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Independence draft Havertown’s Farrelly

Sinead Farrelly

The Philadelphia Independence selected midfielder Sinead Farrelly from the University of Virginia with their first pick in the 2011 WPS Draft in Baltimore on Friday.

The Havertown-native was a semifinalist in 2009 and 2010 for the Hermann Trophy and was named to the 2010 NSCAA/Performance Subaru Women’s NCAA Division I All-America Team. A 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Farrelly started all 22 games for the University of Virginia in 2010 and led the team in scoring with 12 goals and seven assists.

Speaking before the draft, Independence coach Paul Riley said of Farrelly, “Sinead is an excellent player…bright, clever, creative and has all the tools to be a top WPS midfielder. She has a good engine, excellent range of passing and a tremendous attitude to training. I’m sure Sinead will go in the first round.”

After selecting Farrelly, Riley said, “I think she’s going to electrify the fans…She’s a thoroughbred and can do everything, and I don’t think there’s one coach here that wouldn’t say Farrelly is the best soccer player in the draft.”

“Farrelly is a rampaging midfielder who can get among the goals as well as dish them out,” was how one report on the draft described the club’s first pick. “Also has the ability to belt them from long range. Should step in immediately as a starter.”

The Independence selected Missouri-native Lauren Fowlkes from Notre Dame with their second pick of the first round. Known as “a Swiss Army Knife” because of her versatility on the pitch, Fowlkes has played as a defender, a midfielder and as a striker during her time at Notre Dame. In the 2010 season she served as co-captain of the NCAA championship team. She was also a member of the USWNT U-20 team that won the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2008 and is in the player pool for the U-23 team.

Lauren Fowlkes

Coach Riley said of his picks, “This year, we need our draft players to play. There are going to be players missing (during the 2011 FIFA world cup) and we’re going to need to fill those holes…You know, I want soccer players…We’re going to attack and we’re going to entertain.”

The club’s final pick, James Madison University midfielder Teresa Rynier, like Farrelly also has local connections. Rynier is from Leola, PA and attended Conestoga Valley High School.

Independence 2010 WPS Draft Picks

First round
No. 2:
Sinead Farrelly, midfielder, University of Virginia
No. 5: Lauren Fawlkes, midfielder/striker, Notre Dame

Second round
No. 9:
Jennifer Stoltenberg, forward, Unniversity of Oregon
No. 11: Caitlin Farrell, defender, Wake Forest

Third round
No. 15:
Lauren Barnes, defender, UCLA
No. 18: Bianca D’Agostino, midfielder, Wake Forest

Fourth round
No. 23:
Teresa Rynier, Midfielder, James Madison University

For more information on the Independence’s draft picks, check out this piece from Philly.com’s soccer blog the Goalkeeper as well as this draft report from All White Kit and this from The Equalizer.

Heather Mitts

Mitts to Atlanta, confusingly

Heather Mitts, reportedly out-of-contract with the Independence, was signed by Atlanta Beat on Friday.

The deal, actually a trade for a third round draft pick in 2012, was initially surrounded with some confusion.

As Jonathon Tannenwald reports in the Goalkeeper blog, confusion derived from questions about Mitts’ status with the Independence prior to the deal. On December 9, a press release from the Independence announcing the opening matches of the 2011 season listed Mitts as under contract. Then, on January 13, a press release last week from US Soccer announcing the roster for the USWNT for the Four Nations Tournament in China listed Mitts as out-of-contract. Additionally, the Atlanta press release on January 14 announcing the acquisition of Mitts made no mention that the deal was a trade.

Tannenwald writes:

But I knew Mitts was supposed to be under contract with the Independence, so unless something changed with Mitts’ contract she could not have moved as a free agent.

That led me to wonder aloud on Twitter just how the deal got done. Thankfully, hawk-eyed women’s soccer writer Jeff Kassouf tweeted back at me that the signing was in fact a trade. Jeff is one of one of the most connected women’s soccer writers in the country, so I have no doubt about his sources.

Kassouf, who writes the excellent women’s soccer blog The Equalizer, said in his tweet to Tannenwald, “The [Atlanta] press release is totally misleading.”

The confusion about the deal aside, Atlanta is pleased with the trade.

“We are very excited to have Heather because she brings unmatched leadership and experience to the team,” Atlanta Beat head coach James Galanis said in the press release announcing the move. “Her speed and tenacious defending will make it hard for opposing teams to get in behind us on the right side.”

The former Philadelphia Charge, two-time Olympic gold medalist and USWNT stalwart made 17 appearances for the Independence in 2010 including 15 starts. Mitts is currently in China with the USWNT for the Four Nations tournament.

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