Thursday, January 10, 2013
The National Women’s Soccer League announced the 55 players to be allocated to the league’s eight clubs from the U.S., Canadian and Mexican Women’s National Teams on Wednesday evening, with a large number of former W-League standouts set to star in the new professional league that begins play this spring.
All 18 members of the U.S. Women’s National Team that took gold at the 2012 Olympics in London will be part of the new league, with former Rochester Ravens standout, and 2012 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, Abby Wambach leading the way. Former W-League champions Tobin Heath, Lauren Cheney and Ashlyn Harris, who helped the Pali Blues claim the league title in 2009, were also selected, as was 2012 D.C. United Women defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
Wambach’s fellow finalist for the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award, Alex Morgan, leads a large contingent of players from last year’s Seattle Sounders Women squad, with forward and former All-League selection Sydney Leroux, goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Keelin Winters all being announced.
Another member of the Sounders Women, Veronica Perez, leads the members of the Mexican National Team, with the 2012 All-League selection set to be a key player for her new club as she looks to build on a standout season that saw her score 12 goals and add two assists. Also among the players from Mexico is former Pali Blues standout Anisa Guajardo, who helped her side win the Western Conference title in 2012.
Every member of Canada’s contingent brings W-League experience to the NWSL, with the group led by former Vancouver Whitecaps Women standout and national team captain Christine Sinclair. In addition to Sinclair, other former Whitecaps include Melanie Booth, Robyn Gayle, Emily Zurrer, Sophie Schmidt and Kaylyn Kyle. The Ottawa Fury’s Diana Matheson was also selected, as was Rhian Wilkinson.
Overall, 42 of the 55 players selected by their national federations to participate in the NWSL will bring W-League experience. Players will find out which team they will play for on Friday, with the inaugural NWSL College Draft set to be held a week later on January 18 as part of the NSCAA Convention.