Breakers come up big at 2015 NWSL College Draft

(Jan. 16, 2015) – The Boston Breakers had another successful NWSL draft, selecting five players and acquiring another via trade Friday during the 2015 NWSL College Draft at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia.

“I’m very pleased with our draft. We added a variety of positions, winning players, and depth options,” Boston Breakers general manager Lee Billiard said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing these girls during preseason.”

The Breakers came away from the draft with four forwards and two defenders.

“We had a quite a bit of restructuring to do, so we tried to infuse the younger players with a decent amount of experience,” Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said. “We solidified our defense. We have balance. And, we have some very creative players.”

The Breakers owned the No. 9 pick in the first round, but swapped it, along with their No. 11 pick, sending both to the Chicago Red Stars for Boston College forward Stephanie McCaffrey. The Red Stars selected McCaffrey at No. 5.

“I’m very pleased about Stephanie,” Durkin said. “She was a pleasure to have in with us last summer. She did extremely well, so we knew she would be a good fit.”

Stephanie McCaffrey

McCaffrey, currently in California training with the U.S. Women’s National Team, finished her career at Boston College with 32 goals, fifth all-time at the school. The past two summers, McCaffrey, a Winchester, Mass., native played for the Boston Breakers College Academy Team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. She combined to score 20 goals in two seasons, 16 in the summer of 2013.

I'm incredibly honored to be joining the Boston Breakers,” McCaffrey said. “I've been a huge fan of the people within the organization since I started playing with the academy team in 2013. I couldn't be happier to take the next step in my career in my home state, and I look forward to helping bring an NWSL championship to Boston."

In the second round (No. 14 overall), the Breakers selected Florida State University forward Jamia Fields. The Alta Loma, Calif. native finished her college career on top as the Seminoles won the 2014 NCAA National Championship. Fields scored the game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory in the finals against Virginia. She notched 14 goals and 30 assists during her career at Florida State, leading the Seminoles to four straight College Cup appearances.

Jamia Fields

“I’m interested to see what Jamia Fields does as a professional player because her upside is really big," Durkin said. "It’ll be a big jump, but I think she’s ready for it.”

Fields garnered several honors during her college career, including being named to the 2014 College Cup All-Tournament team. She was selected as the Most Outstanding Player on Offense for the 2013 College Cup.

“I want to thank the Boston Breakers for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the family,” Fields said. “It has been a dream of mine to play professionally since I started to play soccer at six years old. I can't wait to get on the field.”

In the third round, the Breakers selected James Madison University defender Samantha Lofton. A two-time captain at James Madison, Lofton started 74 of the 80 games she appeared in, finishing with six goals and 12 assists. Lofton, whose family is from Ipswich, Mass., was a 2014 First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honoree.

“I think the sleeper (pick) is Sam Lofton,” Durkin said. “She is a potential impact player for us in the long term.”

Samantha Lofton

During her speech at the podium immediately after getting drafted, Lofton, a native of Lock Haven, Pa., said she was excited to return to Massachusetts. Later, she talked about the next phase of her soccer career and how she got to this point.

“I’m really excited,” said Lofton, who played with the Washington Spirit Reserves in the W-League last summer. “That was a great experience. I think that was the reason why I had the confidence to do this.”

With their second pick in the third round (No. 24 overall), the Breakers selected Texas A&M forward Bianca Brinson. The 22-year-old from Austin, Texas finished her college career with 16 goals and 21 assists. She was a 2014 All-SEC First Team honoree.

Bianca Brinson

“Bianca Brinson is a tremendous athlete. Her athletic prowess is off the charts,” Durkin said. “I think Brinson will be one of the premier athletes in the league. I’m really excited about her upside athletically.”

"I'm excited about joining the team and coming out to Boston," Brinson said. "I can't wait to play at the next level and help the team in any way possible."

In the fourth round (No. 29 overall), the Breakers selected Seattle University forward Stephanie Verdoia. She became the first player from SU to be drafted professionally. Verdoia scored 22 goals for the Redhawks during her senior season and 51 for her career. The 22 goals this past fall ranked her in the top five in the nation.

“Verdoia came highly recommended,” Durkin said. “We were really pleased she was available, and I think she was another sleeper in the draft.”

Stephanie Verdoia

A two-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Verdoia hails from Salt Lake City, Utah, and is very much looking forward to coming to Boston.

“Getting drafted was an amazing feeling, (and) I’m really excited to get in there, work hard, and hopefully make an impact,” she said.

With their final pick, No. 33 overall, the Breakers went local for the third time in the draft, selecting Northeastern University defender and former Boston Breakers College Academy Team defender Bianca Calderone. The 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Defender of the Year from Wellesley, Mass. started 48 of the 64 games she appeared in for the Huskies. She tallied five goals and four assists. Her play on the back line was instrumental in getting the Huskies to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances and a 15-5-3 record in 2014.

Bianca Calderone

“Bianca is a player I am very familiar with,” Breakers general manager Lee Billiard said. “I actually used to coach her as a teenager, and I've watched her come through our college academy program, where she captained the team. After a great career at Northeastern, she has continued to get better, and knowing her ability and character, she will push people for a place come preseason.”

"I am so thrilled to be joining the Breakers," Calderone said. "I remember watching them as a kid. I cannot wait to start."

Preseason kicks off on March 9, and Durkin is looking forward to the start of camp.

“With the acquisition we had through trades and the internationals, I think it’s going to be a really good, young, and exciting team,” he said.

The Breakers' home opener is scheduled for April 26 against the Houston Dash at Harvard University. Season tickets are on sale now by calling 617-945-1704 or visiting www.breakerstickets.com. Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, Jan. 19.

 

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