Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra and assistant coach Rick Stainton at the WPS Draft.
Midfielder Alyssa Mautz, Defender Lauren Alkek Taken by Team
The 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft was held on Friday as part of the NSCAA Convention in Baltimore, with Sky Blue FC adding a pair of new players to its roster. The first selection for the team came in the third round (16th overall) when it took midfielder Alyssa Mautz from Texas A&M, and the final pick was made in the fourth round (21st overall) as Oklahoma defender Lauren Alkek finished out the draft for the team.
“We are really looking forward to having both of our picks into camp,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra stated. “In Mautz, we got a very versatile player. I have heard very good things about her. She is a competitor, and she is a winner. Her versatility gives us the ability to plug her in anywhere on the field if needed, and that would be especially valuable during national team call-ups. She has a good presence in the air and is just overall a very good soccer player. Alkek is a player who we targeted and felt could fill a need for us. She has good pace in the back, and she is fast and strong. She tackles very hard and is a very tough player. I think they both have a very good shot at making the roster, and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the preseason.”
Sky Blue FC did not select until the third round due to a series of trades that were made in the offseason, among them being the addition of midfielder Tobin Heath, forward Eniola Aluko and midfielder Angie Kerr in exchange for a pair of first round picks.
“These two picks are very good picks for us,” Sky Blue FC assistant coach Rick Stainton commented. “We got two very talented players, the first one being Alyssa Mautz, who is very versatile. She strikes nice long balls and distributes very well. The second pick, Lauren Alkek, who I also got to see play at the Big 12 Championships, is a very physical back who can win the tackles. She goes in hard and can distribute very well from the back with a nice long ball. She also has a big throw-in and is very quick. Overall, these two picks help deepen the positions for us, and they provide us with a lot of talent.”
After spending her freshman year at Saint Louis University, Mautz transferred to Texas A&M before her sophomore campaign. The Missouri native was twice named to the All-Big 12 Team during college, receiving a second team nod in 2009 and first team accolades this past fall. She led the Aggies with 29 points on a career high 12 goals and five assists during her senior season in 2010, and she was one of only two players to start all 23 matches the team played. Mautz was also named the NSCAA Player of the Week after tallying her second collegiate hat trick against Virginia Tech on August 27th. In addition to her stellar college career, Mautz has also spent time with both the U-20 and U-23 U.S. National Teams.
Alkek was a cornerstone defender at the University of Oklahoma, starting for the Sooners as early as her freshman season. The Texas native actually began her college career as a forward before moving to the back line prior to her sophomore campaign, starting all 58 games she played as a defender. She also excelled in the classroom during her time at Oklahoma and was twice named to the Big 12 All-Academic First Team. Despite spending the majority of her time in Norman as a defensive player, Alkek still managed to contribute a goal and two assists to the offensive cause.
“We are glad to add two quality players to our team for the upcoming season,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gioia DiFlumeri remarked. “On behalf of our entire organization, I would like to welcome both Alyssa and Lauren to New Jersey.”
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