Megan Brigman – D – Seattle Reign FC (North Carolina) – A draft pick last year for the Reign, Brigman was unable to distinguish herself in a loaded crop of defenders, playing little for the regular season champs. A big and quick defender with the physical tools to compete for a roster spot, Brigman will be trying to earn a contract on the main roster. There are a lot of numbers in the backline already though, so Brigman will have to impress in the preseason to stick on the roster from the start of the season.
Dominika Conc – MF – Tennessee-Martin – Slovenian international is trying to become the first player from her nation to compete in NWSL and (probably) pro WoSo in the U.S. And she’s got a fair shot at it too. Something of a cross between a box-to-box midfielder and a playmaker, Conc is physical enough to win balls while having a tremendous range of passing. And flair. Oh, so much flair. Flicks, backheels, and even a Cruyff turn or two. The Slovenian is great in tight spaces and made defenders look like fools constantly in the OVC.
Kristen Hamilton – F – Denver – Draft pick from last season gets a second chance to stick after getting injured in last year’s camp. Was one of the most decorated mid-major players of all-time, winning player of the year honors in three different conferences for the nomadic Pioneers. Last year of college was marked with fourteen goals, twelve assists, and great efficiency numbers across the board. Given the Flash’s lack of proven forward depth, she’s got a chance of sticking if she can shake the rust off.
Didi Haracic – GK – Loyola (MD) – A familiar face, as she was the club’s keeper when Lydia Williams and Kelsey Wys were both out injured in 2014. Had an outside shot of being drafted coming into her senior season at Loyola, but her club suffered through a horrific season that likely scuttled those hopes. Neither of WNY’s top keepers are likely to be called up this season to WNTs, so Haracic isn’t going to be more than emergency cover here but might be trade bait for someone else.
Pia Rijsdijk – F – Alabama – Dutch forward is a bit of a surprise as she was hurt for most of 2014 and never really grew past being a good but not great SEC level forward. Played just under four hundred minutes in seven matches last season, netting just two goals in that action. Had scored seven goals in each of the previous two seasons with underwhelming efficiency numbers in each. Not likely to do enough to warrant using an international slot on her, especially considering the Flash already have two international forwards signed.
Chelsea Stewart – D – Boston Breakers (UCLA) – Yes, really. Unceremoniously dropped in allocation status by Canada after 2014, Stewart will be trying to rescue her professional career after an unimpressive rookie season with Boston last year. Many were skeptical at Stewart being allocated in the first place, and she did little to allay that cynicism, struggling to break into a lineup that was bottom of the league for much of the season. Played at center-back and central midfield for Breakers last year but played some on the flanks in college. Versatility will be her key in sticking here, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Mami Yamaguchi – MF – Yunogo Belle [JPN] (Florida State) – Yamaguchi’s professional career hasn’t quite gone the way most envisioned it after the Japanese international won the Hermann Trophy with FSU in 2007. Yamaguchi has bounced around Sweden and her homeland mostly, taking on more of a central midfield role than out and out scorer. Yamaguchi will probably not have fond memories of her first stint in pro WoSo, with the hapless Atlanta Beat in WPS. Given her experience, Yamaguchi would seem a decent bet to make this roster, even if she does take up an international slot.
(Reportedly) Added After Initial Preseason Roster Release
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.
Released After First Roster Cut
Shanna Hudson – D/MF – Los Angeles Blues (Cal State Northridge) – Another who should be familiar with Charlie Naimo, having played for his Los Angeles Blues club in the W-League. Collegiate career with both USC and then Cal State Northridge was not particularly notable. Has seen more success as a key member of the Haitian Women’s National Team in recent years. Can play as a center-back or central midfielder, though the Flash seem to have enough of the latter. Maybe a spot or two open on defense, so she’s got a chance.