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ND Women’s Soccer: Irish stars join new pro league

Deirdre Krasula | Tuesday, January 20, 2009

With the economy hitting rock bottom and the job market presenting a slim amount of opportunities for graduating seniors, a few Irish players can rest easy – they’ll have a job come April. Four graduating Irish players notched spots in the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer draft Friday.

Senior forward/midfielder Brittany Bock was the first Notre Dame player snatched up. She was selected by the Los Angeles Sol in the first round as the fifth overall pick. Bock was a two-time All-America and a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy. Despite being plagued by a knee injury early on in the postseason. Bock ranks 12th in school history with 46 career goals and 121 points.

Hermann Trophy winner Kerri Hanks went directly after Bock to the St. Louis Athletica. Hanks is one of only four players to earn the Hermann twice in her collegiate career. Known for her aggressive style and perseverance, Hanks holds a combined 67 records for Notre Dame, the Big East and the NCAA. In addition, Hanks passed soccer icon Mia Hamm in career assists before this year’s College Cup even started in Cary, N.C.

The backbone of the Irish defense and a large part of the reason Notre Dame made it all the way to the title game rested on senior defender Carrie Dew. Dew was selected as the 12th pick by the FC Gold Pride, a team based out of San Francisco.

Defender Elise Weber and Hanks will continue to play as teammates as Weber was taken the 21th overall pick by the St. Louis Athletica. The transfer from the University of Wisconsin started all 53 games during her two years with the Irish and helped Dew keep the Irish defense standing.

In addition to the four graduating seniors, the Irish lost another familiar face to the draft. Current volunteer assistant coach Amanda Cinalli was selected by St. Louis in the general draft for players no longer in college. Other recent graduates selected include defender Christie Shaner (’07), who was selected in the fourth round (25th overall) and midfielder Jen Buczkowski (’07), who went in the sixth round (39th overall) to Sky Blue FC (New Jersey.)

Irish standout Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (’98) is listed on the Chicago roster but will sit out the league’s inaugural season as she is awaiting the birth of her second child. Another Notre Dame graduate, midfielder Shannon Boxx (’99), joins Bock in Los Angeles.

The WPS is the second attempt at women’s professional soccer in the U.S. The Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) was founded in 2000 but only survived three seasons before folding. With fresh stars like those coming off the Irish graduating class, many hold hopes the WPS will survive longer than its predecessor. Boasting internationally-famed players like Brazil’s Marta (Los Angeles Sol) and America’s own Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom), the WPS stands a fighting chance.

The first match kicks off Sunday, March 29, when Bock and the Los Angeles Sol play host to the Washington Freedom in Carson, Calif.