Emily Banes – F – Towson – In one sense, it might be a season too late for Banes, who came out of 2013 having scored fifteen goals, as much as the previous three seasons combined. Banes did a hell of a job in putting up those goals on just fifty-six shots, though she also was inconsistent in the sense that she put just 48% of those shots on goal. If she can shake the rust off, Banes might stand a decent shot here considering how shaky the frontline looks on paper.
Che’ Brown – GK – Houston Aces (Radford) – You could make a legitimate case that Brown was the greatest Big South player of all-time, having won three Defensive Player of the Year awards in the league. Plays a high risk, high reward style in goal that sees her play well off her line and be quick to charge out to try and head off danger which can be a blessing and a curse at this level. An acrobatic flier that loves to make the big save. Average kicking game and can get burned by that risky style but could probably do a job as someone’s #3 with upside towards a #2 someday.
Erin Quinn – GK – Towson – Three-year starter in goal for a disappointing Towson program. Quinn was often kept busy by her less adept backline, forcing her into 93+ saves in each of her three seasons starting for the Tigers. Had a solid season in goal as a senior for the Tigers, which probably helped get her this shot at being Washington’s #3. Less developed than either Brown or Lillard though and may need more seasoning on the W-League reserves side for 2015.
Kelsey Pardue – MF – Longwood – Another familiar face who was with the reserve side the past two seasons. Was a consistent producer for Longwood through four seasons, culminating with two straight years of All-Region Third Team honors. Solid as a call-up but hard seeing her evolving into much more.
Jade Seabrook – D – Navy – A Patriot League legend for the Midshipmen, Seabrook graduated from Navy as a three time league Defensive Player of the Year. The superstar center-back certainly has the talent to get a shot at this level, but the big surprise is that she’d get an exception to do so from her commitment to the Navy. It remains to be seen if there are any limitations to Seabrook turning out for the Spirit this year, but if she’s available, the Navy defender could be a real steal in the end.
Jennifer Skogerboe – MF – UConn – Another local who’s featured on the Spirit’s reserve team in the past few seasons. Took on a more attacking role collegiately with the Huskies despite defensive duties as a semi-pro, netting six goals as a junior in a breakout season. Versatility helps her odds of sticking but probably not going to be an option on the full-time roster.
Added After Initial Preseason Roster Release
Emily Lillard – GK – Miami (FL) – Toiled away on some poor Miami (FL) teams after transferring from Arkansas early in her career. Displays solid explosiveness off her line and is a good 1v1 shot stopper with the athleticism to make some nice reflex saves. Comfortable with the ball at her feet and displays above-average kicking game while also able to take free kicks in her own end of the field or near midfield. Can be awkward in the air on crosses. Handling is a major liability, spills too many balls she should grab cleanly. Potential to grow into a backup somewhere but probably better suited for somewhere she can get major minutes to develop.
Released After First Roster Cuts
Tahnai Annis – MF – Florida – A brilliantly unique and talented player. Stands at just 5’1″ but overpowers many opponents in the air thanks to a great vertical leap and sheer tenacity. Netted nineteen goals in three years over in Iceland for a powerful Thor/KA side, doing what she does best: poaching goals with great timing and positioning, usually through late runs into the box. Could flourish in the right system with the right coaching, though a spot back in Europe could be more lucrative in the long run.
Bri Hovington – D – Penn State – Former U20 international never really put it together at college level despite a promising start to her career in 2010. Despite that, Hovington still ended up starting four seasons for the Big Ten powerhouse Nittany Lions. Played right-back and a little right wing, but Hovington didn’t really add much to the offense, taking just nine shots in her career and finishing with just three assists, including none as a junior or senior. A year removed from the college game, it remains to be seen if Hovington is dynamic enough for this level.
Hannah Kronick – F – Johns Hopkins – Goal machine at Division III level, netting eighty-two goals and thirty-six assists in four years. Adept with finishing with both her feet and with her head. Possesses a nice burst on her first step but doesn’t have overwhelming pace for this level. Efficiency dipped for two straight seasons after her sophomore campaign, with 2014 being her worst season in front of goal by far. And yet she still scored seventeen goals. Big step up in competition, but Kronick could be a project worth investing in, even if it’s not on the main roster right away.