After escaping last week’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Expansion Draft without losing a single player, the Western New York Flash acquired five players in Friday’s NWSL College Draft.
“I think we were stuck in the back room again and no one noticed us,” Lines said on the Expansion Draft. “We’re very happy to have Angela Salem, who was fantastic for me in two years, and we’re over the moon to have her around again as she was a massive part of the success of last season.”
First on coach Aaran Lines’ collegiate list was Stanford forward, Courtney Verloo as the ninth overall pick.
Verloo, who missed the entire 2011 season due to injury, notched 23 goals and 25 assists in the four seasons she played and will fight for a starting spot against current Flash forwards Abby Wambach, Adriana Martin and Sam Kerr—who Lines notes will be back from Australia with the Flash for preseason.
The Flash next drafted Brigham Young University midfielder Cloee Colohan as the 14th overall pick. Colohan, who transferred to BYU from the University of Portland prior to the 2012 season, earned All-WCC First Team honors in 2013 while adding six goals (two game-winners) and four assists to her name.
With the last pick of the second round (No. 18 overall), last year’s regular-season champions drafted Florida State goalkeeper Kelsey Wys.
“We went into last season with [Adrianna] AD Franch and had to put together a whole backline and we ended up with the best defense in the league, so I have no qualms about putting a young ‘keeper in goal as long as they’re good enough,” Lines said to the media following the conclusion of the draft. “Wys is good enough and will challenge AD Franch for a position.”
Wys, who posted 297 saves with the Seminoles, ended her collegiate career having broken 17 goalkeeper records at Florida State University, including shutouts (45), wins (74), and minutes played by a goalkeeper (8,518).
The Flash also held the rights to the No. 27 pick and No. 36 pick (the last picks of the third and fourth rounds), and drafted University of Virginia defender/midfielder Annie Steinlage and University of Denver forward Kristen Hamilton, respectively.
Steinlage helped the Cavaliers to a 2013 record of 24-1-1, where the team posted 16 shutouts.
Hamilton, a 2013 Hermann Trophy semifinalist, is Denver’s all-time leader in points (138) and goals (51) and is one of 25 NCAA players—in all divisions—to score 30+ goals and give 20+ assists in her collegiate career.
As for Lines’ approach with the draft, he noted that the Flash needed more depth in the roster after last season.
“We had two Canadian national team players [Bryanna McCarthy and Jodi-Ann Robinson] last year that played under 200 minutes for us and a Mexican goalkeeper [Pamela Tajonar, who was second in line to Franch]—so that’s 17 players [who played substantial time during games],” Lines said. “So there’s a little more depth because it’s a 24 game season and we were hanging on by a thread at the end of last season.”
And while Lines stayed tight-lipped on potential international players coming to the Flash, he did note that “the southern hemisphere has been good to us.”