January 24, 2011

Scurry, Freedom Add Five Players in WPS Draft

Briana Scurry got her first cap, so to speak, as a general manager at the 2011 WPS Draft. It was just two years ago that she was selected in the 5th round of the 2009 WPS Draft. Her first venture into the general manager's seat yielded several fine draft choices for the Washington Freedom.

Washington entered the draft with about enough players for a bridge game and had a lot of holes to fill. The first trade on draft day proved to be quite a shocker. Washington was able to obtain the number three overall pick and a player to be named later from Atlanta, for the Freedom's 2012 first round pick. The player to be named later is widely reported to be talented Johanna Rasmussen, although that has yet to be confirmed by either team as far as I can tell.

So now armed with two consecutive first round picks, the Freedom were able to scoop up Meghan Klingenberg and Christen Press back-to-back, and presumably add Rasmussen on top of it all. Talk about a productive start to the draft!

Klingenberg, who just received her first cap for the USWNT at the Four Nations Tournament, is a highly regarded midfielder out of North Carolina. She played several positions in college, but excelled at left midfield for the Tar Heels. She had six goals and eleven assists in her senior year and earned 24 assists over her career.

In many respects, both in size and skill set, she reminds me of Tina DiMartino, although Klingenberg generally plays a wider position. She is fast, very good with the ball at her feet, and manoeuvers well in traffic. She usually gives good service from the wing and can be a real pest when defensively pressuring the opponent's back line.

With the 4th overall selection, Washington chose high scoring Christen Press out of Stanford. Press scored 71 goals at Stanford, including 26 her senior season. She was recently awarded the MAC Hermann Award as the best college player of 2010. She can also set up others, assisting on 41 goals at Stanford. Press has good speed and obvious finishing ability, but can she take it to the next level? I believe so.

At the 10th selection, they tapped into their own Washington Freedom Futures to draft midfielder Omolyn Davis out of George Mason. For the Futures, she had seven goals and three assists in 12 games last year. She hit double-digits in goals in both 2009 and 2010 with the Patriots.

Considered to be one of the most creative players in college soccer, Davis is sure to be a crowd pleaser if she put that talent to work in the pro ranks. She has also spent some time with the Jamaican National Team.

At number 17, Washington got perhaps the steal of the draft in Amanda DaCosta. Many people tabbed her as a first round selection and it was surprising that she fell all the way down to this position, but it was the Freedom's good fortune. DaCosta follows other Florida State talents like Becky Edwards, India Trotter, Mami Yamaguchi, and Sarah Wagenfuhr into the WPS. Very quick and an excellent passer, DaCosta should prove to be a welcome addition to the Freedom midfield.

With their final selection at number 22, the Freedom drafted Katie Fraine, goalkeeper out of the Florida. Fraine earned 10 shutouts in each of her final two seasons at Florida, with a goals against average of just over 0.70 each season. Like Press, Fraine played for Pali Blues of the W-League last season. At 5-10, she has good height and with Erin McLeod likely to be with her Canadian teammates at the World Cup, Fraine could see playing time fairly quickly.

All in all, the Freedom have to get very high grades in this draft.


Chris Wimmer on January 25, 2011 at 4:37 AM said...

Press will be a much needed addition to help Abby by taking some of the pressure of goal scoring away from her.

Only wished the team was not planning on leaving the D.C. area where they have been supported for the last decade.

KC Albertina on January 25, 2011 at 9:54 PM said...

Press should complement Wambach pretty well.

I live in the midwest, but I enjoyed attending a match at the SoccerPlex, which I thought was a really nice venue for this league, with good atmosphere as well. I'm also a bit of a traditionalist and the Freedom has as much tradition as any franchise in the league. Hopefully, something can be resolved so that a good portion of the schedule can still be played there, but I'm not very hopeful at this point.