Another long and fun day is in the books.
The Philadelphia Independence added five players to their roster today: goalkeeper and Central High alum Mallori Lofton-Malachi; defenders Kelly Henderson, Caitlin Farrell and Danielle Collins; and midfielder Malorie Rutledge, the SEC's offensive player of the year the last two seasons for LSU.
What does it mean? As with the Union, we won't really know until the team takes the field in a few months.
But I got the chance to talk to a lot of people today, and I think you'll enjoy watching and hearing what I've put together.
In the video player, you'll find interviews with:
- Legendary North Carolina women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance
- Philadelphia Independence and U.S. national team forward Amy Rodriguez (she's the Independence's biggest star, by the way)
- Washington Freedom and U.S. national team defender Cat Whitehill
You'll also find an interview with and video highlights of the introduction of the draft's first overall pick, Tobin Heath of the Atlanta Beat.
And in the audio player, you'll find interviews with:
- Independence coach Paul Riley
- Danielle Collins
- Washington Freedom coach Jim Gabarra, who's been with the freedom sine its days in the Women's United Soccer Association
- Chicago Red Stars draft pick and former Columbia midfielder/forward Sophie Reiser
Collins and Reiser both have interesting stories. Collins was until literally this morning the Independence's director of communications. When I found that out, I was definitely caught off-guard. Was the team's decision to draft a member of its own front office staff some kind of practical joke?
As it turns out, this was quite serious. Collins played college soccer at William & Mary and has played in the WPSL since graduating in 2009. She participated in the Independence's open tryouts, and decided she wanted to get back on the field full-time. The team's coaches thought she earned a spot on the team, so they gave her one.
Collins is a native of Cream Ridge, N.J., which is relatively close to the Pennsylvania border near Allentown. She attended the Peddie School, and is friends with two Penn basketball players you might have heard of who came from there: Ibrahim Jaaber and Darren Smith.
(Hey, I also write a college sports blog. I couldn't help asking.)
Reiser was one of a very small number of late-round selections (and players overall, frankly) who attended the draft in person. But her biggest fan was someone whose name I think you'll recognize: U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati.
It is a not-so-well-kept secret that in addition to his job in Chicago, Gulati is an economics professor at Columbia. And yes, Reiser has taken his class. I suppose that if you want to get into soccer for a living, knowing one of the most powerful people in the sport in this country is a pretty good thing.
Finally, you'll notice one more video that I didn't mention above. After the draft ended, the WPS held a big party in Old City to unveil its teams' uniforms for the coming season. With help from my Philly.com colleague Ben Singer, I put together a highlight reel of the jersey introductions, and after the show I talked to some of the biggest names who were on the stage.
There's still another full day to go in the NSCAA convention. I'll be back later in the morning with more coverage.