EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ – The preseason for the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) kicked off this week, and members from six United Women’s Soccer (UWS) sides look to either continue their professional careers or make their dreams come true. UWS aspires to Tier 2 status below NWSL and we wish all players (whether they are connected to our member teams or not) the best of luck and health in their professional pursuits.
First off, the Colorado Pride feature three former members in NWSL preseason. All three players were selected in this past January’s NWSL College Draft: forward Mallory Weber (Penn State) at #14 by the Western New York Flash; goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom(Penn State) at #26, also by the WNY Flash; and defender Adrienne Jordan (Univ. of Northern Colorado) at #35 by the Chicago Red Stars.
Next up, the Long Island Rough Riders have two of their club’s alumni taking part in NWSL preseason. United States Women’s National Team star Crystal Dunn (Univ. of North Carolina) will be back with the Washington Spirit, after her Golden Boot exploits in 2015 as well as the recent CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Midfielder Kim Decesare (Duke Univ.) is looking to be the X factor for Sky Blue F.C. this season.
The New England Mutiny will also have two former members taking part in NWSL preseason. Canadian Women’s National Team goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe (Univ. of Connecticut) has returned from her professional stint in Europe to sign as a designated player for Washington. Forward Jenna Fisher (Boston Univ.) will not have to move far if she makes the Boston Breakers roster this year.
First-year team New Jersey Copa F.C. have a strong youth club system, and in evidence of that they will see their alum in defenderErin Simon (Syracuse Univ.) take part of Sky Blue F.C.’s preseason. The North Jersey Valkyries join the Mutiny and Rough Riders with two former players in NWSL: forward Danielle Schulmann (Univ. of Connecticut) is also a part of Sky Blue’s preseason plans alongside Simon; while forward Catherine Zimmerman (Providence College) is in WNY Flash camp.
Rounding up the NWSL preseason roster are two alums from the Real Salt Lake Women franchise. Defender Lindsi Cutshall(Brigham Young Univ.) is once again with Sky Blue F.C., returning for her fourth season to the team who drafted her #4 overall in the 2013 NWSL College Draft. Forward Stephanie Verdoia (Seattle Univ.) is looking to crack the starting lineup of the Boston Breakers this year, who drafted her in the 4th round in 2015.
2016 NWSL PRESEASON
Name (UWS TEAM) – NWSL Team
Britt Eckerstrom (COLORADO PRIDE) – Western NY Flash
Adrienne Jordan (COLORADO PRIDE) – Chicago Red Stars
Mallory Weber (COLORADO PRIDE) – Western NY Flash
Kim Decesare (LONG ISLAND ROUGH RIDERS) – Sky Blue F.C.
Crystal Dunn (LONG ISLAND ROUGH RIDERS) – Washington Spirit
Jenna Fisher (NEW ENGLAND MUTINY) – Boston Breakers
Stephanie Labbe (NEW ENGLAND MUTINY) – Washington Spirit
Erin Simon (NEW JERSEY COPA F.C.) – Sky Blue F.C.
Danielle Schulmann (NORTH JERSEY VALKYRIES) – Sky Blue F.C.
Catherine Zimmerman (NORTH JERSEY VALKYRIES) – Western NY Flash
Lindsi Cutshall (REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN) – Sky Blue F.C.
Stephanie Verdoia (REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN) – Boston Breakers
About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.