The Washington Freedom selected four foreign player targets in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Initial International Draft on Wednesday, naming Japanese player Homare Sawa as the first they’d like to sign if she comes to the new league.
Also selected by Washington were two French players in Sonia Bompastor and Louisa Necib in the second and fourth round respectively, sandwiching the third round pick of Australian Lisa De Vanna.
Head Coach Jim Gabarra said, “We like all teams are very pleased with the International draft. It is very exciting to begin to see our team take shape with the addition of these quality International stars’ WPS playing rights. I have always been a fan of Sawa and believe she will be a great fit in our midfield. Sonia Bompastor is a versatile left sided player and can play in defense as well as midfield. Lisa DeVanna offers incredible speed up front. Louisa Necib is a young playmaker that we believe can be an impact player in our league in the future.”
Before any picks however, the Freedom made at trade with St. Louis, dropping from 3rd to 6th overall in this draft, but moving up to 3rd in another draft to be held in October.
Noticibly absent from any teams’ picks were German players, who league officials say will be unlikely to sign to the new American professional league since the next Women’s World Cup will be held in Germany.
The German World Cup will not effect one of Washington’s American allotments in local prodict Ali Krieger, who currently plays in that country, but she is under contact with German Champion FFC Frankurt. The Freedom are working with Krieger’s agent to make a deal, but nothing is done as of today.
Wednesday’s Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Initial International Draft officially assigns the WPS-playing rights of those selected by the individual teams. Each team was allowed to draft four international players, providing the opportunity to begin a formal negotiation process with each selected player upon receiving permission from that player’s current club. For the 2009 season, teams will ultimately be allowed to sign up to five international players per roster. The results of the draft included the selection of 10 players from Brazil, four from Japan, three from Australia and three from Canada.
The draft does not reflect any intent or commitment on the player’s behalf to sign with this team or that any offer has been made to the player. Rather, it signifies the beginning of the process by which each team will move forward according to the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. These regulations govern the relationships between players and clubs around the world.
The first step will begin with a formal notification from that WPS team to the respective player’s club regarding their interest in this player and serve as a notification of their intent to enter into negotiations with the player. Teams will only be allowed to move forward with a formal negotiation process once it has been confirmed that the player is in the last six months of her contract or if her respective club grants access to the player if her contract extends beyond the six month window. From this point, each team will work with the player to negotiate a mutually acceptable contract.
“The international draft was created to allow an equitable opportunity for the individual WPS clubs to develop their teams, by assigning the WPS-playing rights to the seven franchises that are beginning play in April 2009,” said Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. “Now they can go out to the market — and after receiving permission from the player’s clubs — put together the most competitive team they possibly can based on their selections.”
“Today’s draft showcased interesting selections and last minute trades. Clearly there is a keen interest in Brazilian players, who bring a creative and dynamic rhythm of play,” said Antonucci. “And more broadly, from Asia to Australia, Europe to the Americas, it’s exciting to see our teams looking to sign players from across the world to play in WPS in 2009.”
The order of selections was based on a weighted ranking voted on by league coaches following the U.S. Women’s National Team allocations on Tuesday, September 16. The WPS Initial International Draft will be followed on October 6 by a general draft of domestic players and remaining international players.
Official Draft Results
Bay Area Formiga (Brazil)
Boston Breakers Kelly Smith (England)
Los Angeles Marta (Brazil)
St. Louis Daniela (Brazil)
Chicago Red Stars Cristiane (Brazil)
Washington Freedom Homare Sawa (Japan)
Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) Sarah Walsh (Australia)
Bay Area Christine Sinclair (Canada)
Boston Breakers Fabiana (Brazil)
Los Angeles Aya Miyama (Japan)
Washington Freedom Sonia Bompastor (France)
Chicago Red Stars Heather Garriock (Australia)
St. Louis Renata Costa (Brazil)
Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) Rosana (Brazil)
Bay Area Eriko Arakawa (Japan)
Boston Breakers Maycon (Brazil)
St. Louis Lotta Schelin (Sweden)
Washington Freedom Lisa De Vanna (Australia)
Chicago Red Stars Karen Carney (England)
St. Louis Melissa Tancredi (Canada)
Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) Ester (Brazil)
Bay Area Erika (Brazil)
Boston Breakers Shinobu Ohno (Japan)
Los Angeles Han Duan (China)
Washington Freedom Louisa Nécib (France)
Chicago Red Stars Caroline Jonsson (Sweden)
Los Angeles Margret Lara Vidarsdottir (Iceland)
Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) Kelly Parker (Canada)