The Philadelphia Independence coaching staff went into the 2012 WPS Draft with an offensive mentality, picking up three attackers. They rounded out their league high six draft picks by picking up two defenders and a goalkeeper. In a draft that focused heavily on midfield pickups, Paul Riley and his staff were able to capitalize on picks made by other teams. "We got more than we bargained for, and we filled our holes," Riley told the Independence's official website.
With their first round pick (5th overall), Philadelphia drafted forward Sarah Hagen from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Hagen had 93 career goals playing for Wisconsin, ranking her first in career goals for the University. In Hagen's final year at UWM, she scored 26 goals, helping lead her team to an undefeated season during conference play. Coach Paul Riley thinks that Hagen, a two-time Horizon Player of the Year, "has the potential to be a world class player." He also went as far as to say we might see her on the next World Cup team.
Philadelphia shifted over to defense for their second pick (12th overall), drafting two-time Big West Defender of the year, Coco Goodson from UC Irvine. Despite being a defender, Goodson netted 12 goals with five assists during her two years at Irvine. The Independence stuck with defense with their next pickup (13th overall), Toni Pressley from Florida State University. Both Goodson and Pressley were excited to be joining the Independence. "I'm just very excited to join the Philadelphia family," Goodson told the Independence official website.
After picking up two defenders in a row, the Independence drafted goalkeeper Bianca Henninger from Santa Clara University with the 14th overall pick. Henninger had an outstanding senior year, posting five shutouts in nineteen games while only allowing fourteen goals, giving her a solid 0.72 GPG average. Coming into WPS, Henninger is being heralded as the number one goalkeeper at the college level in the country, giving her a lot to live up to once she hits the field for the Independence, which could come sooner rather than later according to Paul Riley.
Rounding out what can only be looked at as an extremely successful 2012 draft, Philadelphia picked up two more attackers with the 17th and 21st picks; Danielle Foxhoven from the University of Portland and Jasmyne Spencer from the University of Maryland. With such a plethora of great talent joining the team this year, you can't help but get excited for the upcoming season. Since joining the league in 2010, the Independence have made the WPS final in both their inaugural and sophomore seasons. Here's to getting there for the third consecutive time.