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2010 WPS Draft: A Look Back

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Now that the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer draft is in the rear-view mirror, clubs can sew up their final international deals and set their sights on training camp ahead of the upcoming season.  Before they do, let’s take a look at how all nine WPS teams fared on draft day.  Keep in mind that no draft can be completely analyzed for many years and that what follows are mere opinions.

FC Gold Pride (A)

Kelley O’Hara figures to be the perfect compliment for Christine Sinclair and Ali Riley is a speedy outside back capable of joining the attack.  That pair should help FC Gold Pride see immediate dividends from their first round.  Later picks such as defender Becky Edwards and goalkeeper Erin Guthrie provide much-needed depth.  Combine them all with recent trade acquisition Camille Abily and FC Gold Pride has enjoyed a fruitful offseason.

Los Angeles Sol (A-)

Five years from now we may well look back and say the Sol were the ultimate winners of the 2010 draft.  For now they will have to be patient.  No. 5 overall Nikki Washington and No. 14 overall Michelle Enyeart are both recovering from knee injuries.  Washington could be ready for the season while Enyeart has June or July circled on her calendar.  That leaves Casey Nogueira as the immediate centerpiece of their draft.  Nogueira slumped for parts of her senior year at North Carolina but has a flare for the dramatic like few others.

Washington Freedom (B+)

Jim Gabarra wanted to improve defensively and got a jewel right off the bat, Colorado’s Nikki Marshall at No. 7 overall.  Getting North Carolina defender Kristi Eveland at No. 36 was a coup and Lauren Robertson will provide key goalkeeping depth.  Freedom stayed away from forwards though so it will be important for Abby Wambach and Lisa De Vanna to pick up where they left off in ’09.  Carly Dobratz was a strong pick at No. 18.

Atlanta Beat (B)

Wound up with the player most likely to make an immediate impact when they took Tobin Heath with the top pick.  South Carolina defender Blakely Mattern could wind up being a pleasant surprise and Gareth O’Sullivan used most of his back end picks on players capable of filling the back of the net.  Internationals aside that appears to be the Beat’s weak point heading to camp.

Boston Breakers (B)

The 2009 Breakers struggled to finish and took an immediate stride to rectify that by taking Lauren Cheney at No. 2 overall.  Head coach Tony DiCicco said the opinions he solicited were unanimous that Cheney was the best forward available.  The Breakers then filled two more needs by making Alyssa Naeher the first goalkeeper off the board and later grabbing Santa Clara back Jordan Angeli.  Gina DiMartino’s stock fell off some during her senior season, but who thought she would be there for DiCicco at No. 56? She could be the steal of the lower rounds. 

Chicago Red Stars (B-)

The Red Stars were the anomaly of the league in 2009.  Emma Hayes correctly went with defense when she took UNC’s Whitney Engen at No. 4, even though the club’s eclectic mix of attacking talent failed to produce even a goal per game last season.  Second round pick and Engen’s college teammate Jessica McDonald could help rectify that.  Losing Caroline Jonsson on the eve of the draft forced their hand to take a keeper at No. 24, but they wound up with a quality one in Kelsey Davis.

Sky Blue FC (B-)

The league champions had only two of the first 26 picks, but made good on both taking versatile Brittany Taylor at No. 6 and Penn State product Katie Schoepfer at No. 26.  Taylor figures to help defensively while Schoepfer could be of use in the goal-scoring department—despite the title run, it should not be forgotten that Sky Blue FC notched just 19 goals in 20 regular season matches.  Taylor is currently participating in a National Team camp which can only aid her transition to WPS.  A late day trade brought the rights to Jennifer Anzivino, who grew up less than an hour from Yurcak Field in Middletown, NJ and played her college ball there for Rutgers.

Philadelphia Independence (C)

The Independence had the worst day of any team at the draft, but this grade comes with the caveat that the club used its glut of picks to acquire veteran players Amy Rodriguez, Allison Falk, and Val Henderson.  That trio will help tell the tale of the day as much as any of their five picks (the rights to a sixth pick were traded).  They had only one pick in the top 30 and veered slightly off the beaten path by going with LSU midfielder Malorie Rutledge.  Taking Dani Collins made for a nice story, but they could just as easily have invited her to training camp and used the pick on someone else.

Saint Louis Athletica (D)

The last team to pick when it was finally their turn at No. 17, Athletica spent the day bolstering their attacking presence.  Kristina Larsen and Veronica Perez will vie to be a suitable partner up top for Eniola Aluko.  Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will have her work cut out for her playing behind Hope Solo but is undeniably good enough to play professionally.


  1. How is it trading integrity to acknowledge that some of the players are attractive and take advantage of that in marketing? By the same logic, our President lacks integrity, as his looks were certainly a part of the appeal of his campaign. He didn’t take off his shirt or pose for Cosmo, but the campaign wisely put him in situations that allowed his vitality and attractiveness to help get out his message.

    Women’s sports leagues should do the same. It is no coincidence that Brandy Chastain remains the iconic female figure in American team sports.

    Get off your high horse. It isn’t as if any women’s league is raking in money hand over fist. The only one that hasn’t failed is losing money and survives only due to NBA charity. The current approach is not working. It’s time to try something that might.

  2. I will have to say that 4 of those chicks are way hot (from left #2, 3, 4, 5), with two others being way cute ( from left #6, 7). The remaining two are dogs (including the Sky Blue chick, unfortunately). The one third from left is the hottest.

  3. I would have to agree with the grades for the most part.

    FC Gold Pride literally has solid players with EACH PICK.

    LA Sol: Definitely made their outside midfielders much stronger, will be interesting who will be up top with Marta, don’t necessarily think Noguiera will play up top.

    If the guys reading this blog wanna see a truly gorgeous WPS Draft pick…wait til “maybe” next years draft for Alex Morgan of Berkeley to be the #1 or #2 pic.

  4. but only one side is being oppressed. men as individuals need to understand how they fit into the greater force of sexism and act responsibly.

  5. My wife only enjoys watching Argentinian and Italian soccer with me because of the guys with their pretty hair. It goes both ways.

  6. There’s an obvious reason it is easier to sell professional women’s soccer than women’s basketball to male sports fans. It’s the same reason women’s tennis did much better in the Kournikova-Hingis era than with Navratolova-Everett, and some of the newcomers on the LPGA tour are already much more popular than Se Ri Pak or Annika Sorenstam ever were.

    If the powers that be would stop running from this fact and embrace it, their leagues would be much more successful.

  7. Typical testosterone fueled immaturity for those grading the gals on their looks. I guess that is normal but I will really be worried when you dbags start grading the looks of the men who were drafted by the MLS….

  8. Forget Wake Forest and their MLS factory, top 5 WPS picks all came from the same team. Had to point that out as a Pali Blues fan 🙂

  9. I don’t see how the Los Angeles Sol gets an A-. I would give them more like a B-. They drafted two players who are coming off serious knee injuries and one won’t even be ready to play until June. The transition from college to pro is difficult enough without coming off a serious knee injury. This is not the smartest move, considering the Sol traded away their best attacking midfielder (Abily) a couple of weeks back. Furthermore, you can’t look at the team in 5 years because the WPS won’t likely last that long (I hope it does, but am skeptical).

    Maybe Dan L. can answer why the WPS didn’t announce that the Sol had parted ways with their coach? What sort of professional league or team parts ways with their coach who got them to the championship match and says nothing about it? I find that very strange and was wondering where Abner Rogers was, as he wasn’t in the pictures from draft day. I had to dig to find that he was no longer with the team. Imagine if they canned Rafa Benitez and nobody said anything! And apparently AEG is in the process of selling off its stake in the Sol? I know they weren’t invested in the Sol for the long run, but this couldn’t be a good sign for the league, right?

  10. I don’t follow the WPS, so as an outsider, I have no idea where FC Gold Pride or Sky Blue FC play. Any recap on the Chicago Fire’s draft picks?


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