Blues Bring More Veteran Leadership to Team
The Pali Blues are looking for a second consecutive W-League championship
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Friday, May 1, 2009) – The Pali Blues Soccer Club bolstered the roster for their May 9th home opener today, announcing three key acquisitions. English striker Jodie Taylor and defender Beth McNamara will don the powder blue this year, while midfielder Leah Tapscott returns to the Blues after winning a league championship with the club last season.
"The signing of these players brings us closer to the goal of matching the number of players we helped push to WPS from last year’s group,” Blues head coach Charlie Naimo commented. “We have a few great internationals signed already and some of the best college players from all over the country. The staff is so excited to get working with this group, it could be the best ever."
Forward Jodie Taylor is a native of Birkenhead, England, and she has logged heavy minutes as a member of the English U-23 National Team. She played collegiately at Oregon State University and rewrote the record books while suiting up for the Beavers. She is the only player in program history to receive All-Pac 10 First Team accolades four years straight and became the first OSU player to eclipse the century mark in points. The English playmaker tallied a career total of 113 points on 47 goals and 19 assists in college. Taylor began her W-League career with the Boston Renegades before playing a pair of seasons with the Ottawa Fury. Last year, she finished sixth in the league after registering 24 points on 10 goals and four helpers.
"Jodie is a fantastic attacking player, and I am very surprised she had not been picked up by a WPS team,” Naimo stated. “She is the whole package- athletic, technical and passionate, and her tactical awareness is at a professional level. Jodie will be a great compliment to this great group of attacking players."
Midfielder Leah Tapscott returns to the Blues after winning the league title with the team last year. She contributed four points on a goal and two assists last season, displaying her trademark hustle throughout the championship campaign. She played her college soccer at Stanford University, tallying 30 career points on 10 goals and 10 assists. She bolstered her resume while playing for the Cardinal, receiving All-Pac 10 First Team, NSCAA All-West Region Second Team and Soccer Buzz Third Team honors in 2004. Tapscott played for the ODP team in Wisconsin when she was in high school and was selected NSCAA All-America in 2001.
"This will be my third season with Leah, and she is one of the most versatile players I have ever had,” Naimo remarked. “She spent the pre-season with Bay Area FC Gold Pride and she will be more then ready to impact this team."
Defender Beth McNamara played for Naimo for three seasons with the New Jersey Wildcats of the W-League, winning a league crown together in 2005. During their time together, they also won an additional regular season championship and were crowned the 2005 North American champions. The 2006 All-USL Eastern Conference Defender also made three appearances with the Philadelphia Charge of the Women’s United Soccer Association before beginning her W-League career with the Boston Renegades in 2003. The four-year starter at James Madison University was a three-time All-Colonial Athletic Association selection and was named the James Madison Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2003. Naimo brought McNamara with him to the Pacific Palisades before the 2008 season, but the JMU product was forced to the sidelines due to injury.
"Beth has been with me since the Wildcats transformation, and she will be a great leader for this group,” Naimo said. “She missed out on last season at Pali because of injury and has come back very strong. After spending pre-season with us at Sol, she is ready to make another run at pro soccer. I am hoping the season will accomplish this for her.”
The Blues will open their league title defense against the Los Angeles Legends at the Stadium by the Sea on Saturday, May 9th, at 6:00 PM, attempting to set a world record for most people juggling soccer balls at one time during halftime of the season opener. For more information about that world record attempt or to purchase tickets, fans are encouraged to call Blues General Manager Jason Lemire at (310) 709-2242.