Uncategorized - January 12, 2012

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.


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.


Sydney Leroux – UCLA
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
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
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
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
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
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.


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.

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