Posts by Jess

How to stop plantar fasciitis

Are you have Suffering from a constant sharp pain and/or tightness around the arch of your foot? If you are then you might be suffering from what is known as plantar fasciitis (PF), which is when the plantar fascia which supports the arch of your foot and connects the heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed or damaged.

Plantar Fasciitis causes foot pain that is typically found around the heel and arch of the foot. This foot pain generally gets worse during activity and in the morning whilst you are just taking your first footsteps of the day.

PF is really common amongst runners and makes up about 10% of all running injuries. However PF isn’t just an injury that runners and athletes get as it also can affect people who do not run or play sport,

-People who work for long periods on their feet often get PF. Standing for long period especially on hard surfaces can cause your bodyweight to cause a build up of pressure underneath the soles of your feet that can cause damage to your foot and especially your plantar fascia!
-PF is quite common in older people too. As we get older the ligaments and tendons in your feet will become weaker and unable to properly support your feet also the mobility in your joints will also become more limited causing extra strain on the Plantar Fascia as a result.
-PF can also develop in people who are overweight as being overweight can cause more pressure on the arches of the feet than normal.

Runners and athletes, however have extra things to worry about when it comes to plantar fasciits because of the extra forces and impacts that are linked with playing sport and running, for example the main causes of PF in athletes and athletes are:

-Persistent shocks weakening the plantar fascia by causing micro tears to develop and becoming inflamed.
-Having tight hamstrings and/or Achilles tendons can cause the plantar fascia to be pulled back causing it to become tight as well leaving it more susceptible to being overstretched.
-Wearing footwaer that does not support your arches properly or positions your foot abnormally such as elevating your heel too much can also lead to PF

More often than not though biomechanical imbalances in the body such as an imbalance in the hips and backs is the main reason why plantar fasciitis develops. The reason why biomechanical imbalances cause plantar fasciits is that they can result in small compensations in your gait which put far more stress on your legs and feet than there should be.

Treatments

When treating plantar fasciitis it is important to remember that it is an inflammation injury. For treatment to work it is important to find out what the underlining causes of the inflammation are and address them. For the majority of sporting people with PF the cause of the inflammation is because of overuse which can be cured with sufficient resting of the feet, in order to minimize strain on the Plantar Fascia and and allow it to heal properly.

Wear arch support insoles

Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by improper biomechanics of the foot. Usually what that means is that the foot ‘over pronates’, which is when arch of the foot rolls over an excessive amount of whilst walking and running. Over pronation will often cause tightness in the Achilles tendon and new studies have proven that a tight Achilles tendon causes strain to build up on the Plantar Fascia. Wearing insoles which better support arch of the foot can help to stop over pronation.
If you wear orthotic insoles it is best to wear them in both of your shoes as wearing just one on the foot that has plantar fasciits can create a leg length discrepancy and cause further biomechanical imbalances and problems. Insoles can also help to reduce stiffness in your feet by promoting better foot function. Here is a great post on painscience about wearing orthotic insoels to ease plantar fasciitis.

 

There are also a number of other things that you can try to do if you have PF that may help such as…

Reduce inflammation

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation injury so it is therefore important to reduce inflammation.
To lessen inflammation and ease pain, you should wrap an ice pack in a tea towel and then apply this to your foot and heel for 8-10 minutes several times day to reduce swelling and inflammation.
You can also take anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. You can either take these drugs either in pill form or as a cream that you can rub on the affected area of your foot.

Stretch your feet

Stretching is also a great way of easing plantar fasciiits.
Stretching the Plantar Fascia (through stretching the toes upwards towards your shin) will help to encourage the plantar fascia realign itself properly again. Stretching the plantar fascia like this will also help to quicken the healing process and may also ease footpain connected to PF.
It is also a good idea to wear a night splint whilst sleeping. Night splints allow for continuous stretching of the Plantar Fascia whilst you sleep. Studies have prooven that night splints have a dramatic effect at helping to decrease the symptoms of PF in more than 90% of people – Night splint s have also been proven to help reduce the most severe pain that people get from PF which occurs in the morning when people are taking their first steps of the day.

just-put-your-feet-up

Just put your feet up

Having plantar fasciits is always a good excuse to put your feet up and not to do anything because rest is always best when it comes to foot injuries. Reduce or even completely stop yourself from using your feet entirely such as walking or running .
If you have to run make sure that you do not run on hard surfaces, such as concrete because hard surfaces will cause the most shock and pressure and will damage your feet the most. By resting your feet you are reducing the pressure on them and giving the muscles and tendons in your feet time to heal and strengthen.

too-big-shoes

Buy new shoes

Wearing poorly fitted shoes is a definite no no! Your Shoes must give your feet sufficient arch and heel support. Improper shoes may cause strain and pressure to build up on the Plantar Fascia. Women’s high heeled shoes are particularly bad when it comes to arch support, however poorly supported flat and hard soled men’s shoes are also just as bad.
You should wear shoes that have got decent shock absorption to them and have the right type of arch support that is designed for your foot type. Running shoes which have rigid arch support are best. Make sure that you wear your shoes all the time and especially when you just have gotten out of bed as wearing slippers or going barefoot can make your pain and plantar fasciitis even worse..

Use tape

Studies have shown that using kinesiology tape is great at treating and preventing plantar fasciitis. kinesiology tape uses compression to help to better support your Plantar Fascia as well as reduce tightness in the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia which could otherwise worsen the PF. Compression will also help to promote better circulation around your foot aiding with the healing process. kinesiology tape should always be applied by a specialist as applying kinesiology tape wrongly can result in further injury. If no specialist is available to apply the kinesiology tape, then wearing an ankle support is a great alternative to wearing kinesiology tape which can efficiently ease the pain from PF. Ankle supports work on the same premiss as wearing tape through using compression to reduce tightness and improve support on the Achilles tendon and Plantar Fascia.

Typically the majority of people with PF should make a complete recovery within a year. 95% of people suffering from PF will be able to reduce their foot pain without needing surgery.

Lauletta’s League Lowdown: 2012 WPS Draft – One Last Look Back

There may not have been any trades consummated on draft day 2012, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes.
— Dan Lauletta

Two-Time WPS Coach of the Year Paul Riely recaps the draft with WPS Draft Day broadcasters Kyndra de St. Aubin and Dean Linke.

There may not have been any trades consummated on draft day 2012, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes. WPS teams love to deal draft picks so the selection order was muddled all the way. The Beat once owned three picks inside the first round but they flipped one of them to the Flash and another to Sky Blue FC.

Most of the time picks are traded on speculation, but the deal that landed Sky Blue FC the fourth overall pick was made right on top of the draft when picks are more likely to get moved with certain players in mind. Sky Blue FC moved up into the No. 4 slot to take either Camille Levin or Stephanie Ochs, ultimately focusing in on Levin.

“The last couple of days I was worried we might have to take (Levin) at two,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said of Levin. “She’s so unique. She’s an attacking wide defender who can play in midfield.” Gabarra ultimately used the second pick on Melissa Henderson, who the club had rated over no. 1 pick Sydney Leroux.

The Breakers wound up taking Ochs at no. 3. That was considered a surprising choice and had some wondering why they did not try to trade down. They pulled the trigger on Ochs with the third pick though, believing Sky Blue FC were ready to take her at no. 4.

Sky Blue FC later talked trade with the Independence, apparently concerning Lindsay Taylor. But it appears both were bluffing with Levin and Sarah Hagen going with the no. 4 and 5 picks and Taylor slipping to the Flash at no. 6.

Here is a team by team look at how Draft Day 2012 went down.

Atlanta Beat: Leroux and then some

The Beat controlled things from the top of the draft and used the coveted top pick on Sydney Leroux, who was recently named to the US team currently trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Vancouver. The Beat also nabbed Auburn forward Katy Frierson at no. 10 and Kate Deines from Washington with the 23rd and final pick of the afternoon.

“A very good day for us,” head coach James Galanis said. “We had our three targets and we got all of them so it’s an exciting time. It’s good.”

The Beat are also the only team to have stockpiled an extra pick for the future. The deal that sent Sky Blue FC the no. 4 overall pick landed Sky Blue’s first round grab in 2013.

Sky Blue FC: We wanted Henderson

Jim Gabarra conceded he would have gladly taken Sydney Leroux had the Beat used the top pick on Melissa Henderson, but the player they wanted was the Notre Dame forward Henderson.

“I wanted Henderson,” he said. “For what we have she was the player we targeted. She can take on players one-v.-one, facilitate other players, and provide service. And she is comfortable drifting off more to the left.”

Henderson is also likely to be with Sky Blue FC for the entire season while Leroux took a step closer to making the US Olympic team by playing her way onto the qualifying roster.

Sky Blue FC later took Ingrid Wells at no. 9. The Georgetown midfielder is signed to play in Sweden, but hails from New Jersey and whether she makes it to WPS or not, has her league rights held by Sky Blue FC.

Gabarra used his final pick on Jillian Mastroianni who will be at camp as part of an open battle to win the no. 2 goalkeeper job—a much bigger role if Canada qualifies for the Olympics thus pulling Karina LeBlanc away from the club.

All in all it was a more enjoyable experience than 2011 when Sky Blue FC did not hold a pick in the top 15.

“Last year I could have just gone to sleep,” Gabarra deadpanned.

Boston Breakers: We knew it was a surprise

The Breakers knew they were going to surprise some people when they took Stephanie Ochs with the no. 3 overall pick. But they wanted her, so they made the move.

“I think Stephanie Ochs’s best soccer is still ahead of her,” said Breakers head coach Lisa Cole. “She’s going into the U-23 camp. She has great athleticism and can find a way to score goals. She is someone that has taken her team and made them better. I think that’s important. Maybe we took her a bit early, but I knew if I didn’t take her Jim was going to take her at four.”

Maybe, and maybe not, but considering the Breakers did not have another pick until no. 11 it was a wise move to take the player they wanted at no. 3.

“I really like Ochs because I know she wants this,” Cole continued. “I think Ochs kind of fits into our game plan.”

The Breakers 2012 game plan is to go young. They have parted ways with US National Team defenders Amy LePeilbet, Rachel Buehler, and Stephanie Cox and will have to recreate their backline almost entirely from scratch. Melinda Mercado, a towering central defender from Oklahoma State taken with the 16th pick, will compete for a starting position according to Cole.

The Breakers also selected forward Courtney Jones, the only North Carolina player taken on draft day, and local product Jessica Luscinski out of Boston University.

Philadelphia Independence: Taking a Chance

Paul Riley could have taken the Hermann Trophy Award winner or another member of the national championship Stanford team, but he wanted Sarah Hagen. He had breakfast with Hagen’s agent the morning of the draft and it sent him to the room with enough confidence that Hagen will join the Independence after her stint with Bayern Munich.

“I really think she’s going to be on the full (National) Team by the next World Cup,” the two-time Coach of the Year said of his first round pick.

Later in the draft the Independence were able to nab several players Riley thought would be off the board.

“I didn’t expect to get CoCo (Goodson, no. 12) and Tori (Pressley, no. 13),” he said. “I thought we would get one of them, but to get both is fantastic. I didn’t think we’d get (Bianca) Henninger, I thought she’d be gone before we got to those three picks.”

Henninger, the first goalkeeper taken, went no. 14 at the end of the Independence’s string of three straight picks. The Independence also grabbed Danielle Foxhaven (no. 17, Portland) and Jasmyne Spencer (no. 21, Maryland)

On the draft in general Riley said: “We got size, we got speed, we got athleticism, but I’m sure everyone said the same thing. “

Flash: No snowjob getting Hermann winner

Aaran Lines’s gamble to fly from Buffalo to Kansas City the morning of the draft backfired when snow held him up, forcing him to conference in from his house. As it was the Flash were the last of the five teams to get a pick and they swooped in with picks no. 6, 7, and 8.

With the first two picks the league champions went to the NCAA champions to grab Lindsay Taylor and Teresa Noyola. The pair made the College Cup every year, finally cashing in last December, and their senior class did not lose a home match over four years. Noyola is currently in Canada where she was on the field for all five of Mexico’s goals in a 5-0 win over Guatemala in Olympic Qualifying. A titanic match against the US looms January 24.

The Flash opened the second round by taking Tori Huster at no. 8. Lines has been, “impressed with her vision and composure on the ball.” Huster will be reunited with Florida State teammate Becky Edwards, a situation Lines hopes will ease her transition to professional soccer.

The Flash also selected Tahnai Annis (no. 18, Florida) and Erica Henderson (no. 22, West Virginia).

WPS Suspends Play for 2012 Season

Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today that its Board of Governors has voted to suspend the 2012 season to permit the League to focus on the resolution of certain pending legal issues and the challenges that now face the League as a result of its ongoing dispute with a former owner.

“We are proud of what the League has accomplished in the first three seasons, but we do recognize the necessity to resolve our existing legal and operational issues so that we can continue to support and grow WPS the right way,” said Sky Blue FC Owner Thomas Hofstetter. “This was a very difficult decision, but one we as owners feel is the best business decision for the League at this time.”

The Board voted on Monday morning to suspend the 2012 season. Over the last year the league has faced significant challenges, including a lengthy and expensive legal battle with a former owner. The litigation has diverted resources from investment in the league and has forced the Board to take action, suspending the 2012 season in order to address the legal issues head-on before moving forward with competition.

“We firmly believe there is a place in the global sports landscape for Women’s Professional Soccer,” said WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan. “Making the decision to suspend the 2012 season was a difficult and painful one, but it is necessary to take the time to address current issues and solidify our business in order to provide appropriate support needed to achieve the League’s long-term goals. Those that take part in our League – players, partners and fans – deserve the best, and that is what we are taking the time to ensure we deliver when we resume play in 2013 and beyond.”

WPS has established its plans to return to play in 2013, and all five owners of the League’s existing teams – Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC and Western New York Flash – will remain active with the CEO, Jennifer O’Sullivan, in the governance of WPS throughout the current year.

“We are deeply grateful to our fans and partners for the tremendous support they have shown for WPS, our players and the sport,” added O’Sullivan. “With our supporters and athletes in mind, we are committed to complete the hard work necessary to resume play in 2013 and reestablish WPS as the premiere women’s professional soccer league in the world.”

Lauletta’s League Lowdown: Beat Eyed Leroux All Along

It was just a no-brainer at the end. There was nobody else that we were even considering. It was Sydney all the way.
— Atlanta beat head coach James Galanis

To talk to Sydney Leroux is to know she is a player worthy of having on your team. Born in British Columbia to dual US-Canadian citizenship, Leroux decided at age 4 that she wanted to be a professional soccer player (the WUSA did not sprout up until she was almost 11.) Later, when given a choice of representing either the United States or Canada at the height of international soccer, she definitively chose the more difficult path.

“I guess I enjoy how hard it is to break through. There are millions of little girls that would want to be in my position,” Leroux said from the US National Team camp a few hours after the Atlanta Beat made her the first overall pick in the WPS draft. “I wouldn’t change it. I like to fight. I like the path that it takes to get here because it’s a long, hard one. I’m happy that I’m kind of on the path to getting my name up there.”

The path for Leroux has been as decorated as any female player in the youth National Team system. No one has more caps or more goals at the U-20 level than Leroux. And she made them count, hitting for five goals, including one in the final to help capture the U-20 World Cup in 2008. Two years later she nailed the tournament-winner in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships.

“I would never change the opportunities that I’ve had with the US,” she said. “Everything that I’ve accomplished with the U-20s and kind of putting myself in position to be with the National Team on a consistent basis.”

(It is duly noted by the writer, that the pioneers of US women’s soccer did not have U-20 teams to play for, and many of them were on the full team as teenagers anyway.)

Leroux was also a goal-scoring machine at UCLA, and her exploits there and in a US kit put her squarely in range of the Beat. Asked when he made the decision to draft Leroux with the top pick, Beat coach James Galanis quipped, “About a year ago.”

Leroux found out the day before the draft when a jersey arrived at her room and she later recorded a message thanking the Beat which was aired in the draft room immediately after the selection was announced.

“I know a lot of girls in the National Team setup and I always asked the question of the girls in there, ‘How is Sydney doing?’ and they would say she’s doing great,” Galanis said. “I always kept tabs on her. From the last two years of just asking questions about her she just continues to progress. She’s getting closer and closer to cracking the full team.

“It was just a no-brainer at the end. There was nobody else that we were even considering. It was Sydney all the way.”

Leroux is just a small part of a major philosophical change at the Beat. After a season when the roster was reduced to the worst in WPS, the club has brought in several top players this winter. Many of them were with Leroux at National Team camp. Abby Wambach, who does not currently have a club affiliation, squirted Leroux with water upon hearing she had gone No. 1.

National Team camps are legendary for their competitiveness, and Leroux’s attitude about playing for the US instead of Canada seems to fit right in. She also addressed her feelings on being taken with the top pick, an honor that most experts had as a toss-up between Leroux and Melissa Henderson (who went No. 2 to Sky Blue FC.)

“I think for any competitive person who has gone through the process, I think everyone wants to go No. 1. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t have been disappointed.”

Have a question, a suggestion, or a story idea? Did you see something we didn’t? Let me know by commenting below .

Dan Lauletta is a freelance writer and can be reached at thirtymtp@aol.com . The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and not necessarily those of Women’s Professional Soccer or womensprosoccer.com.

Lauletta’s League Lowdown: Forward Thinking at 2012 Draft

I’ve heard that it’s a family atmosphere. I’m very excited to join that family.
— CoCo Goodson on joining the Philadelphia Independence

Twelfth overall pick CoCo Goodson with her new head coach Paul Riley after she was selected by the Philadelphia Independence at the 2012 WPS Draft.

For the first time in four years of WPS drafts, the doors opened with a huge cloud of speculation hanging over who would be the first player selected. The Beat though were steadfast in their thinking, deciding long ago to use the first overall pick on UCLA forward Sydney Leroux. The 21-year-old former U-20 star beat out Melissa Henderson for top honors. Sky Blue FC grabbed Henderson, from Notre Dame, with the second pick.

“We believe Sydney will fit right into the world class group of players we have assembled,” said Beat owner and general manager, T. Fitz Johnson, who has brought in a solid group of top players in an effort to put two disappointing seasons behind them.

Leroux is in Los Angeles with the US National Team and recorded a message thanking the Beat for selecting her and holding up a jersey with the # 1 and her name.

The first mild surprise came at No. 3 when the Breakers took Stephanie Ochs out of San Diego, leaving Lindsay Taylor on the board. Taylor slipped to No. 6 after Sky Blue went with a defender (Camille Levin) with the fourth overall pick and the Independence took a leap by grabbing Sarah Hagen at No. 5.

“I know it was a surprise for people but I kind of went with my gut,” Breakers head coach Lisa Cole said. “I think Stephanie Ochs’s best soccer is still ahead of her. She’s going into the U-23 camp this week. A lot of people are excited about her and her potential.”

Hagen, a prolific goal scorer at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is signed to play in Germany. Independence head coach Paul Riley is hoping to get Hagen into his team once the German season ends in May.

“I spoke to Hagen. I had breakfast with her agent this morning.” Riley said. “We talked about a June arrival. If everything goes well in Munich it will be a June arrival.”

WPS champion Western New York Flash grabbed Taylor, followed by Stanford teammate and Hermann Trophy Award winner Teresa Noyola to complete the opening round.

“Teresa is a creative footballer who can play either as forward or as an offensive midfielder,” Flash coach Aaran Lines said. “She’s had a standout collegiate career and I hope to bring the best out of her here.”

The most talked about players to land outside the first round were Ingrid Wells and CoCo Goodson. Wells, a defensive type, went to Sky Blue at No. 9 and in the process became the first Georgetown Hoya ever drafted into WPS. Goodson, a tall defender from UC-Irvine, went No. 12 to Philadelphia.

“This was an amazing opportunity and I’m glad that I was able to enjoy it,” said Goodson, who was one of two drafted players present in the room (Melinda Mercado was the other.) “I know that (Riley) is amazing. He’s one of the best coaches that there is in WPS. I’ve heard that it’s a family atmosphere. I’m very excited to join that family.”

“I was surprised to get both Goodson and (Toni) Pressley,” Riley said of the 12th and 13th picks.

Riley also had the 14th pick and opened the third round by using that pick on Bianca Henninger, the first goalkeeper to be taken. Sky Blue, who lost their top two goalkeepers this offseason, followed by taking Jillian Mastroianni from Boston College.

“To be honest with you I had Mastroianni even or maybe ahead of Henninger. At that point we didn’t have to take a keeper. We knew Philly would. We were happy with either one of them.”

On the current roster, Gabarra added: “I’m really happy with the group.” That includes up to three signings that have yet to be announced.

FREE KICKS

Noyola had to wait longer than any Hermann Trophy Award winner to be picked. However none has ever been selected first. The highest was Kelley O’Hara who went 3rd to FC Gold Pride in 2010. The others were Kerri Hanks (6th to Saint Louis Athletica in 2009) and Christen Press (4th to magicJack in 2011).
North Carolina had a player taken in the top four in the prior three drafts. This year’s top Tar Heel, Courtney Jones, went to the Breakers at No. 11.
Jones’s father Brent once caught passes from Joe Montana as a tight end for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
Snow in Buffalo prevented Flash coach Aaran Lines from making his flight to Kansas City. He was conferenced in with owner Joe Sahlen.
CoCo Goodson was a San Diego Spirit fan from 2001 to 2003 and worked with Jen Nielsen (ne Lalor), who played for the Spirit in ’03.
Sky Blue and Philadelphia talked about a pick swap, but ultimately the day went off with no trades. Looking ahead the only future draft pick that has been traded is Sky Blue FC’s first rounder next year to Atlanta.
Cole spoke to Ochs shortly after the draft. Ochs was following the draft on her phone during class when her name was called.
The injury updates on Jordan Angeli and Allison Falk are not particularly encouraging. Angeli will not be ready in time for opening day, although the Breakers hope to sign her when she is ready. Falk is training but Riley said she is not ready to play at WPS level. She too is out of contract.

Have a question, a suggestion, or a story idea? Did you see something we didn’t? Let me know at thirtymtp@aol.com .

Dan Lauletta is a freelance writer and can be reached at thirtymtp@aol.com . The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and not necessarily those of Women’s Professional Soccer or womensprosoccer.com.

Leroux Goes First in 2012 WPS Draft

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 13, 2012) – Women’s Professional Soccer held the league’s annual draft on Friday in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) in Kansas City, Mo.

With the first overall pick of the 2012 Draft, Atlanta Beat selected U.S. Soccer rising star Sydney Leroux out of UCLA. The Vancouver, British Columbia native missed out on attending the WPS Draft while training with the U.S. Women’s National Team in Los Angeles in preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament.

As expected, the reigning NCAA National Champions Stanford University saw three of their top seniors – Defender Camille Levin, Forward Lindsay Taylor and 2011 MAC Hermann Trophy and Honda Award Winner Midfielder Teresa Noyola – all going in the first round as the fourth, sixth, and seventh overall respectively.

Philadelphia’s second round picks, CoCo Goodson (University of California, Irvine) and Boston’s third round Melinda Mercado (Oklahoma State University) were in the draft room and were welcomed to the League by WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan and each of their new head coaches.

Draftees will get their first taste of WPS in March when preseason camps open. The league will open its fourth season of competition in April.

2012 WPS Draft
Kansas City, Missouri
January 13, 2012

Round 1
1. Atlanta Beat – Sydney Leroux, F, UCLA
2. Sky Blue FC – Melissa Henderson, F, Notre Dame
3. Boston Breakers – Stephanie Ochs, F, University of San Diego
4. Sky Blue FC – Camille Levin, D, Stanford University
5. Philadelphia Independence – Sarah Hagen, F, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
6. Western New York Flash – Lindsay Taylor, F, Stanford University
7. Western New York Flash – Teresa Noyola, M, Stanford University

Round 2
8. Western New York Flash – Tori Huster, M, Florida State University
9. Sky Blue FC – Ingrid Wells, M,Georgetown
10. Atlanta Beat – Katy Frierson, M, Auburn University
11. Boston Breakers – Courtney Jones, F, University of North Carolina
12. Philadelphia Independence – Courtney Goodson, D, University of California, Irvine
13. Philadelphia Independence – Toni Pressley, D, Florida State University

Round 3
14. Philadelphia Independence – Bianca Henninger, GK, Santa Clara University
15. Sky Blue FC- Jillian Mastroianni,GK, Boston College
16. Boston Breakers – Melinda Mercado, D, Oklahoma State Univesrity
17. Philadelphia Independence – Danielle Foxhoven, F, University of Portland
18. Western New York Flash- Tahnai Annis, M/F University of Florida

Round 4
19. Sky Blue FC – Laura Heyboer, F, Michigan State University
20. Boston Breakers – Jessica Luscinski, F, Boston University
21. Philadelphia Independence, Jasmyne Spencer, F, University of Maryland
22. Western New York Flash- Erica Henderson, D, West Virginia
23. Atlanta Beat – Kate Deines, M, University of Washington

Breakdown by College
Auburn- 1
Boston College – 1
Boston University – 1
Florida State University- 2
Georgetown -1
Michigan State University – 1
Notre Dame – 1
Oklahoma State University – 1
Santa Clara – 1
Stanford – 3
UC Irvine- 1
UCLA – 1
University of Florida – 1
University of Maryland – 1
University of North Carolina- 1
University of Portland – 1
University of San Diego- 1
University of Washington – 1
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee- 1
West Virginia – 1

Flynn’s Draft Preview: Forwards

With just one day remaining until the 2012 WPS Draft in Kansas City on Friday, teams are putting the final touches on their draft lists and depth charts. There are hundreds of eligible players to choose from. While the 5 WPS teams have been tirelessly gathering intel on the players with their insider knowledge and scouting networks, the common fan isn’t going to put in that much work. That’s where I come in. This is the last in a four part series leading up to Draft Day 2012 detailing some of the likely players to get drafted, their backgrounds, and their accolades.

FORWARD

Easily the deepest area of the 2012 draft, teams can’t really go wrong when selecting forwards (assuming they use them in their systems correctly!). One WPS coach, when asked about the deepest areas of the draft, observed, “I think there’s a good amount of offensive players coming out of this draft, whether that be forwards or midfielders.” Just like the midfielders, tactics and formations used by a team greatly impacts the skill sets required so where one forward may succeed others may struggle. When asked to compare some of the top prospects in the draft, another WPS coach put it simply, and bluntly, “They’re all different.” They all have a few common denominators—they’re very skilled and they know how to put the ball in the back of the net.

NAMES TO KNOW

Sydney Leroux – UCLA
5’7”
USWNT
3-Time NSCAA All-American

Analysis: The female doppelganger of Teal Bunbury (sorry, Canada), Leroux has blossomed from arguably the most impressive U-20 career ever to full-fledged US International. Incredibly athletic and technically gifted, Leroux is more than capable of adding a bit of va-voom into a stagnant offense. A lock for one of the absolute top picks in the draft.

Melissa Henderson – Notre Dame
5’8”
USWNT U-23 (& U-20, U-18, etc) experience
2-Time NSCAA All-American

Analysis: Henderson is arguably the most professional-ready player in the draft. A very creative player with the ball, one WPS coach mentioned to me, “I’ve liked her for years.” Henderson’s skill coupled with her frame will make her a force to be reckoned with in WPS just as she’s starting to crack the full USWNT.

Lindsay Taylor – Stanford
5-7”
USWNT U-17 experience
2-Time NSCAA All-American

Analysis: A swiss army knife, Taylor is as versatile as they come. A pure finisher, Taylor can play either at forward or midfield, from treqartista to target forward. She has the skill and the ability to adapt to what her team may need, which will be an asset.

Stephanie Ochs – San Diego
5’9”
USWNT U-23 experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: Ochs is a player who, unless you’re familiar with the West Coast Conference, has kept mostly off the radar when compared to some of the other forwards getting the limelight. However Ochs’ play speaks for itself and the impressive physical dimension she brings makes her an intriguing draft day option.

Kayla Grimsley – South Carolina
5’4”
USWNT U-20 experience
2-Time NSCAA All-American

Analysis: Listed as a forward in college, Grimsley consistently put the ball in the back of the net all 4 years with the Gamecocks. While the skill is there, she likely projects to be an attacking midfielder at the next level due to bigger, more physical opponents.

Danielle Foxhoven – Portland
5’6”
USWNT U-17 experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: Most notable statistics surrounding Foxhoven was seemingly that she was shot out of a cannon her freshman and sophomore year with the Pilots, but production decreased raising questions if she can produce at the next level. Skill over first two years no fluke, but neither are stats over last two. Will the real Danielle Foxhoven please stand up?

WILD CARD: Sarah Hagen – Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but now professionally in Germany. Hagen could potentially be in the same situation as Ingrid Wells, which I reviewed yesterday. I caught up with Melanie Fitzgerald, Manager of League Operations for the WPS, in regards to her draft eligibility. The league policy is as such:

A Team that has drafted or otherwise acquired a player (the “Rights-Holding Team”), shall have the exclusive right to negotiate with that player for the longer of:

a. a period of one year, provided the team is able to evaluate the player* and has offered the player a full-time contract; or

b. if the player is under a non-WPS playing contract that prevents the Rights-Holding Team from immediately negotiating with the player, the period from the time the rights are acquired through the close of the first transfer window during which that player can be transferred without a fee, even if that is in a second year.

Basically meaning if a team wanted to draft her to get “dibs” if/when she decides to come back to the United States, they’re more than able.

SUMMARY

It’s WPS Draft Day 2012. We’re going to be in store for twists and turns. There will be surprises – what draft is there not? However let’s review the numbers.

5 Goalkeepers reviewed on Monday
6 Defenders reviewed on Tuesday
5 (plus Ingrid Wells!) Midfielders reviewed on Wednesday
6 (plus Sarah Hagen!) Forwards reviewed today

There will only be 23 names called at the end of the day.

There are going to be a lot of hearts broken. There will be a lot of determination to take preseason trainings by storm by those not selected. I’m not Nostradamus by any means so I’m sure the draft won’t play out exactly as planned nor will I predict every player correctly.

However I can tell you that for 23 players chosen, which is the smallest draft class in history, they are getting a chance of a lifetime to see out their dreams. But without the support of fans like you purchasing tickets to see the 2012 Draft Class in action at a city (relatively) close to you, that miniscule number 23 looks a whole lot better than if it were 0.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and not necessarily those of Women’s Professional Soccer or womensprosoccer.com.

Flynn’s Draft Preview: Midfielders

With just two days remaining until the 2012 WPS Draft in Kansas City on Friday, teams are putting the final touches on their draft lists and depth charts. There are hundreds of eligible players to choose from. While the 5 WPS teams have been tirelessly gathering intel on the players with their insider knowledge and scouting networks, the common fan isn’t going to put in that much work. That’s where I come in. This is the third in a four part series leading up to Draft Day 2012 detailing some of the likely players to get drafted, their backgrounds, and their accolades.

MIDFIELDER

A very finicky position, the midfielders available in the 2012 WPS Draft will be subjected much more to WPS coaches’ tendencies and styles of play. Midfielders come in a wide variety, from holding/defensive types to quick wingers with a knack for goal, box to box hustlers to creative visionary playmakers, so their draft position could swing wildly depending on what the teams’ needs are. A deeper position relative to others, but beware. With the amount of free agents lurking around, many 2012 hopefuls may have to go the route of preseason training camps to latch on to teams.

NAMES TO KNOW

Teresa Noyola – Stanford
5’3”
Mexican WNT (extensive USWNT youth experience)
2011 Hermann Trophy winner, 3-Time NSCAA All-American

Analysis: A well-travelled international, Noyola spent seemingly her whole childhood in the United States youth national team age brackets (exaggeration, but not really), before an allegiance switch to being a full-fledged international representing Mexico. An incredibly gifted, creative/attacking midfielder, she’s a lock for the first midfielder chosen in the 2012 draft with the departure of Ingrid Wells overseas.

Katy Frierson – Auburn
5’5”
2-Time NSCAA All-American
USWNT U-23 (& U-20, U-17, etc.) experience

Analysis: Extremely hard worker who is seemingly tireless on the field, Frierson was First Team All-SEC for all 4 years she was with the Tigers. Good leadership abilities and a good heart will mix well chemistry-wise with whichever team selects her. Lack of speed and small frame project negatively, but other characteristics put her over the top.

Courtney Barg – Notre Dame
5’5”
USWNT U-17 experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: Unlucky with injuries for her junior and senior seasons at Notre Dame, Barg should hear her name selected with previously detailed defender (and childhood friend) Jessica Schuveiller as well as soon-to-be detailed player (and also childhood friend … protip for soccer parents: move into this neighborhood!) Melissa Henderson. Durability a question mark, but poise under pressure should make it easy for any team to find the link from defense to forward through her creative play.

Tori Huster – Florida State
5’5”
USWNT U-23 experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: An attacking midfielder who is more than capable of scoring goals when needed, Huster should be another player multiple teams will look at closely on Draft Day. Smartness on the field must have rubbed off from book-smarts, as she’s received numerous academic awards while at Florida State.

Jessica Luscinski – Boston
5’4”
NSCAA All-American
2-Time America East Striker of the Year

Analysis: Okay, I guess technically a “forward” on the field, Luscinski is listed as a midfielder and has the versatility to play there as well. Small stature would most likely see her transition into midfield at the professional level against bigger, stronger opponents. However, her skills and penchant for putting the ball in the back of the net will garner attention on Draft Day.

WILD CARD: Ingrid Wells – Georgetown, but now professionally in Sweden. She would have battled Noyola for top-midfielder billing, but elected to ply her trade overseas. However, this may not stop forward-thinking teams from drafting her. I caught up with Melanie Fitzgerald, Manager of League Operations for the WPS, in regards to her draft eligibility. The league policy is as such:

A Team that has drafted or otherwise acquired a player (the “Rights-Holding Team”), shall have the exclusive right to negotiate with that player for the longer of:

a. a period of one year, provided the team is able to evaluate the player* and has offered the player a full-time contract; or

b. if the player is under a non-WPS playing contract that prevents the Rights-Holding Team from immediately negotiating with the player, the period from the time the rights are acquired through the close of the first transfer window during which that player can be transferred without a fee, even if that is in a second year.

Meaning that with a large free-agent market, a team could theoretically take a flier on Wells (even though she’ll be initially unavailable) while filling their needs in the mean time with free agents. Once Wells becomes available, in layman terms, “dibs”.

Just something to discuss until Draft Day 2012.

Flynn’s Draft Preview: Defenders

With just three days remaining until the 2012 WPS Draft in Kansas City on Friday, teams are putting the final touches on their draft lists and depth charts. There are hundreds of eligible players to choose from. While the 5 WPS teams have been tirelessly gathering intel on the players with their insider knowledge and scouting networks, the common fan isn’t going to put in that much work. That’s where I come in. This is the second in a four-part series leading up to Draft Day 2012 detailing some of the likely players to get drafted, their backgrounds, and their accolades.

DEFENDER

Another shallow position in the draft, but defenders have the luxury of more roster spots for coaches to play around with. Central defenders look to be the most popular option with elite fullbacks spread thin. One WPS coach expects that many teams’ gaps may be filled with former & current WPS players, but can see a few 2012 Draftees making an impact.

“It’s not really deep defensively. You might find that they’re picked in the later rounds because you can take a chance on them and there’s not a pressure on them to fill a starting role like you’ve seen in the past.”

According to the famous saying, “Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships” (although 2010 FC Gold Pride & 2011 Western New York Flash may beg to differ), the 2012 Draftees may have some large roles to play to help their teams in their quest for the 2012 crown.

NAMES TO KNOW

Camille Levin – Stanford
5’3”
USWNT U-20 (& U-18, U-17, etc) experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: On the shorter side for a professional defender, Levin’s versatility is her greatest asset. A fullback by trade, Levin can also be deployed at midfield as well as forward but will be limited by her size. Projects to be an attacking fullback at the next level akin to former Stanford standout and former teammate Ali Riley.

CoCo Goodson – UC Irvine
5’11”
2-Time NSCAA All-American
2-Time Big West Defender of the Year

Analysis: A transfer student who landed at UC Irvine after a two-year stint at Texas, CoCo Goodson won the Big West Defender of the Year award each year she was eligible. A huge frame at 5’11”, Goodson isn’t afraid to use it to her advantage.

Toni Pressley – Florida State
5’10”
USWNT U-23 (& U-20, U-18, etc) experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: An extremely experienced youth international, Pressley has shone in a very competitive ACC in her 4 years with the Seminoles. She was leader of stingy defense which advanced all the way to the 2011 College Cup before falling to eventual champions Stanford.

Melinda Mercado – Oklahoma State
5’10”
USWNT U-20 experience
Two-Time NSCAA All-American

Analysis: The third straight towering central defender and very little separates them all. Mercado was at the heart of the Cowboys defense, which is reflected in her career statistics. In 98 starts for Oklahoma State, Mercado saw 52 of those end in shutouts.

Jessica Schuveiller – Notre Dame
5’8”
USWNT U-23 experience
NSCAA All-American

Analysis: For those keeping score at home, this is the 4th straight central defender who has a fantastic chance of not only being drafted, but contributing to their respective WPS team. A bit smaller in physique than the aforementioned, like Camille Levin she also has a bit of versatility and can play in the midfield if needed. Very terrier-like with a never-quit attitude and astute soccer brain to match, will be positively looked upon by WPS teams.

Lizzy Simonin – Memphis
5’5″
NSCAA All-American
2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner, 2-Time Conference USA Defender of the Year

Analysis: Former forward turned defender Simonin anchored the impressive Memphis Tigers defense. Size could hurt, but relentless off the ball. May need to adjust to outside back to succeed at the next level. But with her background on offense, it should be an easier transition than most.

Lauletta’s League Lowdown: Draft Day this Friday

I think every team will be looking at the forwards and would anticipate many forwards going in the early parts of the draft.
— Philadelphia Independence head coach Paul Riley

There are only two days a year that every team is happy. One is opening day just before the first whistle. The other is draft day when, regardless of who goes where, every coach will tell you they got who and what they wanted to set the club heading in the right direction.

The 2012 draft, set for Friday afternoon at the Kansas City Convention Center, will have a different feel than WPS drafts of the past. With the field of teams down to five, jobs will be tough to come by. Additionally, many of the US National Team players are out of contract, and speculation is abound as to where or if many of them will sign.

The good news for coaches is that it seems there is a deep group of available players who can fill the net. As strong as the top of the 2010 draft was, it did not produce a lights out goal scorer (talk to us in 2013 when Lauren Cheney gets a full season under her belt.)

The Beat own the first pick Friday and will be looking to extract themselves from their position as permanent residents of the bottom position on the WPS table. The club has enjoyed a productive off-season signing Kelley O’Hara, Rachel Buehler, Rebecca Moros, and Val Henderson among new signees (WPS has not officially announced any of these signings.) Still the Beat ended last season on a two-month goalless drought and a scorer will be a prime target. The Beat at one time had three first round picks but dealt two of them away to Sky Blue FC and the Western New York Flash.

“I would probably say Melissa Henderson of Notre Dame,” said Tim Grainey, who covers women’s soccer for soccer365.com, about the best player on the board. “She’s a good goal scorer, a player that can play multiple positions, and she’s a leader.”

Besides Henderson, top available forwards include Sydney Leroux (UCLA), Lindsay Taylor (Stanford), and Stephanie Ochs (San Diego). Leroux was a prolific goalscorer in college and won the golden boot at the 2008 U-20 World Cup, which the United States won. Sarah Hagen, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has signed to play in Germany.

“We’re looking to get a forward in the first or second round,” said Philadelphia Independence coach Paul Riley, who owns the fifth pick and later will have three picks in a row. “That’s at the top of our agenda. I think every team will be looking at the forwards and would anticipate many forwards going in the early parts of the draft.”

The midfielders are highlighted by Hermann winner Teresa Noyola. The Palo Alto, CA native scored the biggest goal in the history of Stanford’s program, a 53rd minute header in the National Championship match that gave the Cardinal an elusive title after four unsuccessful trips to the College Cup (including the three prior years.) Noyola plays for the Mexican National Team.

Grainey thinks Katy Frierson from Auburn could be a sleeper in midfield.

“She works hard and has very good skills, sort of a European skill set on the ball,” he said of Frierson.

Another player from a lesser-known soccer program is Ingrid Wells, who wrapped up a successful career at Georgetown by being named a first-team All American.

“She was one of those players that really sort of helped a middling program really get to the next level,” Grainey said. “She’s a good defender with good ball skills.”

Camille Levin will be looking to follow in Ali Riley’s footsteps as a Stanford defender making a big impact as a rookie. Lizzy Simonin from Memphis was a first-team All American and Coco Goodson from UC-Irvine is a well-regarded defender.

In goal, Bianca Henninger is almost universally considered the best keeper available. However, there is a surplus of strong goalkeepers in WPS (even if Hope Solo bypasses the season) so playing time for any rookie goalkeeper figures to be an issue.

The fourth WPS draft will be streamed on womensprosoccer.com Friday at 2pm EST.

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