With just four 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 first 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.
This is by far the shallowest position in the 2012 Class. However, with just 5 WPS teams, openings are going to be very few and far between for roster spots. In speaking with multiple WPS coaches, they had similar sentiments.
“The goalkeeper spot is even more difficult because not only do you have starters from past seasons, but you also have backups who are also invested and now it’s time for them to try to get in a position where they’re going to get games. I think [there are] 2 to 4 keepers who, depending on whether you carry 2 or 3 goalkeepers, will make rosters and they’ll do like those that came before them.” – Coach A
“I think keepers [are] thin just because [there are] so many good quality keepers already within WPS, now it’s only one spot or a couple of spots that you’re able to fill.” – Coach B
NAMES TO KNOW
Bianca Henninger – Santa Clara
USWNT U-23 (& U-20, U-17, etc.) experience
2-Time NSCAA All-American
Analysis: A phenomenal youth career highlighted with National Team experience at a variety of different age levels, Henninger has the potential to be the next goalkeeping stalwart for the Senior National Team. A sure-fire first round selection, Henninger will look to challenge for a starting spot immediately. Only downside is height, but it’s made up by her shot-stopping ability and leadership from the back.
Jillian Mastroianni – Boston College
USWNT U-23 (& U-17, U-16) experience
2nd in NCAA history with 44 shutouts
Analysis: A great goalkeeper for a great team, Mastroianni projects to be a 2nd or 3rd round selection. A bit taller than Henninger, Mastoianni should be able to find a home as a backup at best, 3rd string keeper at worst.
Natalie Kulla – Marquette
USWNT U-23 experience
2010 & 2011 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year
Analysis: A very intriguing prospect, Kulla has the tools necessary to succeed at the highest level. While not as polished as her 2012 draft counterparts Henninger and Mastoianni, Kulla could outshine them all if given time. She’d have to be drafted by a team who is willing to groom and develop her for the future.
Chantel Jones – Virginia
USWNT U-23 (& U-20, U-17, etc) experience
1st in NCAA history with 47 shutouts
Analysis: Like Henninger, hugely experienced with the US Youth National Teams. Steady through her whole career at UV— which was interrupted by the U-20 World Cup— it would be a shame if Jones couldn’t find a roster to stick on.
Elise Kuhar-Pitters – Memphis
No USWNT experience
Analysis: Probably a long-shot to stick with a WPS roster, Kuhar-Pitters played like a woman possessed in 2011. Recorded 15 shutouts for the Tigers while compiling a 22-1-1 record over the season. A late draft pick at best, but could surprise in team camps if given a shot.