Boston Breakers unveil 2013 roster for opening day

Team poised to make run at NWSL Championship

After several months of preparation by the coaching staff and six weeks of intense training on the field by the players, the Boston Breakers are set to open the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season. Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole has announced her 18-player roster set for Sunday’s opener against the Washington Spirit.

Cole returns for her second season as the Breakers head coach. In 2012, Cole led the Breakers to the WPSL Elite regular season title, compiling the best win-loss record in franchise history: 11-3. Cole began her coaching career with the Breakers in 2009 in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) as an assistant coach under Breakers Head Coach Tony DiCicco. Joining Cole this season on the staff is Assistant Coach Maren Rojas, the former University of Virginia assistant coach, Bowdoin College head coach, and most recently the assistant coach at Boston College.

This year’s Breakers team has a mix of Breakers veterans and some new and exciting players. The roster includes three-time Olympic gold medalist and midfielder Heather O’Reilly, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and forward Sydney Leroux, Canadian bronze medalist defender Rhian Wilkinson, defender and Olympic gold medalist Cat Whitehill, and 2012’s dangerous scoring duo of Australian striker Kyah Simon and third-year Breaker Katie Schoepfer, who combined for 19 goals and eight assists a year ago.
In addition to Schoepfer, Simon, Whitehill, and O’Reilly, the Breakers return Bianca D’Agostino, who moves from the midfield to outside back, and defender Julie King, who had a strong rookie campaign in 2012. Schoepfer is the senior most Breaker, having played for the team since 2011.
The Breakers added several newcomers to the roster: forward Lianne Sanderson, who won the quadruple with Arsenal in 2007 and has 29 caps with England’s Women’s National Team, veteran center back Kia McNeill, who was one of the top defenders in WPS, Norwegian international midfielder Lisa-Marie Woods, the 2010 Toppserien (Norway) Player of the Year, midfielder Joanna Lohman, who had tremendous success with the Philadelphia Independence in WPS and was capped seven times for the U.S., former University of North Carolina standout forward/midfielder Libby Guess, as well as a group of rookies, including draft picks and midfielders Mariah Noguiera from Stanford and Jo Dragotta from the University of Florida. Dragotta’s contract is pending final league approval.
Additionally, the Breakers were allocated Mexico’s starting goalkeeper, 18-year-old Cecilia Santiago, and rising Canadian striker Adriana Leon. A familiar face will also return to the Breakers as keeper Ashley Phillips will don Breakers blue in 2013. Phillips played for the Breakers in 2009 and 2010 in WPS.

"I think our roster has come together nicely," Cole said. "We have been able to add experience in goal by picking up Ashley Phillips. Between her and a young Santiago, I believe we have addressed the biggest hole we had going into preseason. I am very excited about the options we have in attack. We will be very exciting up top and hope that this will lead to goals. Our defense is anchored by two of the best center backs in the league in Kia McNeil and Cat Whitehill. So, overall, I am pleased with where we are going into the start of the season. Injuries and retirement have given us some question marks wide in the back but (Rhian) Wilkinson gives us international experience on the right." 

After weeks of preparing the team, Cole is looking forward to the start of the season.

"I am just excited to see this team continue to improve and develop. Every time we have gotten a chance to play we have become more familiar with each other and the system," Cole said. "We want to go after the win of course, but Sunday will be the first time we have had all our players together and on the field at the same time, so I want us to take on the challenges the game brings and to go out and give our fans a fun opening day win."

In addition to the 18-player roster, three players are expected to arrive in training over the next few weeks: draft pick Maddy Evans (Penn State) and Mexico Women’s National Team forward Anisa Guajardo (Pepperdine University). Both are finishing up their semesters at their respective schools and will join the team once their studies are complete. Midfielder Jessica Luscinski, who played for the Breakers in 2012, is rehabbing an ankle injury and will soon report to camp for a trial. The Breakers No. 1 draft pick in this year’s NWSL College Draft - Casey Short (Florida State) - is out for the season with a torn ACL, but Boston retains Short’s rights. She is expected to join the club in Boston this season but will not play due to injury.


The Breakers open the 2013 NWSL season Sunday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m., at home - Dilboy Stadium in Somerville - against the Washington Spirit. Tickets are available by visiting or by calling 617-945-1704.

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