Late last month, U.S. Soccer Federation announced the formation of a new professional women’s soccer league for the 2013 season. It was a timely present for a number of college soccer stars who were in the twilight of their collegiate careers.
The women’s professional league, which was named the National Women's Soccer League on Saturday (NWSL), will have a pretty deep class of seniors to look at in its inaugural season. Here are just a handful of the players that have impressed in the college game over the years and should make their mark at the next level.
MF Christine Nairn, Penn State
The Nittany Lions midfielder already has experience with the U.S. Women’s National Team and will be one of the top picks when the draft for the new league rolls around. With her deft skill and tough as nails attitude, Nairn is a player who will be around the game for as long as she decides.
The appearance at College Cup earlier this month gave a national audience a glimpse at just how special she can be with cunning passes and nearly superhuman strength to hold defenders off the ball. Nairn will be a starter from day one with the professional ranks, as she continues to climb toward a starting spot on the full national team.
D Rachel Quon, Stanford
There are a few players from Stanford who will be high draft picks for the new professional league, but Quon deserves special attention as perhaps the best outside back from this class.
The two-time TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Season selection is a speedy option at right back with good skill and solid tactical understanding of the game.
MF Amber Brooks, North Carolina
North Carolina and U.S. U20 Women’s National Team star Crystal Dunn called Amber Brooks “the best ball-winner” she has ever played with or against. That should be enough of an endorsement for any professional team to consider Brooks with an early selection. The TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Year was a dominant force in the center of the field for her four years at Chapel Hill and will be the same tenacious tackler at the next level.
F Tiffany McCarty, Florida State
Tiffany McCarthy finished her collegiate career with 150 points. 150! Along the way to scoring 63 goals and dishing out 24 assists, McCarthy showed she was one of the best forwards in college soccer. Her smart runs off the ball and knack for putting the ball in the back of the net via any means necessary will make her a valuable addition to any team at the next level.
F Caroline Miller, Virginia
A dynamic goal scorer who finished her four year career with a senior year scoring 20 goals and 7 assists, not a bad way to wrap things up in Charlottesville. For someone finishing the season so hot, it wouldn’t be a shock to see her continue making strides forward in the new league.
GK Adrianna Franch, Oklahoma State
One of the best goalkeepers to ever play the women’s college game, Franch is a three-time All American who has left her name in the record books. An athletic shot-stopper with great reflexes, Franch has appearances with the U.S. U23 team and seems to have a bright future, one that would only be helped in a professional environment.
MF Kristen Mewis, Boston College
The BC midfielder has a tremendous pedigree: U.S. youth national team appearances, various national awards, and a senior year where she scored 16 goals and tallied 12 assists. Simply put, she makes things happen as an attacker, and any of the new pro teams would be lucky to have her.
D Ines Jaurena, Florida State
Defenses in the new women’s league would surely be able to find a spot on the field for Jaurena at the back. Fresh off back-to-back appearances at the College Cup, the native of France was one of the key contributors from her outside back spot to an outstanding defense in 2012, and would easily make the transition to the highest level.