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PHILADELPHIA -- Several weeks prior to the National Women's Soccer League college draft, Portland Thorns FC coach Paul Riley talked about how much he would love to select Georgetown defender Emily Menges. But he feared she would be taken when the defending league champions had an opportunity to select her.

He got his wish about the former Albertson Fury standout and Garden City, N.Y. native, choosing her in the third round at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Friday.

A first-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America, Menges helped the Hoyas to a 16-3-2 this past season and into the second round of the NCAA Division I tournament.

Menges, one of 15 players selected as a semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, was a first team All-Big East selection and the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

A captain, she concluded her career as one of the most decorated players in program history, earning All-Big East honors three times in her four seasons on the Hilltop. She was a unanimous First Team All-Big East selection and started all 21 games on the back line, helping the team post 10 shutouts. A semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy as a junior in 2012, she was also a First Team All-Big East selection and the team set a school record with 13 shutouts.

As a freshman in 2011, Menges started all 24 games and helped lead the team to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I Tournament. She was an All-Big East rookie selection that season. In her four-year career, Menges started 83 of 84 games played, scored two goals and was part of defensive units that posted 40 shutouts.


Making It Crystal Clear!

By Michael Lewis
BigAppleSoccer.com Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Attending classes at the University of North Carolina.

Playing with the U.S. Women's National Team.

And now a budding professional soccer career.

Rockville Centre, N.Y. native Crystal Dunn certainly finds her plate to be full, if not overloaded these days, especially after she was selected by the Washington Spirit in the National Women's Soccer League draft at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Friday morning. Dunn was the No. 1 pick in the four-round draft, in which 36 players were taken.

Dunn, who starred for the Alberton Fury and South Side High School on Long Island, said that she will take it "just one day at a time. I try not to get too overwhelmed at this point."

"It's very stressful to kind of think about too many things," she said after she was selected. "I just like to live in the moment. If I am training with the national team, I'm focused with the national team. If I'm going to be training with D.C., I'm going to be focusing with that team. Just not to be overwhelmed is my key right now."

Given her outstanding background, Dunn is expected to be an impact player in the NWSL right off the bat. After all, she is a four-time All-America selection out of the University of North Carolina. She won the 2013 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy in 2013 and was one of three finalists this year.

Dunn's versatility makes her a double threat. She was an attacking wing midfielder for the Tar Heels in her later years after winning Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year in back-to-back seasons. She has been deployed as a defender during her national team matches.

Spirit coach Tom Parsons said he will determine what position Dunn will be able to make her biggest impact.

"It has to be where she can make the most influence on the game because she has the ability to change games," he said. "We'll have to figure that out in pre-season. We've got a lot of players who can play a lot of positions. Crystal, we know the opposition will be keeping an eye on her and wanting to shut her down, so wherever tactically gives us the advantage to free her up and give the opportunity to do what she's best at. Wherever that is, it's got to be close to the goal for me. If we're looking at midfield or out wide, it has to be because if she's near the goal, she will be able to do what she does best to win us games."

And that sounded just fine to Dunn.

"I'm definitely a flank player," she said. "I would definitely like to play somewhere outside on the flank. Whether that's outside back, outside mid, maybe throw me on top to see if I can run around a little bit, we'll see. Definitely on the flanks, though. Don't put me in the middle."

She laughed. But trying to mark Dunn certainly has not been a laughing matter at all. She was one of the most dynamic, if not the most dynamic player in college the past few years.

And that's why Parsons wasn't going to trade the very first pick in the draft for an established player or players.

"Picking up Crystal obviously was a priority," Parsons said. "There was no way we would consider changing that for any current NWSL player in the league, any USA allocated player. What she brings as a player, we already know. The stuff that i will get to know is what she brings in regards to her character, her personality, her desire, her passion and her ability that Anson [Dorrance, North Carolina coach] has told us about, her teammates have told us about makes this one of the biggest picks in a long time. So there was no way we were even going to think of anything. We're very excited. She's obviously going to impact us on the pitch."

While he was an obvious No. 1 overall pick, Dunn was just happy to be selected.

"I'm just excited on trying to make a mark on this new league," she said. "I think it's been great. I'm just hoping help the ... I'm super excited to be here. It's just an honor to be going as a first pick. It was just an honor to be here in general. There are so many great players in this league. Just the level of this league is going to be keep improving. I'm glad to be a part of it and hopefully I'll help my future team make a mark in this league."



LONE SELECTION
E. Islip's Roccaro named to U.S. WNT qualifying roster


Midfielder Cari Roccaro of East Islip, N.Y. was named to the United States' 20-player roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Uner-20 Championship Monday.

The tournament will be held in George Town, Cayman Islands from Jan. 9-19.

Roccaro, who played for the Albertson Fury, was one of three Notre Dame players chosen to the team by head coach Michelle French, joining former U-17 captain Morgan Andrews and defender Katie Naughton.

The roster consists of 18 collegiate players, one professional and one player still in high school. The lone professional player is forward Lindsey Horan of French club Paris Saint-Germain, while midfielder Andi Sullivan from Bethesda SC is the youngest player on the roster, having turned 18 recently. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1994, are eligible for the 2014 U-20 Women's World Cup.

"At every position, we feel these players are technically proficient and possess a great understanding of how we want to play in order to be successful as a team," French said in a statement. "We have players with very unique qualities ranging from creative and effective finishers, to players who are threatening with their dynamic movement in the midfield, to players who are defensively strong and physical in one-on-one situations. Our overall athleticism will be another strength of this team."

The CONCACAF championship will feature eight countries divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada next year

The USA opens Group A play on Thursday, Jan. 9, against Costa Rica, faces Jamaica on Saturay, Jan. 11, and finishes the group against Guatemala on Monday, Jan. 13. The winner of Group A will meet the Group B runner-up, and vice versa, in the semifinal matches on Friday., Jan. 17, and the championship and third-place matches will take place on Jan. 19. All three of the USA's group games kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and the tournament will be played entirely at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

"The process of narrowing the roster down to twenty players was extremely difficult," said French, who saw 45 players in game action this year with the U-20s and many more during college matches this fall. "With such a short amount of time following the college season and before qualifying, it was crucial to find the right mix of players that complement each other's personalities on and off the field."




Congratulations Allie Long!
 

April 24, 2013-To play pro soccer, Allie Long has travelled a long and winding road from three cities on the East Coast to Paris and now to Portland.

The 25-year-old midfielder from East Northport played for the Long Island Fury of the Women’s Premier Soccer League summers when she was a college student, then played for the Washington Freedom in 2009 and 2010 plus Sky Blue FC in 2011 before Women’s Professional Soccer folded. With no pro league in the United States to play in, Allie went to France and competed for Paris Saint-Germain during the 2011-12 season, then for the New York Fury last summer.

The prospects for the new National Women’s Soccer League are brighter and Allie’s team, the Portland Thorns, have over 7,000 season ticket holders. Wearing the #10 shirt, Allie played in the NWSL’s inaugural game on April 13 at FC Kansas City which wound up as a 1-1 tie.

“I feel very blessed that I am able to play in the National Women’s Soccer League,” she stated. “I love the game and I hope to inspire and encourage young players to follow their dreams.”

She started playing soccer for the Northport/Cow Harbor Mustangs of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). She completed her youth career playing for the Oceanside Express and the Albertson Express of the LIJSL, winning four consecutive State Open Cup titles with the Express.

Paul Riley coached her on the Long Island Fury plus New York Fury and said, “Allie is one of the top midfield talents in the country. She won four State Open Cups at Albertson and her game has developed considerably since then.”

Allie used being a member of the Olympic Development Program of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) for five years and Region 1 ODP for four years as a springboard to representing the United States internationally with the U.S. Women’s National Team and Under-23 Team.

“Great vision, top level range of passing and a work ethic second to none,” Coach Riley added. “She has a million dollar ball and can unlock any defense. We are extremely proud of her career, I believe she deserves to play again with the full Women’s National Team and I hope to see her one day at the Women’s World Cup.”

At Northport High School, she played varsity soccer for four years and was honored as All-State three years and Newsday’s Player of the Year for two years. She played two years for Penn State, where her great uncle John Pinezich had once starred for the Nittany Lions, then transferred to the University of North Carolina and won the NCAA national championship her senior year.

“My favorite moment so far is probably winning a national championship with UNC but this is a new year and it will be the best yet,” she concluded.

With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 12 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. Eastern New York exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. Eastern New York is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.



 

Congratulations Domenica Hodak!
 
April 16, 2013-Congratulations to Domenica Hodak, who tried out for the Washington Spirit as a Discovery Pick and made the team. She is playing for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) squad during the inaugural season of the league.

“I am so excited to play in the NWSL,” she said. “I’m so glad a professional league for women’s soccer is back and I’m excited for the experience it will give me. The players on my team and the other teams are going to help improve my game and grow as a player.”

The 21-year-old from West Sayville played for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) for five years and the Region 1 ODP Team for four years. 86% of the American players in NWSL were members of ODP as teenagers.

Under the tutelage of head coach Paul Riley, Domenica played for the Albertson Fury 90 of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), helping lead the Fury to four State Open Cup titles.

Using her nickname, Coach Riley commented, “Minn’s competitive nature makes her a very good pro prospect. She is bright, intelligent and reads the game really well. Love her subtle touch and she always makes good decisions on the ball. Minn has a pro mentality and is tough as nails. We are extremely proud of her and her positional versatility will make her a valuable weapon for Washington.”

She also played for Riley when she donned the red and navy blue of the Long Island Fury of the Women’s Premier Soccer League in 2007 and 2008 against opponents a decade older than her.

Before playing for the Fury, Domenica played for the LIJSL’s Bayport Soccer Club and then for the LIJSL’s Massapequa Crunch for one year.

She was a three-year All-State and two-year Newsday All-Long Island selection at Sayville High School in addition to being team captain for two years. She was also twice named the Suffolk County Small School Player of the Year.

Domenica’s varsity coaches at Sayville High School were Beth Bolger in the latter part of her junior year and Joe Nasta during her senior season. As a freshman, sophomore and at the start of her junior year, John Schroeder, who was also her first coach in ODP, coached the Golden Flashes until his sudden death in the middle of that season.

“It’s crazy to think that the last time I spoke to him, it was about which college I should go to and I was listening to his advice,” she reminisced.

That advice led her to the University of Maryland. Her college life as a Terrapins defender was eventful as, after seeing action as a freshman and sophomore, she played nearly every minute of every game as a junior and senior, being named to the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference All-Tournament Team as Maryland made the final.

In a nice twist of fate, Domenica made her professional debut for Washington in their inaugural game against the Boston Breakers on April 14, which would have been Schroeder’s 70th birthday. The game resulted in a 1-1 tie.

With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 12 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. Eastern New York exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. Eastern New York is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.

(Photo attached of Domenica Hodak, courtesy of the University of Maryland.)