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.
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 email@example.com .
Dan Lauletta is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.