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.
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
USWNT U-20 (& U-18, U-17, etc) experience
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
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
USWNT U-23 (& U-20, U-18, etc) experience
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
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
USWNT U-23 experience
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
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.