20 for USL W-League Combine unveiled
Combine to profile 128 talented players in September

USL News Release

Friday, August 8, 2008

TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced Friday that 128 players have been provisionally chosen to participate in the upcoming inaugural USL W-League Combine that will give the players an opportunity to showcase their abilities for Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and other coaches and scouts. The event will take place at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa, FL September 4-7.

“The level of play in the W-League is among the best in the world and we are thrilled that the interest in the combine among our players and beyond met and actually exceeded our expectations for the event,” said W-League Director of Operations Melanie Fitzgerald. “The interest in the event has been global among players and coaches, including Football Association of Ireland national team coach Noel King, who will be in attendance along with the representatives from WPS.”

With many current and former internationals, as well as collegiate standouts, it is expected that numerous players drafted and signed by WPS will hail from the W-League. Historically, the same occurred with the launch of the Women’s United Soccer Association in 2001. A total of 92 current and former W-League players were allocated or drafted by the WUSA leading up to the first of its three seasons.

Numerous W-League players went on to find success in the WUSA, including several that also found a spot with the US National Team. Headed to the Olympics in August are two such players in Shannon Boxx and Angela Hucles. Boxx, a member of the Boston Renegades, was drafted by San Diego and would later debut for the US in 2003. A former Hampton Roads Piranha, Hucles was drafted by Boston and would go on to join the US squad in 2002.

"The W-League has successfully harvested many of the nation’s best female soccer talent for years, growing the sport and priming these athletes for professional stardom," said Tonya Antonucci, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) commissioner. "We applaud their accomplishments as we work in close partnership with the league in identifying and showcasing W-League talent to further raise the profile of women’s soccer culminating in the launch of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009."

Nine of the 20 players unveiled Friday were members of the four clubs that played in the W-League Championship tournament last weekend. Hailing from the champion Pali Blues will be Sasha Andrews, Kendall Fletcher, Kara Kabellis, Jill Oakes and Kandace Wilson. Marie-Eve Nault and Julianne Sitch of the runner-up FC Indiana Lionesses will also be attending as well as Kele Golebiowski of the Washington Freedom and Seattle Sounders leader Michelle French.

Additional players and event details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Brief Player Profiles

Sasha Andrews (Pali Blues)
A former member of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Andrews has three W-League Championships, winning two with the Whitecaps and her third with Pali last week. She has consistently been one of the top defenders in the league, earning the Defender of the Year honor in 2004.

Zoe Avner (Ottawa Fury)
Avner recently completed her third season with the Fury, but also boasts international experience. The native of France has played for the U19 and senior French national teams and has played abroad in the French and English first divisions.

Kim Brandao (Jersey Sky Blue)
Brandao recently completed her second season with Sky Blue and third in the W-League. She is a member of the Portugal Women’s National Team and also has experience playing abroad in the Spanish and Swedish first divisions.

Kendall Fletcher (Pali Blues)
The former US youth international has won two W-League championships, helping guide the Blues to the title last week and the New Jersey Wildcats to the crown in 2005. The two championship sides allowed a combined total of six regular season goals and two in the postseason, suffering only one regular season defeat in 2005.

Michelle French (Seattle Sounders)
The former WUSA player was a member of the Washington Freedom in 2001 and the San Jose CyberRays in 2002-03. She also spent time with the US Women’s National Team from 1997-01, recording 14 caps and two assists. She has been an All-League selection twice and received All-Conference honors four times. She led the W-League in assists in 2004.

Kele Golebiowski (Washington Freedom)
The former Australian international joined the WUSA Washington Freedom in 2003 after earning W-League Rookie of the Year honors in 2001 while playing in the first of two seasons with Hampton Roads. She returned to the Piranhas in 2005, rejoining the W-League Freedom in 2007. She played for Australia from 1995-06.

Kelly Hammond (Northern Virginia Majestics)
Hammond joined the Majestics from the Washington Freedom, where she captured a second W-League Championship in 2007. She was also a member of the New Jersey Wildcats championship squad of 2005. She is also a former US youth international with the U-21 and U17 squads.

Kara Kabellis (Pali Blues)
The former US U-23 international has been playing in the W-League since 2001 as a member of four teams, including the Boston Renegades and Chicago Gaels, before joining Pali.

Christine Latham (Atlanta Silverbacks)
The former Canadian international helped Atlanta dominate the Mid Atlantic division with 13 goals. She has played in the W-League since 2005, helping guide the New Jersey Wildcats to the title in 2005 before joining Atlanta, where she guided the Silverbacks to the championship game last season.

Therese Luckner (Boston Renegades)
A former professional in the Swedish and Norwegian leagues, Luckner helped turn around a Renegades defense that gave up 31 goals in 2007 and led to their first missed postseason since 1999. Boston only allowed 12 goals in 2008 behind an All-Conference honor effort from Luckner.

Marie-Eve Nault (FC Indiana Lionesses)
The Canadian international has played in the W-League since 2000, primarily with Ottawa, where she helped guide the squad to three W-League Championship tournament appearances. She was recognized this season as an All-Conference and All-League selection for helping lead FC Indiana for an unbeaten 13-0-1 season with only three goals allowed.

Sharolta Nonen (Atlanta Silverbacks)
The former Canadian international in one of the most capped players in team history with 62 appearances. She has played in the W-League from 2004-07, spending the last three seasons with the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Jill Oakes (Pali Blues)
The former US youth and senior international has played the last three seasons in the W-League as a member of the New Jersey Wildcats in 2006 and the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2007 before joining Pali this year.

Michele O’Brien (Jersey Sky Blue)
Having played six previous seasons with the two Long Island W-League sides, O’Brien moved to Sky Blue this year. She has been a member of the Republic of Ireland National Team since 2003 and was the FAI’s Women’s International Player of the Year in 2005. She also has club experience abroad in the English and Swedish first divisions.

Ashlee Pistorius (Boston Renegades)
The Renegades returned to their status as a playoff participant with the addition of Pistorius, who led the team in scoring this season. The 2007 Honda Player of the Year finished in the top 20 in the league in points.

Kelly Schmedes (Charlotte Eagles)
Schmedes burst onto the season with seven goals and six assists for Charlotte last year and was near the top of the league in points, goals and assists in 2008 with 14 goals and six assists for 34 points.

Julianne Sitch (FC Indiana Lionesses)
A veteran player in the W-League, Sitch finished among the league leaders in scoring this season with 10 goals and four assists. She has helped lead three teams to the W-League Championship tournament, previously reaching the 2003 and 2004 semifinals with the Chicago Cobras.

Sarah Steinmann (Atlanta Silverbacks)
After helping lead the Silverbacks to the W-League final last year, Steinmann more than tripled her 2007 goal total of six to a league-leading tally of 19 this season en route to capturing the Scoring and Goal Scoring titles as well as the W-League Most Valuable Player honor. She has played in the W-League since 2003, beginning her career with two seasons in Charlotte.

Sue Weber (Long Island Rough Riders)
As the anchor of the Rough Riders back line, Sue Weber was honored as the W-League Defender of the Year. The Long Island defense was tied for fourth in the league with only seven goals allowed in 14 games this season in what was arguably the most competitive division of the league.

Kandace Wilson (Pali Blues)
Wilson was recognized most recently as a W-League Championship All-Tournament selection for her role defensively and offensively. She helped guide Pali to a perfect 16-0-0 season, allowing only five goals overall after leading the WPSL in scoring the year before.

Most Recent Club
Andrews, Sasha
Pali Blues
Avner, Zoe
Ottawa Fury
Brandao, Kim
Jersey Sky Blue
Fletcher, Kendall
Pali Blues
French, Michelle
Seattle Sounders
Golebiowski, Kele
Washington Freedom
Hammond, Kelly
Northern Virginia Majestics
Kabellis, Kara
Pali Blues
Latham, Christine
Atlanta Silverbacks
Luckner, Therese
Boston Renegades
Nault, Marie-Eve
FC Indiana Lionesses
Nonen, Sharolta
Atlanta Silverbacks
Oakes, Jill
Pali Blues
O’Brien, Michele
Jersey Sky Blue
Pistorius, Ashlee
Boston Renegades
Schmedes, Kelly
Charlotte Lady Eagles
Sitch, Julianne
FC Indiana Lionesses
Steinmann, Sarah
Atlanta Silverbacks
Weber, Sue
Long Island Rough Riders
Wilson, Kandace
Pali Blues

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