January 20, 2012

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Atlanta pick Leroux as Women's Pro Soccer quietly holds fourth draft

13 Jan, 2012

By Jimmy LaRoue

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Setting aside ongoing financial headwinds and its legal battle with exiled magicJack owner Dan Borislow, Women’s Professional Soccer held its fourth draft during at the NSCAA Convention on Friday as the Atlanta Beat selected forward Sydney Leroux from UCLA as the overall number one pick.

Though broadcast via live stream on the WPS website, the event was closed to the public and briefly ground to a halt when the entire ballroom at the Kansas City Convention Center lost internet connectivity midway through. But league officials soldiered on and the proceedings were brightened by the attendance of draftees CoCo Goodson and Melinda Mercado and their families. Currently in California on national team duty, Leroux appeared via webcam to give thanks for her selection. 

During an address to supporters during the Social for Coaches of Female Athletes Thursday evening and again during a webcast of the draft, WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan acknowledged the league’s difficulties, but said it would press forward, asking for tangible support from the coaches in attendance.

"We have a group of five committed and dedicated owners who are committed to the development of this league," O'Sullivan said during a webcast of the WPS draft.

She said she wants to get soccer fans, not just women and families, to follow and support the league.

"Once they come to our games, I think they are hooked," O'Sullivan said.

The league is involved in a legal dispute with Borislow, having lost a decision earlier in the week in which a judge ruled the league failed to follow procedure in terminating the magicJack franchise formerly known as the Washington Freedom.

Borislow bought the Freedom from John and Maureen Hendricks last winter, moved the team to Boca Raton, Fla. and renamed it after his internet telecommunications product. While his intervention likely saved the team and league from folding, he repeatedly clashed with WPS leadership and their policies, leading to the ongoing court proceedings.

After initially withholding Division 1 sanctioning status to WPS, U.S. Soccer gave the league a lifeline late last year, granting it provisional status for 2012. One of the conditions for the league and its owners is that it would add another team in 2013 and two more teams in 2014.

1st round
1.    Atlanta Beat – Sydney Leroux, F (UCLA)
2.    Sky Blue FC – Melissa Henderson, F (Notre Dame)
3.    Boston Breakers – Stephanie Ochs, F (UCSD)
4.    Sky Blue FC – Camille Levin, D (Stanford)
5.    Philadelphia Independence – Sarah Hagen (UW-Milwaukee)
6.    Western New York Flash – Lindsay Taylor, F (Stanford)
7.    Western New York Flash – Teresa Noyola, D (Stanford)

2nd round
8.    Western New York Flash – Tori Huster, M (Florida State)
9.    Sky Blue FC – Ingrid Wells, M (Georgetown)
10.    Atlanta Beat – Katy Frierson, M (Auburn)
11.    Boston Breakers – Courtney Jones, D (North Carolina)
12.    Philadelphia Independence – Courtney “CoCo” Goodson, D (UC-Irvine)
13.    Philadelphia Independence – Toni Pressley, D (Florida State)

3rd round
14.    Philadelphia Independence – Bianca Henninger, GK (Santa Clara)
15.    Sky Blue FC – Jillian Mastroianni, GK (Boston College)
16.    Boston Breakers – Melinda Mercado,  D (Oklahoma State)
17.    Philadelphia Independence – Danielle Foxhoven, F (Portland)
18.    Western New York Flash – Tahnai Annis, M/F (Florida)

4th round
19.    Sky Blue FC – Laura Heyboer, F (Michigan State)
20.    Boston Breakers – Jessica Luscinski, M (Boston University)
21.     Philadelphia Independence – Jasmyne Spencer, F (Maryland)
22.     Western New York Flash – Erica Henderson, D (West Virginia)
23.     Atlanta Beat – Kate Deines, M (Washington)

[ +Click here to visit the WPS website ]

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