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With Olympics looming, Flash adds offensive firepower through draft

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blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

In a trend that’s becoming pervasive not only in Major League Soccer but also Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), teams with tiny to non-existent scouting budgets are forced to find other ways to evaluate college talent. Do owners and head coaches exhaust their networks for perspectives on collegiate players without seeing them with their own eyes? Seems risky.

For the Western New York Flash, their efforts were focused intently on scouting the Women’s Final Four in Georgia in early December. Head coach Aaran Lines clearly came away with prospects in mind, as he added three players from Final Four schools in the first two rounds of the WPS Draft, held last Friday evening in Kansas City. [Full results here].

Two members of the national champion Stanford Cardinal will join the Flash organization this spring, as Western New York selected striker Lindsay Taylor sixth overall and attacking midfielder Teresa Noyola seventh overall. With their third consecutive pick—must be exhausting when you’re “on the clock” for that long—Lines and owner Joe Sahlen picked Florida State midfielder Tori Huster, whose team fell to the Cardinal in the semifinals.

With Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan, the Flash’s two primary attacking threats if Marta departs, likely to miss games late in the year due to Olympic commitments, Western New York will be prepared with this infusion of rookie talent.

Taylor tied for fourth in the country with 20 goals last fall, while Noyola collected the Hermann Trophy award, given annually to women’s college soccer’s top player as determined by the Missouri Athletic Club. Sinclair is the only other current Flash player to have earned the same honors. Noyola was knotted for second in the nation in assists with 15, and she accounted for the only goal in the National Championship win over Duke with a back-post header.

A collegiate All-American and First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference, Huster proved consistent, durable and productive during the Seminoles’ deep tournament run. She’ll rejoin former Seminole teammate Becky Edwards in the professional ranks.

The Flash concluded their 2012 draft selections with midfielder/striker Tahnai Annis of Florida and defender Erica Henderson, who played her high school ball at Aquinas Institute in Rochester.

Finally, congratulations to Alex Morgan and Lori Lindsey of the Flash, who both were selected for the U.S. Olympic team qualifying roster announced yesterday. Always great to have local representatives on a national stage!

TAGGED: aaran lines, erica henderson, lindsay taylor, teresa noyola, western new york flash, women's professional soccer, wps draft

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