(Jan. 17, 2014) - The Boston Breakers added power to their attack, depth to their defense, and a quality goalkeeper in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Draft, held Friday, Jan. 17, at NSCAA Convention inside the Philadelphia Convention Center.
(Jan. 17, 2014) - The Boston Breakers added power to their attack, depth to their defense, and a quality goalkeeper in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Draft, held Friday, Jan. 17, at the NSCAA Convention inside the Philadelphia Convention Center.
"I thought the draft was very competitive and everybody seemed to do their due diligence, and at the end of the day, I am very happy. We accomplished what we set out to do," Breakers Head Coach Tom Durkin said. "We were looking for some options up front for breakaway speed with the loss of Sydney Leroux, and we were looking for a left-sided player at midfield to add more balance to our team. And we were looking for cover at center back. I think we've got some very good, young talented players coming in. Next stop, preseason."
With their first pick in the draft, No. 8 overall, the Breakers selected University of Michigan star forward and NSCAA All-American Nkem Ezurike. The 5-foot, 11-inch forward is a native of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia and is Michigan's all-time leader in goals (49) and points (118). A semifinalist for the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy, Ezurike is a three-time NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region (2013 - first team; 2012 - second team; 2010 - third team) selection. Internationally, Ezurike has played for the Canadian U-20 (2012) and U-17 National Teams (2007-08). She played in the 2008 U-17 Women's World Cup.
Nkem Ezurike (Photo Courtesy University of Michigan Athletics)
"I'm so excited. I think it'll be a great opportunity to play for Boston. They have a great bunch of players. It'll be exciting to be there and be a part of the team," Ezurike said. "It's an amazing opportunity to play in the NWSL. It's a big step up from the college level, and I'm excited to see how it is."
With their second pick of the draft (second round, No. 13 overall), the Breakers selected Duke defender Natasha Anasi. The 5-6 Arlington, Texas native played 97 games at Duke (7,873 minutes) and tallied four goals and six assists over the course of her four-year career with Duke. Anasi was the first of three Blue Devils selected by the Breakers in Friday's draft.
Natasha Anasi (Photo Courtesy Duke Athletics)
"I am super excited," Anasi said. "Boston is a great organization. I'm really excited to be a part of it."
In the third round, the Breakers selected Virginia Tech forward Jazmine Reeves (No. 21 overall) and Duke forward Mollie Pathman (No. 23 overall). Reeves, from Dover, Delaware, is coming off a season that yielded NSCAA All-American honors. She finished her career at Virginia Tech with 25 goals and 19 assists and helped lead the Hokies to the NCAA national semifinals this past fall.
"It's awesome," Reeves said about getting drafted by the Breakers. "Boston is a beautiful city. It's exciting. I appreciate the opportunity to play for the Breakers. I'm excited about the future."
Pathman, a Durham, N.C., native, is a 5-4 forward and scored 17 goals and 29 assists in 87 career games with Duke. She was a member of the U.S. team that won the U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup in Japan in 2012. She also played for the U.S. in the 2010 U-20 Women's World Cup, alongside current Breaker Kristie Mewis.
Mollie Pathman (Photo Courtesy Duke Athletics)
"I am so excited, honored, and humbled to be part of such an amazing organization," Pathman said, noting that she's looking forward to playing alongside her fellow Duke and U20 teammates. "It's so exciting that some of my best friends get to come along with me."
In the fourth round (No. 32 overall), the Breakers bolstered their goalkeeping corps by adding Villianova standout keeper Jami Kranich. Kranich was Pathman's teammate on the 2012 U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup championship team. At Villanova, the Hamden, Conn., native finished with a career 12 shutouts and a 1.59 goals against average. She was a 2012 Third Team All-BIG EAST selection.
"I'm very excited to be joining the Breakers," Kranich said. "I'm excited to be close to home and play with some great players on the team."
During the draft, the Breakers traded keeper Michelle Betos to Portland Thorns FC in exchange for the No. 34 pick in this year's draft and a second-round draft pick in 2015. And with the No. 34 pick, the Breakers selected Duke forward/midfielder Kim DeCesare. A native of Massapequa, N.Y., DeCesare captain the Blue Devils in 2013, scored 29 goals and 15 assists in her Duke career.
"It's just a privelage and there's so much excitment to getting drafted," DeCesare said. "I'm extremely excited. I love Boston. And with my (Duke) teammates, it can't get much better than that."
Kim DeCesare (Photo Courtesy Duke Athletics)
The Boston Breakers open up the 2014 NWSL season in April (scheduled to be released in the coming weeks). You can purchase season tickets now at www.breakerstickets.com. All home games will be played at Harvard Stadium in 2014.