Author Topic: Matilda stars snapped up in US  (Read 1860 times)

Offline redrobin

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Matilda stars snapped up in US
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:03:59 PM »
Matilda stars snapped up in US

September 25, 2008

AUSTRALIA stars Lisa De Vanna, Sarah Walsh and Heather Garriock have been selected in the draft for next year's inaugural Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) season in the United States.

Strikers De Vanna and Walsh and midfielder Garroick were all key figures in Australia's impressive 2007 Women's World Cup campaign.

They are among 28 players selected by the seven WPS clubs as part of the league's international draft conducted overnight.

De Vanna who scored four goals en-route to a first-ever World Cup quarter-finals appearance for the Matildas has been selected for Washington Freedom.

Strike partner Walsh was first choice draft for the New Jersey/New York-based Sky Blue FC, while Garriock was selected for Chicago Red Stars.

Only World Cup runners-up Brazil with 10 players and Japan with four had more representatives selected in the draft than Australia.

The list of players features the cream of international football and includes the likes of world footballer of the year Marta, Brazilian national team colleagues Daniela and Cristiane, Japanese playmaker Homare Sawa, Chinese striker Han Duan and Swedish midfielder Lotta Schelin.

The league starts in April and runs until approximately October meaning little overlap with the newly-announced Australian W-League which is due to commence late next month.

The WPS is by far the biggest women's football competition to be established in the world with a reported annual salary cap of up to $US2.5 million ($3 million) per club.

Australia's second most-capped player Garriock says the draft outcome is good news for the local game.

"It is great to see Australian women's football recognised in this way and shows how far we have come in the last few years," said Garriock.

"Our performance at the World Cup last year shows we have moved up another level, and the news of the draft is another sign that Australian women footballers are getting the respect they deserve.

"It also shows to young female players that they can earn a good living playing women's football.

"On a personal level, I am very excited and proud as this is something I have been working hard and been striving towards for many years."

The United States, as current Olympic champions and twice World Cup winners, are a powerhouse in the world of women's football, yet have not had a fully professional national league since 2003 when the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) concluded.

A number of Australians competed in the WUSA including Joanne Peters, Di Alagich, Julie Murray and Matildas skipper Cheryl Salisbury.

Current Australian players such as Collette McCallum, Caitlin Munoz and Melissa Barbieri could potentialy still earn selection for the 2009 season if any of the internationally drafted players cannot agree terms with their new clubs.

There will also be further opportunities with the WPS set to expand to ten teams in 2010 with the inclusion of Atlanta, Dallas and Philadelphia.,8659,24403114-23215,00.html

Interesting that the comment in the report draws attention to the fairly small overlap with the newly announced Australian league, whereas the English FA are seemingly set on a head-to-head challenge.

Offline redrobin

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Re: Matilda stars snapped up in US
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 01:27:49 AM »
Sky Blue's the limit for Australian women's soccer duo
by Frank Giase, The Star-Ledger
Monday January 05, 2009

Australia is slowly closing the gap on the elite teams in women's soccer and their players were in high demand at the Women's Professional Soccer International Draft last fall.

Two of those players will be playing in New Jersey this year, and don't be surprised if they turn out to be key components for Sky Blue FC this season.

Forward Sarah Walsh and central midfielder Collette McCallum helped Australia finish 1-0-2 in group play and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2007 Women's World Cup, where the team lost to Brazil, 3-2.

It was a performance that caught the eye of Sky Blue coach and general manager Ian Sawyers, who made Walsh the team's top pick (No. 7 overall) in the International Draft.

"I couldn't be happier with how things have turned out and can't wait to be a part of what seems to be a great setup," Walsh wrote in an e-mail.

Walsh will team with U.S. international Heather O'Reilly up front, but she has an advantage over O'Reilly because of her years playing with McCallum.

"My strength is probably my pace and ability to find myself in goal-scoring opportunities," Walsh wrote. "After spending years in the Australian national team with Collette, together we bring an understanding of each other's game, which has in the past produced many goals."

McCallum, whose rights were acquired through a post-draft discovery process, is looking forward to raising her game in what she hopes will become the top women's league in the world.

"I hope that WPS makes me a better football player physically and mentally," McCallum wrote in an e-mail. " ... It will also give me and other players the chance to show off our talent. It's very hard to show your face and ability in Australia."

While McCallum gets her share of goals, it's her creative play in the midfield that will be counted on most.

"I have good vision, I read the game really well and I'm a strong passer of the ball," McCallum wrote. "I've been called a dead-ball specialist quite a bit -- I love taking free kicks and corners. The one thing I really love is setting up goals and being a team player.

"I hope I bring all this to the club and that Sky Blue will win a trophy at the end of the season."

Both players are looking forward to playing alongside O'Reilly, as well as the other two U.S. internationals on the team, defender Christie Rampone and midfielder Natasha Kai.

"I have played against them several times," McCallum wrote. "All three are quality players that bring a different style to the game. It will be a great challenge to fit into the squad with my style of football and I hope to prove that I am a key player."

Said Walsh: "I have played against the U.S. girls several times in the past, so I'm looking forward to mixing it (up) with them on the same team for a change."

Walsh is also just happy to be playing again. She spent seven months recovering from a fractured tibia last year.

Last month, WPS held invitation-only combines on both coasts for graduating college seniors who have completed their eligibility, as well as national and international players from amateur leagues.

The league will hold its inaugural draft Jan. 16 in St. Louis in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.