Pali Blues See Five More Players Taken in WPS Draft

Pali Blues goalkeeper Val Henderson will stay in Los Angeles to play with the Sol (Photo by Lawrence Shin)
Total of 15 Former Players Heading to Women’s Pro Soccer

Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Sunday, January 18, 2009) – When Women’s Pro Soccer held their second draft this past Friday in St. Louis, the defending W-League Champion Pali Blues Soccer Club saw five players get selected for the inaugural season of WPS. The draft on Friday was the first that included players that are on the verge of college graduation, and no team had more players picked up than the Pali Blues.

"I am so happy for all our players that were selected,” Blues head coach Charlie Naimo stated. “When we set out last year, it was one of our goals to get as many as possible a chance in WPS. With 15 selected players now with WPS teams, we feel a sense of accomplishment as a franchise, and we will push for the same in year two."

Goalkeeper Val Henderson will be remaining in the area as the UCLA product was taken by the Los Angeles Sol with the 33rd overall pick. Henderson was stellar for the Blues in their 2008 championship run, compiling a 7-0-0 record with six shutouts and a 0.14 goals against average.

“I am extremely happy that Val will be with us as we begin a new chapter,” Naimo, who is also the Sol General Manager, said. “She is a great player, a great leader and knows how to compete. I enjoyed having Val last year, and I can say it would have been hard to see her in another WPS uniform.”

Defender Carrie Dew was the first of the five Blues players to get the WPS nod on Friday, staying in-state to play for FC Gold Pride (Bay Area) with the 12th overall selection. Former Blues midfielder Brittany Klein (Chicago, 14th overall), goalkeeper Karen Bardsley (FC Sky Blue, 18th overall) and forward Mele French (FC Sky Blue, 60th overall) would round out the players selected from the Blues.

"The prevalence of Pali Blues players in the WPS Draft reflects the quality of players our organization attracts and produces,” Blues General Manager Jason Lemire commented. “It speaks to Charlie Naimo as a coach and a tradition of excellence we plan to continue here with the Pali Blues year after year."

The Blues recently announced their first acquisition for the 2009 season this past week after signing New Zealand National Team midfielder Ali Riley, and the team returns to the pitch for their sophomore campaign in the W-League this upcoming May. Stay tuned to the team website at www.bluessoccerclub.com for all of the latest information on the 2008 W-League champions.



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