January 18, 2011

Boston Adds Winters, Trio of Forwards in Draft

True, the Boston Breakers entered Friday's draft with a pretty full roster. Their basic objective was to add depth to a talented group of veterans. They come out of the draft with a gem of a player, midfielder Keelin Winters from Portland, and three potentially good forwards.

Keelin Winters had played for Breakers' coach Tony DiCicco at the 2008 U-20 World Cup in Chile. She played in all six matches, starting five, and scored the first goal in the United States' 3-0 victory over England in the quarterfinals. She was also captain of that squad. In addition, she has several years of W-League experience with Real Colorado dating all the way back to her prep days.

Winters isn't a player that is going to wow you with her stats. She finished her Portland Pilot career with 6 goals and 10 assists. But what she might lack in gloss, she more than makes up with grit. Winters is a tough competitor, who always works hard. She is also intelligent and makes good decisions on the pitch.

Winters has good size and is strong in the air. In fact, the aforementioned goal against England came when she skied over two English defenders and headed the ball lower left past the English keeper. This should prove to be an excellent selection by the Breakers.

In the next three rounds, the Breakers went with three forwards, none of which came from high-profile programs. In the 2nd round, Boston chose Oklahoma forward Whitney Palmer. Palmer is the Sooners' all-time leading goal scorer with 38 in her career. Though not terribly tall, Palmer combines speed and strength to make her a scoring threat. She has the ability to split defenses with a sudden burst of speed.

Harvard's Katherine Sheeleigh won't have to travel far from her college days to play for the Breakers. She became Boston's third round selection with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 WPS draft. The New Jersey native scored 31 career goals for the Crimson, including 9 goals her senior season. She was named Ivy League Player of the Year in 2010.

Tanya Taylor became the last player taken by the Breakers in the 4th round. She was named the Big West's Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 with UC-Irvine. Taylor is another forward with good speed and finishing ability. She double-doubled with 11 goals and 12 assists in her senior season with the Anteaters.

Overall, this was a fairly strong draft for the Breakers. The Breakers had many of their roster spots full and were looking to add depth. They added a quality midfielder in Winters and some much needed depth for the offense. Depth will be an important key for the Breakers this season, since they will probably lose at least six starters, maybe more, to the World Cup. The only possible flaw I see in this draft is that unless they convert some of these forwards to defense, they will be awfully thin on the back line, where all four may be headed to Germany in June.