March 28, 2011

magicJack...What's in a Name?

Well, I think they've finally settled on a name, for this season anyway. It won't be the Washington Freedom and it won't be magicJack's Washington Freedom. The team has apparently decided that magicJack will be the team monicker for the 2011 season. Boca Raton, or more precisely, Florida Atlantic University will be the new home of the team that has spent the last two WPS seasons playing as the Washington Freedom. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB To go along with the new name and the new home, magicJack also have a new general manager (Briana Scurry), a new head coach (Mike Lyons), and mostly new players. Only six players return from the 2010 Washington Freedom roster...defenders Nikki Marshall and Becky Sauerbrunn, midfielder Sarah Huffman, forwards Abby Wambach and Lisa De Vanna, and all-purpose player Rebecca Moros. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB The faces have changed, but the team should still be competitive considering some of their new additions. Between a solid draft, a trade, and numerous free agent signings, magicJack has assembled a pretty strong pool of talent. The big question is whether they can come together as a team to challenge for the league title. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb MagicJack (I don't know, do you capitalize an uncapitalized proper name to start a sentence?) have seemingly brought in talent from everywhere, starting at forward. Wambach will certainly still be the primary focus of their attack, but in addition to the returning speedster De Vanna, they have added Ella Masar from the Red Stars, Lindsay Tarpley from the Breakers, and Johanna Rasmussen from the Beat. Oh, and don't forget college soccer's most prolific scorer Christen Press of Stanford via the draft. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb Likewise, in the middle, magicJack signed Shannon Boxx (formerly Gold Pride et al) and Kacey White (formerly Sky Blue) to go along with returnee Huffman. Four young midfielders are also on the roster including third overall draft choice Meghan Klingenberg and Canadian National Team starter Sophie Schmidt. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb Defensively, magicJack brought in Tina Ellertson from Atlanta, Marian Dalmy from Chicago, and Christie Rampone and Meghan Schnur, both from Sky Blue. Those four will join two solid defensive players in Marshall and Sauerbrunn. Marshall can also play forward if need be. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb The acquisition of USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo would normally settle the number one keeper spot, but between shoulder surgery and national team duties, magicJack may be looking at two former Solo backups, Jill Loyden and Brett Maron. Loyden was Solo's understudy at Athletica in 2009 before becoming Chicago's starting keeper in 2010. Maron briefly started in Atlanta, before Solo became their number one in June of last year. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb There is a lot of veteran talent and quite a few good young players from the college ranks on this team. Several of their players can boast national team experience. No matter what the team's name or where the team plays, it ultimately comes down to how the team performs together on the field. Can they develop the team chemistry needed to challenge for a WPS title? Only time will tell.