who has already started and been released by Portland and Boston through the first two seasons of the NWSL. Last year, Avant was cut adrift midseason despite starting at left-back early for the strugglers. A player who can motor up the line but whose defense leaves much to be desired, Avant may have value as an energy player off the bench. Her pro experience may also give her a leg up going into the new campaign.

Allie Bailey – MF – Texas A&M – The reigning senior Four Factors champion, highlighting efficiency and efficacy in front of goal against top teams. Nine of her ten goals in 2014 were against RPI Top 100 teams, with six of those coming against RPI Top 50 sides. Bailey also scored with roughly one in every five shots while putting nearly sixty percent of her efforts on target. She’ll be a winger at the next level, likely on the left side, where she starred for A&M last season. A sleeper who the metrics say could be much more.

Jordan Day – GK – Texas A&M – Another off the conveyor belt of goalkeeping talent for the Aggies and probably one of their best netminders in their long history. Would’ve been All-America candidate had she not missed a chunk of 2014 through injury. Has great size and athleticism for the position and is a plus level shot stopper. Fearless in the air and has great command of her area while also being quick to spring off her line and into action. #3 here in all likelihood this year and has a great chance of sticking in the league long-term.

Jen LaPonte – D – Seattle Reign FC (Santa Clara) – Former youth international had a star crossed career in college with SCU, battling through serious knee injuries later in her tenure with the Broncos. Is quality if she’s healthy but has bounced around reserve level for past few years. Remains to be seen if she’s still got the wheels post-injuries to be viable at this level.

Cami Privett – MF – UC Irvine – Simple midfielder that functioned as a tremendously effective pivot at the base of UCI’s midfield for four seasons. Master of the quick, basic pass to keep the offense ticking over. Uses her size effectively in the air as well as a good heading presence. Not the most dynamic player going forward but a good fit on paper for a Waldrum-style team that wants to maintain possession and keep the ball flowing. Crowded field for time in central midfield though, meaning she may have to work her way up the ladder.

Lauren Silver – D – Florida – Another UF full-back, as apparently, Randy Waldrum has his eyes on collecting the whole set. Silver may also be known by some for featuring on Jamaica’s WNT during qualifying for this year’s WWC. Wasn’t a full-time starter for Florida until this past season and lacks the dynamism of many other wide defenders the Gators produce. Also undersized for this level at 5’2″ and may struggle to shine given roster competition.

Added After Initial Preseason Roster Release

Arin King – D – University of Toronto – A fixture in the Trinidad and Tobago backline as the Soca Princesses came agonizingly close to qualifying for this Summer’s Women’s World Cup. Considering Randy Waldrum bossed that team during that run, the Dash’s boss should be well acquainted with what his charge can do. The center-back may find the jump in competition level a perilous one though, having played at tiny University of Toronto collegiately while not having a big record at club level after college.

Jordan O’Brien – MF – Tulsa – Late camp addition looked like becoming one of Tulsa’s best ever players early in her career after being named C-USA Freshman of the year in 2010. Tailed off a bit for two years though before putting up a strong senior season to close out her collegiate career, netting three goals and seven assists, both career highs. Dash clearly want a look at her, but faces a ton of competition for time in a pretty crowded midfield for Houston.

Yadira Toraya – D – Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Kansas Wesleyan) – Two-time NAIA All-American with Kansas Wesleyan also saw time with the W-League’s Santa Clarita Blue Heat last season. A good scorer at a low level in college with ten goals as a senior. Played all over the pitch collegiately but probably will have to stick at full-back to make it at this level. A few years removed from the end of her college career and facing stiff competition from more seasoned options on the backline.

Moved To Other Camps

Tessa Andujar – D – Florida – Flying full-back was one of the most surprising of the players not taken in January’s draft. Ran hot and cold for the better part of three seasons in Gainesville before making The Leap as a senior, excelling as one of the nation’s top right-backs, coming through with ten assists, or four more than she had in three seasons before combined. Is undersized at 5’2″ and is much better going forward than in defense but has a shot here given the dearth in full-back depth.

Sam Harder – D – Denver – If Harder was three or four inches taller, she probably gets taken in the third or fourth round of the draft. The Pioneer star has a lot of positives that may ultimately get outweighed by one very big negative. First, the good. Harder’s a ball-playing center-back with a quick first step and a soft touch on the ball with the ability to deliver service on the ground and in the air. Harder’s also got a blistering free kick and also excels in service from deep. The bad? She’s 5’4″. That means she’ll need to move out wide to play on the backline (likely at right-back), though a move into midfield might not be the worst idea given her passing range. A great sleeper.

Taylor Leach – D – South Carolina – Big center-back has featured at the heart of South Carolina’s defense for three seasons after missing one year with an ACL injury and being used as a reserve forward as a redshirt freshman. Physical presence in defense who excelled for a defense that was consistently one of the nation’s best. Not the quickest defender though and can be guilty of clumsiness against quick and skilled forwards. Has a chance but needs to be partnered with an intelligent, mobile center-back partner.

Kelley Monogue – F – Texas A&M – One of college soccer’s great form players of the past half-decade, Monogue simply shreds opposing defenses when on form. Looked like a potential Hermann Trophy winner as a rookie, with nineteen goals and nine assists but struggled with injury the next two seasons despite being a workhorse on the pitch. Was back to her best this season, leading the nation in goals against RPI Top 50 and RPI Top 100 teams. Has a whip-like shot and gets the ball of her foot in blindingly fast fashion. Could play attacking midfield like she did with A&M this season and might develop into a real player to watch if her knees stay intact.

Left For Mexican WNT Residency

Anisa Guajardo – F – Boston Breakers (Pepperdine) – Seemed destined to be the punchline of a very bad joke after seeing zero minutes of action for a bad Boston side in 2013 despite being an allocated player for Mexico. Strong aerial presence despite not being the biggest player. Loves to get to the endline before cutting the ball back for rushing attackers. Gets another chance here after not making it through camp for the Dash in 2014 but odds appear stacked against her again.

Out Injured

Whitney Jaynes – D – Texas – Left-back is another in the wide open derby for full-back depth for the Dash. Willing to get physical with opposing players and dive into tackles but has questionable pace for this level. Veteran mainstay on a solid Texas defense this season and has an odd looping service into the final third that proved effective as a senior. Not likely to be the most technical of the players in camp at full-back for Houston and might have a hard time sticking.

Released After First Roster Cuts

Haley Carter – GK – Navy – Alum of the Naval Academy and a former Marine Corps officer is back for another season after her interesting tale last year. A popular figure around the Houston community and key part of the organization’s outreach but probably will struggle to make it to the active roster.

Laura Eddy – MF – Georgia – Formerly a player without a position after shuttling from center-back to forward and everywhere in between, Eddy settled into a defensive midfield position later in her career. Part of that was out of necessity after three ACL tears robbed Eddy of much of the explosive pace that underlined the beginning of her collegiate career. Still displays a great range of passing and superior close control with the ball at her feet. Loves to slide in with tackles. May not have the pace for this level but another who could likely thrive in Europe.

Lauryn Hutchinson – D – VCU – Should be a familiar face for Randy Waldrum, having played for his Trinidad & Tobago side at World Cup qualifying this past year. Left-back certainly has a chance given the Dash’s bleak numbers in depth on the backline, but is still a long way removed from consistent club level football and wasn’t particularly outstanding with the Rams in CAA play. A longshot.

Megan Kinneman – GK – LSU – Highly touted coming into college ranks but never really developed into anything more than an above average keeper with LSU. Vastly undersized for this level and probably not athletic enough to overcome her slight stature. Prefers to punch crosses away instead of catching and doesn’t have much of a vertical leap. Below average kicking game. Loves to spring off her line and chase down attackers, which could get her in trouble at this level. Probably not going to beat out Day for the reserve keeper role.

Taylor Nelson – D/MF – Long Beach State – Versatile standout from Big West powerhouse LBSU excelled as both a defensive midfielder early in her college career and as a center-back later in her career. Not the biggest prospect (at center-back at least) at 5’6″, so she may be better suited to her earlier duties in the middle of the park though she played better on defense for LBSU. Ability to play multiple positions might be her ticket to sticking.

Brooke Rice – D – Colorado – Right-back turned into a key figure on the backline for Colorado as a senior after a slow start to her career at Santa Clara. Technically strong with an ability to deliver long service and attack defenses with sharp diagonal cuts inside with the ball. A strong 1v1 defender in close quarters who uses her size to muscle attackers off the ball. Does not possess great pace, which is probably the lone knock against her. If she doesn’t make the grade here, it’s hard to believe she couldn’t do well for herself in Europe.

Ellie Rice – D – Santa Clara – Ball playing center-back has a bit of Becky Sauerbrunn given her level of comfort on the ball. Calm in possession and has a nice burst going forward, enabling her to challenge opposing players with her dribbling. Solid technically but would likely have to be paired with a bigger, stronger center-back that stayed at home to best complement her talents. A year removed from the college game but has a shot at sticking somewhere.

Claudia Saucedo – F – William Carey – Small school prospect will be looking to separate herself from a crowded field of contenders for minutes in the Dash attack. Miami native put up big numbers at NAIA level, netting twenty-one goals and ten assists as a senior and doing so with pretty efficient numbers to boot. Massive step up in competition though makes her a longshot to stick here right off the bat.

Quinny Truong – MF – Rice – One of Rice’s best ever players signed off from the Owls with a C-USA Midfielder of the Year award winning performance as Rice did the double in 2014. Truong is a versatile option capable of playing all across the pitch but does her best work as a central playmaker. Six assists this year was a career high though also a bit disappointing considering she had two of the league’s best forwards to work with. Stiff competition for roster spot but could stick if she can show some versatility.

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