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Reflections from the 2013 NSCAA Convention

The 2013 NSCAA Convention was a world-class event, bringing the biggest and best soccer minds to Indianapolis.

It was an event full of firsts, but a signal of the end for others. The NWSL Draft put the new league on a strong footing, bringing young American collegiate stars into the fold.

While the NWSL is just starting, the days of a MLS SuperDraft and MLS Combine may be coming to an end.  The large number of talented Homegrown Players signed this year shows that the SuperDraft is becoming irrelevant, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It shows how the MLS Academy system is growing and developing. The idea of a college draft is an American idea and eventually getting rid of it will put closer to expectations of the global game.

Our favorite moment of the convention was Michelle Akers speaking at the Women’s Soccer Breakfast.  This marked the USWNT legend’s return to the game, a game that she dominated for 15 years at the national team level.

She talked about her horse rescue charity, her new soccer business, and all the memories from her legendary career.  Akers talked about all of her former teammates and coaches, many of which were in attendance. Emotions were all over the place as she talked about her soccer journey.

She credited Anson Dorrance with challenging her each and every day.  Even though she passed on an offer to play at UNC, she grew as player with him at the helm of the national team.

She became emotional when she talked about Tony DiCicco.

“You enabled me to play a long time after I probably should have retired.” Akers said of DiCicco. “You helped me to be my best when I couldn’t be my best.”

But the room erupted in laughter when she talked about current USWNT head coach Tom Sermanni.

“I think you are so lucky that you didn’t have me as a player,” Akers commented. ”I am sure  I would have loved having you as my coach. But wow, did you avoid a lot of heartache there.”

Akers called Kristine Lilly her favorite player because she worked so hard and never complained.

It was like a family reunion, probably the most touching event of the entire convention.  It was powerful and gives us hope for the future of the women’s game.  No wonder people keeping trying to give a women’s league a go.  It matters that much.

The NSCAA All-American Luncheon was a massive spectacle as hundreds gathered to honor the best at every level of American soccer. It is probably the only time that youth and high school players are given the same recognition and spotlight that D-I players receive.

Overall, the 2013 NSCAA Convention was a renewal of faith of faith for many.  It shows everyone that the American game is headed in the right direction and that the future is very, very bright.

Event Photos

NWSL Announces Allocation of 55 Players to Eight Clubs

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced the allocation of 55 National Team players to the eight clubs as 23 Americans, 16 Canadians and 16 Mexicans found out their teams for the inaugural 2013 season.

The allocation process was conducted with assistance from a panel of experts familiar with the player pools, including individuals from the collegiate level, recent professional and semi-professional clubs, and the youth and senior national team level in North America.

Along with the panel’s collective input on the technical ability of the players, in preparation for the allocation, players selected their preferred destinations and the clubs also provided their preference with regard to specific players and qualities of players desired. Based on the input from the panel of experts and the teams, players were assigned numerical values on quality and desirability.

“This allocation process is obviously a big step in building the foundation for this league and each of the teams will benefit from a group of very talented players,” said NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey. “This is always a difficult process, but we believe there was a fair distribution of talent across all eight teams and with the NWSL College Draft coming up in Indianapolis on Jan. 18, the rosters of the clubs will really start to take shape.”

U.S. Soccer is subsidizing the salaries of the 23 American players, while the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federation of Mexican Football will each do the same for 16 players.

With 23 U.S. players available for the allocation, all but one of the eight teams received three U.S. Women’s National Team players with the Western New York Flash getting two Americans in Olympic heroes Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach, who last Monday was named the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.

Following are the team-by-team allocations:

Boston Breakers

Sydney Leroux (USA)

Heather Mitts (USA)

Heather O’Reilly (USA)

Adriana Leon (CAN)

Rhian Wilkinson (CAN)

Anisa Guajardo (MEX)

Cecilia Santiago (MEX)

Chicago Red Stars

Shannon Boxx (USA)

Amy LePeilbet (USA)

Keelin Winters (USA)

Erin McLeod (CAN)

Carmelina Moscato (CAN)

Maribel Dominguez (MEX)

Dinora Garza (MEX)

FC Kansas City

Nicole Barnhart (USA)

Lauren Cheney (USA)

Becky Sauerbrunn (USA)

Desiree Scott (CAN)

Lauren Sesselmann (CAN)

Renae Cuellar (MEX)

Marylin Diaz (MEX)

Portland Thorns FC

Rachel Buehler (USA)

Tobin Heath (USA)

Alex Morgan (USA)

Luz Saucedo (MEX)

Marlene Sandoval (MEX)

Karina LeBlanc (CAN)

Christine Sinclair (CAN)

Seattle Reign FC

Megan Rapinoe (USA)

Amy Rodriguez (USA)

Hope Solo (USA)

Kaylyn Kyle (CAN)

Emily Zurrer (CAN)

Jenny Ruiz (MEX)

Teresa Noyola (MEX)

Sky Blue FC

Jill Loyden (USA)

Kelley O’Hara (USA)

Christie Rampone (USA)

Sophie Schmidt (CAN)

Melanie Booth (CAN)

Monica Ocampo (MEX)

Lydia Rangel (MEX)

Washington Spirit

Ashlyn Harris (USA)

Ali Krieger (USA)

Lori Lindsey (USA)

Robin Gayle (CAN)

Diana Matheson (CAN)

Alina Garciamendez (MEX)

Teresa Worbis (MEX)

Western New York Flash

Carli Lloyd (USA)

Abby Wambach (USA)

Bryana McCarthy (CAN)

Jodi-Ann Robinson (CAN)

Veronica Perez (MEX)

Pamela Tajonar (MEX)