SANFORD, Fla. — This past weekend, the ECNL Winter Showcase displayed some of the premier talent in the country to roughly 400 college coaches. Listed below is the Best XI of players seen at the competition.
GK Lauren Rood, Crossfire Premier: Goalkeeper Lauren Rood is a force in the air and commands her 18-yard box exceptionally well. In addition Rood has solid distribution both on the ground and in the air, which is vital for a modern day ‘keeper. Rood was called upon several times to make big saves against the Texans and was highly instrumental in securing the team’s clean sheet.
M Sydney Brackett, FC Stars of Massachusetts: Although Rachel Kingston receives the credit for scoring both goals, Sydney Brackett is the engine behind FC Stars’ attack. Brackett terrorized FC Dallas with blazing end to end runs that resulted in multiple dangerous services. Brackett’s pace and strength coupled with her ability to use both feet exceptionally well is a nightmare match up for any defender.
M Alexa Ferreira, PDA: Ferreira was one of the main culprits for PDA’s success on opening day. Playing in the middle of the park, Ferreira was granted freedom to focus on creating chances and did so at almost every opportunity she received. However, Ferreira is also not afraid to put in the work on the defensive end and displayed that in her first match against CASL.
F Mimi Asom, Dallas Sting: Asom was responsible for two out the three Sting goals on Monday and showed versatility with both finishes. A target striker, Asom has an imposing figure, quick turn and powerful strike.
M Julie James, Dallas Sting: Surrounded by attack-oriented players, James provides balance in the holding midfielder role. James has excellent decision making and is a stable player with solid defensive tendencies.
M Jessica Easley, Charlotte Soccer Academy: Similar to James, Easley is the engine in the midfield for Charlotte Soccer Academy. Easley never shies away from a challenge and also has a creative mind going forward. The tricky midfielder created numerous opportunities for the CSA attacking players on Monday.
F Madison Schultz, Crossfire Premier: Schultz is a quick and physical striker who has a knack for finding the target. Schultz wowed the crowd on Saturday with a superb finish that soared into the top corner and provided the assist for Crossfire’s second goal after a menacing run. Schulz never gives opposing defenders a moment to breathe and is at the core of Crossfire’s attacking strategy.
M Emily Truelove, CASL: Truelove is a tricky wing player who can play in almost any position in the final third. Despite being one of the smallest players on the pitch, Truelove’s technical ability allows her to elude defenders at whim. In CASL’s 3-0 victory over the Utah Avalanche, Truelove recorded one goal and two assists.
D Mary-Love Taylor, CASL: While Truelove is facilitating CASL’s progression on the offensive side of things, Taylor is their defensive stalwart who snuffs out almost every attacking attempt made by the opposition. Calm and composed, Taylor never shies away from a tackle and is equally adept at playing out of the back.
F Evelyn Neidert, OCYS: OCYS won two out of their three games played and Neidert played a big role in both victories. Throughout the three game span, the striker recorded three goals and four assists as OCYS defeated tough sides such as CASL.
F Natalee Heiser, FC Dallas: In the FC Dallas vs. FC Stars of Massachusetts, Heiser was the most impressive player on the pitch. At first glance, Heiser doesn’t stand out with pace or immense trickery but her soccer IQ and technical ability was far above any other player on the pitch. Playing as the high striker, Heiser provided herself as a constant outlet for the FC Dallas midfielders and created too many chances to count.
Heiser times her runs to perfection and has a soft touch that allows her to maneuver out of almost any situation. This young player is definitely one to watch for the future.