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Independence Adds Depth, Strengthens Frontline At 2012 WPS Draft

January 13, 2012 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Philadelphia Independence News Release


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (January 13, 2012) - After targeting a forward heading into the 2012 WPS Draft, the Philadelphia Independence and Head Coach Paul Riley picked up three of them to add depth and strengthen the team's frontline. With their first pick (No. 5 overall), the Independence selected forward Sarah Hagen from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

The two-time Horizon League Player of the Year (2010, 2011), Hagan's 93 career goals ranks her first in UW-Milwaukee history. She scored 26 goals during her senior season, leading the Panthers to a perfect 8-0-0 in conference play and a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship tournament. Hagen capped an unmatched career in Milwaukee with 93 goals and 26 points both UWM and Horizon League records. Hagen is a three-time Horizon League Player of the Year and has twice been named as a MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalist (2010, 2011).

"I think Hagan has the potential to be a world class player," said Independence Head Coach, Paul Riley. "She is a handful physically and I think you'll see her on the team for the next World Cup; she has that much talent. She is a terrific pick up for us, with her speed, size and goal scoring ability; she will be tough for a lot of defenders to handle."

With Philadelphia's second pick (No. 12 overall), the Independence selected UC Irvine standout defender, Coco Goodson. The two-time (2010, 2011) Big West Defender of the Year helped the Anteaters to a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship Tournament in 2011. Goodson, who transferred to UC Irvine from the University of Texas prior to the 2010 season, contributed twelve goals and five assists in her two years at UCI while anchoring the back line as the 'Eaters' centerback. The Ramona, CA native was one of two Anteaters to be honored as an All-American in 2010, a first in program history.

"I'm just very excited to join the Philadelphia family," said Goodson. "I understand that it's a great atmosphere. Paul Riley is one of the best, and to be able to play under the two-time WPS Coach of the Year will be great." And Coach Riley spent no time in adapting Goodson into the Philadelphia culture. As they stood for photographs with the media, Riley told Goodson, 'I hope you're in shape.'

After picking Goodson at No. 12, Philadelphia had the next two consecutive picks with 13 and 14. With the No. 13 pick, the Independence selected defender, Toni Pressley to add some depth to the already strong backline. "It's a great team and a great group of girls," said Pressley on the opportunity to come play in Philadelphia. "I'm really excited and now I am just looking forward to putting in the hard work to make a spot on the roster."

With the No. 14 selection, Riley took goalkeeper Bianca Henninger from Santa Clara University. Considered by many as the nation's top collegiate goalkeeper in women's soccer, Henninger dominates the box and during her senior campaign, she allowed just 14 goals in 19 games, posting a 0.72 goals per game average - second in the West Coast Conference- while notching five shutouts.

"I'm super excited," said Henninger. "Philly is a great opportunity with a great atmosphere and I can't wait to start contributing to the team."

"The biggest surprise of the draft was when everyone started taking midfielders," said Riley. "That gave us the opportunity to get Coco [Goodson]. I was also surprised to get Henninger. She's played big games and on national teams so I felt the experience she has will allow her to play right away, which she will need to do."

The Independence had the most picks in this year's draft and with pick No. 17, the team took forward, Danielle Foxhoven out of the University of Portland and then took another forward in Jasmyne Spencer from University of Maryland at No. 21.

"We got more than we bargained for, and we filled our holes," said Riley of the Draft. "The biggest surprise of the draft was when everyone started taking midfielders. That gave us the opportunity to get Coco [Goodson] and Henninger. I just want to get started and I think everyone that we drafted is excited to come play in Philly. We have a lot of players that these new draftees can learn from and really make their game great."

Philadelphia Independence Draft Picks

5. Sarah Hagen | Forward, UW-Milwaukee

12. Coco Goodson | Defender, UC Irvine

13. Toni Pressley | Defender, Florida State University

14. Bianca Henninger | GK, Santa Clara

17. Danielle Foxhoven | Forward, University of Portland

21. Jasmyne Spencer | Forward, University of Maryland

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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