The ASA Chesapeake Charge have signed six players for the 2012 Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite League season. Returning from last year’s WPSL East Region Finalist team are Jessica Hnatiuk, Erica Suter, Amanda Lebo, Heather Cooke, Brittany Hadaway and Lyndse Hokanson. The six look forward to helping lead the team against new competition.
The WPSL Elite League includes three teams with WPS experience: Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars (who also played in the WPSL in 2011 and finished second in the league) and 2011 WPS Champion Western New York Flash. The league also features WPSL teams ASA Chesapeake Charge, FC Indiana, New England Mutiny and New York Fury. Independent Philadelphia Fever fills out the eight-team league.
“We are very excited to have a majority of the core back from last year’s team,” said Charge GM Patrick Crawford. “We feel like we have built a great core these last two seasons, and having familiar faces who know the system will benefit us this season. With the addition of a few key talents we are excited to see how we will match up against the tougher talent of WPSL Elite League.”
Hnatiuk, a defender who was selected to the WPSL All-2nd team in 2011, will continue where she left off last season as the anchor in the back line. Her field vision and leadership on the field will be key for some of Charge’s younger players. In her three years at Johns Hopkins University she started all 68 games played, finishing with nine goals and seven assists. Hnatiuk’s efforts have earned her Centennial Conference Player of the Year, All-Centennial Conference, and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Mid-Atlantic Region Second Team honors.
Suter and Hnatiuk are no strangers, as the two played together at Johns Hopkins as well as on Charge. The sturdy midfielder’s speed and nose for the goal will create many problems for opposing defences. Suter led her Johns Hopkins soccer team with 19 goals and 15 assist in 2011, amassing totals of 55 goals and 31 assists for her college career. She was an All-American in 2011 and represented her team in Brazil with other elite players.
Lebo is a defender who was a key in the back in 2011. The four-year letter winner for Wake Forest University and 2009-2010 starter for the Charge will bring her leadership and confidence to the 2012 squad. In her four years with the Demon Decons, Lebo started 54 of her 76 games, notching seven goals and ten assists. In 2009 she was named as an assistant coach with Washington College.
Cooke, who was a defender on the 2009-2010 teams, is also a member of the Phillipine Women’s National Team. The Loyola University standout is a prior All-MAAC First Team and NSCAA/adidas All-Norhteast Region honoree who will lead by example. Her determination and leadership on the field will be counted on this season.
Hadaway, a four-year starter at Towson University, is a midfielder/forward who participated on the 2009-2010 team. With 74 starts in 75 career games at Towson, Hadaway was a mainstay for the Tigers. She is a prior All-Colonial Athletic Association selection and will be a crucial part in many different roles for Charge in 2012.
Hokanson, a sophomore goalkeeper at George Mason University who is mature beyond her years, was instrumental in the Charge’s 2010 success. Hokanson may be the most crucial part of the team’s 2012 season. “I believe she can single handedly take a game over,” said Crawford. “We are looking for her to step in right away and lead our team from the back.”
The WPSL Elite League features eight teams: The Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Fever, Western New York Flash, Chicago Red Stars, FC Indiana, New England Mutiny, New York Fury, and ASA Chesapeake Charge.