January 13, 2012 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Atlanta Beat
KENNESAW, GA (January 13, 2012) - The Atlanta Beat of Women's Professional Soccer selected UCLA and U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) forward Sydney Leroux as the No. 1 overall pick in Friday's 2012 WPS Draft, a part of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Kansas City, Kan.
"We believe Sydney will fit right in to the world class group of players we have assembled," said Atlanta Beat owner and general manager, T. Fitz Johnson. "We look forward to welcoming her into the Beat family."
Leroux is a native of British Columbia who powered the UCLA attack from 2008-2011. She held three consecutive seasons as the Bruins' leading scorer and finished with eight game-winners as a senior. The fast-paced forward was a MAC Herman trophy semifinalist as a sophomore and made the PAC-10 All-Freshman Team in 2008.
"For this to happen is definitely a dream come true," said the No. 1 pick. "Carli Lloyd talked to me a lot about Coach Galanis and how he really helped with individual player development. He said, "I don't just want you to be the first overall pick, I want you to improve yourself and be even better than that.'"
Leroux completed her collegiate campaign in the Bruins record books with the fourth most game-winning goals (23) and the fourth most all-time points (126).
With a Canadian mother and an American father, Leroux has experienced international play for both the U.S. and Canadian sides. She moved to the States at 15 years old with hopes of earning a college scholarship and eventually playing for the full USWNT. Both dreams have come true.
"It's been a crazy journey from living in Canada with hopes to play in college, professionally, and on the National Team," she said.
The young star played for the U-19 Canadian team at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup when she was the tender age of 14 before captaining Canada's U-15 squad.
"I have a good connection with a lot of the players in the full Women's National Team," said Beat head coach James Galanis, "and Sydney has been in and out of National Team camps for the last two or three years. I watched her play at the U-20's, I've seen her play with UCLA and she is the best player in the draft without a doubt."
"Not only based of her credentials but also just as a soccer player. She is really, really fast; she is skilled; she makes very mature runs for her age, and she puts the ball in the back of the net. She was clearly always going to be our No. 1 pick. However, we could not say that publically."
As captain of the U.S. U-20 squad, Leroux was the leading goal scorer and the team's most capped player. She led the team to a 2010 CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship and earned the Golden Ball award as the tournament's top player. Leroux was instrumental in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup win and led that team with six goals. She earned her first cap with the full USWNT against Sweden on Jan. 21, 2011.
Leroux played high school soccer at Johnson Heights Secondary School in Surrey, B.C., where there's no surprise that she led scoring as both a sophomore and as a freshman. She became the youngest player, at age 15, to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps, and she helped Team B.C. win a championship in the 2005 Canada games.
"I am very excited," said Leroux. "I have heard that it's pretty humid in summer and hot. I like the warm weather, and I know that it's a great team."
Sydney Leroux and all Atlanta Beat players report for preseason on March 1, 2012.
2012 ATLANTA BEAT ROSTER