Chelsea Archer – MF – Washington – This would be the Archer who played as a left-winger with the Huskies last season and not her twin sister, who played as a central midfielder. I think. A former U20 international, Archer’s never been a full-time starter here outside of her sophomore season and has hardly been the most productive option for UW, with just six career goals, including two this past season. Considering the club has plenty of midfield options and that Archer isn’t prolific in front of goal, she’s probably a longshot to stick.
Kate Bennett – MF – Washington – Came good as a fifth-year senior after a rather nondescript beginning of her collegiate career, first at Cal, and for her final two seasons, at Washington. Settled into a role as the club’s attacking midfielder behind a trio of forwards and finished with six goals, a career high. Scored some ridiculous goals from distance with UW and has a rocket of a shot from range. Not very efficient with the ball though and undersized for a primary attacking midfielder, meaning she’s a longshot to stick.
Savannah Coiner – D – Clemson – Towering center-back was a big part of Clemson’s rapid defensive improvement this season. Not the quickest player in central defense but has made a habit of winning last ditch tackles with nicely timed slides. A physical, uncompromising marker in defense. Was used on occasion as a target forward for the Tigers but unlikely to feature in a similar role at this level despite striking a nice ball. Thorns need defensive depth through the WWC, so she’s got a shot.
Taylor Comeau – MF – Cal – Deep-lying playmaker in midfield who found her offense as a senior, netting eight goals and seven assists as Cal’s best scoring threat with Ifeoma Onumonu sidelined. Is an Energizer bunny in midfield who doesn’t stop running and buzzes around as a ball winner. That’s not to say Comeau can’t provide scoring though, as she showed this season. Nice vision on the ball and has an explosive first step and the pace to play at this level. Crowded field in midfield for the Thorns, but Comeau’s a nice sleeper to stick.
Kelsey Haycook – F – La Salle – Metrics darling who excelled as a target forward and key goalscorer in four seasons for the A10 powerhouse Explorers. Plays the target forward role well, dominating in the air and being able to post up and hold the ball up for teammates to get in the game. Efficiency numbers are off the chart, and she also managed eleven goals against RPI Top 100 teams. Not just good with the ball off her head, a composed finisher with the ball at her feet as well. Doesn’t possess gamebreaking pace but is a pure scorer. Good shot to stick here early and should get paid somewhere to score.
Sarah Jackson – D – Santa Clara – Another SCU player trying to make it back to pro level after a season away having last played for the Broncos in 2013. Drifted in and out of the starting lineup for three seasons before having a breakout season as a senior, netting three goals and four assists. A bit of a Swiss army knife with the ability to play in a lot of positions. Might need to stick on defense given the club’s lack of depth there.
Alyssa Kleiner – D/F – Santa Clara – Las Vegas native had her senior season brought to an abrupt end after just twelve games this past year. Looked like a prospect to watch after rookie season but didn’t really develop into a special player after four years. Can play as a target forward up front but her professional future is likely at center-back. One of a ton of contenders trying to stick in central defense for the Thorns.
Emily Kruger – GK – Cal – Another back in the game after a year off. A longtime starter for some solid Golden Bear sides. Comfortable with the ball at her feet and has an above average leg and a cannon of an arm for starting counters with throws. Punches when she could catch at times and doesn’t have the softest of hands. Quick to charge off her line but not an explosive athlete. A chance at being a #3 if she can shake the rust off.
Zuri Prince – MF/F – Stephen F. Austin – You probably recognize from her ridiculous Zlatan-like goal with the bottom of her boot in her SFA career. It was one of ten goals as a senior, a career high, though her efficiency numbers, especially a 44% SOG rate don’t portend well for this level. Has good size but facing a wave of high-priced rivals for a roster spot up top, though she might be needed for forward depth once the WWC rolls around.
Meredith Speck – D – Yale – Pacey left-back was one of Yale’s all-time best players and capped off her collegiate career with another fine campaign this past season. Shook off injury problems early in her career to become a solid option on defense or in an attacking winger role. Undersized but heady player that can contribute on offense as well with a handful of goals and assists scattered throughout her Yale career. A Long Island Fury alum, so Riley probably knows what he’s got in the invitee.
Added After First Roster Cuts
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.
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.
Released After First Roster Cuts
Brittany Anghel – GK – AIK [SWE] (Syracuse) – Expat back stateside after stints in Sweden with Brommapojkarna and AIK. Not the tallest keeper but has a nice vertical leap and can hit the corners while also being aggressive for high crosses. Great shot stopper but runs of her line like a banshee at times and has inconsistent handling. Average to above average-ish leg, but kicking can be inconsistent. Not much more than a #3 at this level in all likelihood.
Shakira Duncan – F – West Florida – Jamaican international is one of the best Division II players of all-time, despite playing just two seasons with the Argos. Netted sixty-four goals and twenty-five assists in those two campaigns. Was the Reggae Girls’ most dangerous threat going forward in WWC qualifying this past year and will be trying to break through the small school glass ceiling surrounding pro WoSo in the U.S. A lot of raw potential, but consuming an international slot on a squad with plenty of them might force her elsewhere.
Melissa Fernandez – F – Cal State Northridge – Californian is a major longshot having graduated from Northridge after the 2012 season. Showed steady growth throughout her collegiate career though, culminating with a tremendous senior season that saw her win Big West Tournament MVP honors. Was never really very efficient though and wasn’t prolific before her scoring total went markedly up as a senior. Likely to find it tough sticking here with existing attacking talent.
Chrisalyn Fonte – MF – Nevada – Four-year starter but for a Nevada club that has hardly set the world alight. Not a big time scorer from midfield in four seasons, with a career high of five as a sophomore, and Fonte netted just a pair of goals as a senior in 2014. An above average Mountain West player, but above average probably isn’t going to separate her from the pack on this roster.
Krystyna Freda – MF – Winthrop – Listed as a midfielder despite being the Big South Conference’s all-time leading scorer. Doesn’t possess next level pace or acceleration and scored a lot of goals in college on sheer hustle (and poor defensive play). Efficiency numbers are average, but Freda just doesn’t have a record of being battle tested against top clubs, having not netted a goal against an RPI Top 100 club this year. Was said to be headed to Europe before camps started, and some seasoning there would probably benefit her in the end.
Natalia Ledezma – F – UC Irvine – Slight, shifty attacker will be vying for a roster spot after a year away from the game. Looked like a revelation in 2011 as a sophomore after transferring from UCLA, netting twelve goals and eight assists. Her star burned out rather quickly though, netting just nine goals combined in her final two seasons at UCI. An exciting player, but a mercurial one against some fierce competition for a roster spot here.
Courtney Nelson – D – Bucknell – Right-back shifted back and forth from the backline and midfield throughout her career with the Bison. Packs some offensive punch as evidenced by her scoring five goals and five assists as a sophomore winger in 2012. Versatility helps, but she was a very good but not great player for a middling Bucknell program, so she’s probably still a longshot given the competition she faces for a roster spot.
Devin Prendergast – D – UConn – A bit of a whirling dervish for the Huskies that made a name for herself at center-back late in her career. Too small to play centrally at the next level, so she’ll probably need to stick at either right-back or as an energy player in midfield. Good 1v1 marker and has nice close control and dribbling ability with the skill to shimmy around tackles. Has a cannon of a right foot. Doesn’t possess outstanding pace. Didn’t put it all together until late in her college career but looks like type of player that’s hard to cut.
Danielle Schulmann – F – UConn – College soccer nomad played at Maryland, Seton Hall, and UConn, settling in with the Huskies for her final two seasons. A spiky attacker who plays with a mean streak and is fearless in the air and tough in the tackle. Displays good off the ball movement to get into scoring positions. Solid efficiency numbers in her senior season, but that came a couple years ago. Will have to shake off the rust in a hurry to stand a chance of sticking.
Ayaki Shinada – D/MF – Lindsey Wilson – It’s based on five minutes of footage from a match during her senior season, but Shinada’s work during Lindsey Wilson’s 2013 NAIA final win was more than enough to raise a few eyebrows. Tremendously gifted in ability to turn through pressure and play both simple passes and killer balls with a minimum of touches. Also takes great set pieces. Level of competition wasn’t great, and Shinada played just twelve matches in 2014 but scored eleven goals in those games. Someone might not invest an international slot for her in the NWSL, but she’ll be getting paid to play somewhere.
Allie Sirna – MF/D – Tennessee – Indefatigable presence in the center of Tennessee’s backline for four years, having essentially started her entire career for the Lady Vols. Unfussy center-back who plays the simple ball well and has good anticipation and ability to read the game. Frequently stepped up and posted up forwards dropping deeper to pick up possession. Is vastly undersized at 5’3″ and doesn’t have the pace to compensate which would help for a move outside. Best shot is as a defensive midfielder but probably isn’t dynamic enough physically for this level.