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Marshall drafted 7th overall; three from Force selected; DU’s Hemmings drafted

January 15, 2010 | 1:24 pm No comments
By George Tanner

Three members of the 2009 Colorado Force were selected in Friday’s Women’s Professional Soccer draft, including the University of Colorado’s Nikki Marshall, who was taken by Washington with the seventh overall pick.

The Force also had two central defenders drafted. The University of Kansas’ Estelle Johnson went to Los Angeles in the third round, and Nebraska standout Carly Peetz was taken in the sixth round by Boston.

Taryn Hemmings, a standout forward-midfielder from the University of Denver, the Real Colorado Cougars and Greeley West High School, was selected by Boston in the seventh round (a real steal that late in the draft, I might add).

Marshall’s selection marks the first time a CU player has been a first-round draft pick. She was one of seven players invited to attend the draft in person (Click here to see a photo of all the invitees; Marshall is second from right, wearing a red Washington Freedom scarf).

Washington Freedom coach Jim Gabarra said it was Marshall’s personality that was the deciding factor in drafting the Buffaloes’ leader.

“We were looking for someone that will help us defensively but also a versatile player,” Gabarra said. “We were prepared to pick between her and one other player, both of (whom) we knew would be available. But she was the one we have had targeted for the past four to six weeks.”

“She deserves it,” CU coach Bill Hempen said. “Somebody did their homework and found out the package she brings to a program. She’s one of the best.”

The Freedom went 8-7-5 in 2009. Washington is one of the WPS teams held over from the previous top-flight women’s pro league, the WUSA.

“I want to make an impact on this league and on this team,” Marshall said in a press release. “I cannot be more elated to play with Cat Whitehill and Abby Wambach.”

Marshall, from Mead, is the most decorated women’s soccer player in CU history. For three consecutive years she was named first-team NSCAA All-Central Region, while earning second-team All-Central Region honors during her freshman year at CU. Marshall owns four first-team All-Big 12 honors and was named CU athlete of the week six times and Big 12 player of the week on three occasions. She is CU’s all-time leader in scoring, with 93 points and 42 goals.

Marshall has spent considerable time playing internationally as a member of the U.S. national team’s U-20 and U-23 programs. She last played for the U.S. in February on the U-23 side, when the Americans won three straight matches and the championship of the Four Nations Tournament in La Serena, Chile, with victories over England, Norway and Chile. In December 2009 she helped the U.S. win a U-20 World Cup and was named MVP of the final against North Korea. She played every minute of every game in the World Cup.

“I think when she got the taste of a higher level, it made her more determined to go as far as she possibly could,” Hempen said. “It’s something she’s worked for. A top 10 draft pick in the WPS, that’s a pretty big deal for Nikki and for our program and certainly lets people know we have something going on at Colorado.”

Johnson, from Fort Collins, has been a mainstay for the Jayhawks defense, earning all-region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Soccer Buzz. She was a member of the Big 12 all-tournament team in 2008 in addition to receiving other defensive and academic honors from the conference. She was a four-year letter winner at Rocky Mountain High School and was named all-state as a junior and senior.

Colorado Force coach Craig Deacon said he became certain of L.A.’s interest in Johnson when team representatives called him on Friday and asked him to break down everything he knows about her.

“Estelle is quality,” Deacon said. “I spoke numerous times with L.A. GM Charlie Naimo on her behalf, encouraging him to take a look and that she’s the real deal. It is great to see her have this opportunity.”

Peetz, a Lincoln, Nebraska native, has received several all-Big 12 accolades in addition to defensive awards and being on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll six times. She was a charasmatic leader on and off the pitch for the Huskers who started every game in her Nebraska career.

“Peetz is another player who have been in the U-20 national team player pool, like Nikki,” Deacon said. “She was solid for us and has been in several environments which have helped her get to the professional level.”

Force owner Amy Snider was thrilled by the news.

“What an honor for our program to have three of our core players get drafted to the WPS,” said. “I am extremely proud of our players and our head coach for their accomplishments. We’re excited to follow their progress over the next few months and keep Force fans updated as they make their marks as professional athletes.”

Deacon agreed.

“We’ve got three players going on to the level they deserve to be playing on,” Deacon said. “Those guys in the Big 12 have done well. All the teams know about them. Those are three massive players that we lose, but this is what the W-League is about: to give players an opportunity. We lose three good players, but we’re very excited and wish them the best.”

Hemmings was sensational for the Pioneers. During her senior season, 2008, she was named the team’s comeback player of the year, Sun Belt player of the year, Sun Belt tournament MVP, Soccer Buzz All-Central Region first team, NSCAA/adidas all-region second team, All-SBC first team, Sun Belt all-tournament team, CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District 7 University Division First Team and Academic All-America University Division second team. She ended her career as Denver’s second all-time career scoring leader, with 112 points on 42 goals and 28 assists. She tied program record for career goals and ranked third in career assists.

Oddly, Hemmings’ selection marks the second time in two days that a DU player was selected with the final pick in a professional soccer league’s draft. Pioneers defender Kris Banghart was taken by Real Salt Lake with the final pick in Thursday’s Major League Soccer draft. Both were excellent picks.

Here is a list of all the picks in the WPS draft:

FIRST ROUND
Atlanta - Tobin Heath, North Carolina
Boston - Lauren Cheney, UCLA (Pali Blues)
FC Gold Pride - Kelley O’Hara, Stanford
Chicago - Whitney Engen, North Carolina
Los Angeles - Nikki Washington, North Carolina
New York - Brittany Taylor, Connecticut
Washington - NIKKI MARSHALL, Colorado
Los Angeles - Casey Nogueira, North Carolina
Los Angeles - Kiersten Dallstream, Washington State
FC Gold Pride - Ali Riley, Stanford
Boston - Alyssa Naeher, Penn State

SECOND ROUND
FC Gold Pride - Becky Edwards, Florida State
Philadelphia - Malorie Rutledge, LSU
Los Angeles - Michelle Enyeart, Portland
Chicago - Jessica McDonald, UNC
Boston - Jordan Angeli, Santa Clara
St. Louis - Kristina Larsen, UCLA
Washington - Carly Dobratz, Washington State
St. Louis - Ashlyn Harris, UNC
FC Gold Pride - Kaley Fountain, Wake Forest

THIRD ROUND
Atlanta - Blakely Mattern, South Carolina
Los Angeles - Kiki Bosio, Santa Clara
Atlanta - Shameka Gordon, West Florida
Chicago - Kelsey Davis, Portland
Los Angeles - ESTELLE JOHNSON, Kansas (and Colorado Force)
New York - Katie Schoepfer, Penn State
Washington - Beverly Goebel, Miami
St. Louis - Amanda Poach, Santa Clara
New York - Melissa Clarke, LSU

FOURTH ROUND

Atlanta - Jill Hutchinson, Wake Forest
Philadelphia - Kelly Henderson, Boston College
FC Gold Pride - Erin Guthri, Rutgers
Chicago - Michele Weissenhofer, Notre Dame
Boston - Katherine Reynolds, Santa Clara
New York - Danielle Johnson, Mississippi
Washington - Kristi Eveland, North Carolina
St. Louis - Veronica Perez, Washington
Los Angeles - Mary Casey, Maryland

FIFTH ROUND
Atlanta - Mallori Loften-Malachi, University of South Florida
Philadelphia - Carrie Patterson, University of Georgia
FC Gold Pride - Ashley Bowyer, Ohio State University
Chicago - Sophie Reiser, Columbia
Boston - Cynthia Morote-Ariza, Loyola-Chicago
New York - Meagan Snell, Santa Clara
Washington - Lauren Robertson, Ohio State
St. Louis - Carolyn Blank, West Virginia
Los Angeles - Lindsay Browne, Clemson

SIXTH ROUND
Atlanta - Kasey Langdon, Oklahoma State
Philadelphia - Jenifer Anzivino, Rutgers
FC Gold Pride - Elizabeth Harkin, Arizona State University
Chicago - Fiona O’Sullivan, San Francisco
Boston - CARLY PEETZ, Nebraska (Colorado Force)
New York - Kelly Isleib, Utah
Washington - Mara Osher, Boston University
St. Louis - Sarah Teegarden, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Boston - Gina DiMartino, Boston College

SEVENTH ROUND

Atlanta - Shaneka Gordon, West Florida
Philadelphia - Caitlin Farrell, Wake Forest
FC Gold Pride - Lauren Wilmoth, UCLA
Chicago - Jackie Santacaterina, Illinois
Boston - Casey Brown, Boston University
Philadelphia - Danielle Collins, William & Mary
Washington - Caitlin Miskel, Virginia
St. Louis - Elisabeth Redmond, Duke
Boston - TARYN HEMMINGS, Denver (Real Colorado Cougars)

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