Returns of Zerboni, Adriana headline Flash FA additions
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • February 01, 2013 @ 12:29pm
Given two weeks after the NWSL College Draft to sign five free agents, Western New York Flash head coach Aaran Lines said he expected to lure back familiar faces from the 2012 WPSL-Elite championship season.
When Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Jeff DiVeronica released the Flash’s five free agent signings late Thursday night, several names were familiar. Last year’s captain and star center midfielder McCall Zerboni (pictured, header) agreed to return to Western New York, and WPSL-Elite’s leading scorer Adriana will combine with U.S. Women’s National Team striker Abby Wambach to form a menacing attack partnership.
Former New York Fury defender Brittany Taylor, former magicJack defender Sarah Huffman and Australian youngster Samantha Kerr rounded out the signings. The Flash were allowed to sign one more free agent than the other seven NWSL clubs, as Western New York was the only squad to receive just two USWNT allocations.
Between Zerboni’s quickness, Carli Lloyd’s experience and Veronica Perez’s potential, the Flash have exciting options in the midfield and firepower up front with Wambach and Adriana.
Zerboni left Western New York for her hometown of San Clemente—where she starred at nearby UCLA—but when California was passed over by the NWSL as a possible franchise location, the electric midfielder opted to return to the familiar confines of Western New York.
After the Flash secured their WPSL-Elite title, Adriana played briefly with the Chelsea Ladies in England and Atletico Madrid in Spain. She blossomed as a goal scorer under Lines, however, as her lethal finishing ability forced defenses to mark her tightly.
Part of the Philadelphia Independence and the New York Fury’s dominant back-four under Paul Riley, Taylor is a vital addition to shore up the team’s defense. While she’s respected for her defensive exploits, Taylor’s more than willing to press forward as well.
On a set piece in a regular season match-up against the Flash, Taylor took advantage of a clever dummy by Fury teammate Tina DiMartino by firing a low shot past WNY’s goalie Brittany Cameron.
The 28-year-old Huffman spent last season with the W-League’s Pali Blues, who won the West Division but lost in the championship. She spends her off-seasons in Los Angeles, but she’ll make the cross-country trek to join Wambach, her former teammate with WPS’ magicJack.
Samantha Kerr—perhaps an Australian connection to fellow international and former Flash player Emily Van Egmond—is a 19-year-old winger who is coming off a W-League (Australia, not US) title with Sydney FC. Here’s the championship recap, replete with a photo of Kerr doing a back-flip while celebrating her goal.
After the first free agency period, the Flash now have 15 players to compete for roster spots, but DiVeronica notes that the draft picks are not guaranteed a place. The NWSL will hold a six-round supplemental draft on Feb. 7 to fill out the remainder of the roster, and four “discovery players” can be added from the pool of athletes who aren’t drafted.