Pali Blues News Release - www.bluessoccerclub.com
Thursday, April 26, 2012
LOS ANGELES – The Pali Blues announced today that the trio of goalkeeper Anna Picarelli and central defenders Christie Shaner and Sasha Andrews will return to the team for the 2012 W-League season, set to begin on the road for the Blues on May 13 against the LA Strikers. Pali will look to win a third W-League championship in five years of existence.
“We are happy to have the heart of our defense back this year,” Blues head coach Charlie Naimo said. “When I look back on 2011 this group were steady performers, and combined with the new players we have, I think we will be even better defensively this year.”
Picarelli, a Downey, Calif. native, is a veteran of the game and active member of Italian Women’s National Team. She played collegiately up the road from the Palisades at Pepperdine, where she ranks as one of the best players in the program.
Picarelli’s career highlights include two Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and she still holds the record for best goals-against average, most goalkeeper wins, and most shutouts in Pepperdine history.
“Even though it is only my second year with the team, I feel an obligation to the club to bring back the national trophy to Pali, and I can’t wait to get started,” she said. “Aside from bringing back the success of the club, I hope we can create the buzz around women’s soccer that Los Angeles needs.
“I think this year we have a great combination of experienced players and young talent and we are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the W-League. I can’t wait until the season begins and I finally get to see this awesome group together on the field,” she added.
Shaner, heading into her third season with Pali, is another experienced player who played collegiately at soccer powerhouse Notre Dame, and worked her way up through U.S. youth national teams. During her college years, Shaner played for FC Indiana until 2008, when the team, ironically, fell to the Pali Blues in the W-League final.
In 2009, Shaner signed with Sky Blue FC of WPS, and was traded to the Los Angeles Sol later in the season. In her first appearance for the Sol, she suffered a broken leg in a 50-50 tackle that ended her season. After recovering, she started playing soccer again as a member of the Pali Blues in 2010.
Shaner is excited for the future for the Pali Blues and the W-League.
“A lot of former and current professional players will be looking to play with teams in the W-League to keep their careers going, which will probably make it one of the strongest seasons yet that this league has seen,” she said. “As always, the Pali Blues organization has signed some quality international, professional and collegiate players making it a competitive yet fun environment to play in.
“It will also be good to have head coach Charlie Naimo back, who will bring back structure, enthusiasm, the desire and the drive to win. With all of this being said, I believe it is our year to reclaim the W-league title and bring it back to Southern California,” she added.
Andrews is also playing her third season for Pali. She was on the first Pali Blues team that went undefeated in 2008, and was on the celebratory end of the W-League championship game against FC Indiana.
She was a member of the Canadian Women’s National Team at the senior level where she won a Bronze medal at the 2007 Pan-American Games, and participated in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the age of 19. She was also a runner-up with Canada in the 2002 U-19 FIFA Women’s World Championship.
Andrews also shares the excitement and goal of bringing another W-League cup back to Pali.
“There is nothing more valuable than team chemistry mixed with personal sacrifice. That being said, I believe in the players coming in, and I look forward to the competition. It will be a professional environment both on and off the field. With the right attitude, I know we have the recipe to win back of trophy,” she said.