Three WCC student-athletes selected in NWSL draft
Jan. 18, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- Three West Coast Conference women's soccer standouts were selected in the NWSL draft on Friday. WCC Player of the Year Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall of BYU, WCC Defender of the Year Kendall Johnson of Portland, and All-WCC goalkeeper Roxanne Barker of Pepperdine all had their name called at Friday's draft.
Cutshall was drafted fourth overall to play for Sky Blue FC in the National Women's Soccer League. "This is such a huge honor for me and I'm so excited to continue playing soccer at the next level," she said. "I'm so grateful for amazing coaches, teammates and family that have supported me and made me better."
"What an honor for Lindsi," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "She is such a hard worker and skilled player. I know she'll be successful at the next level. It has been such a privilege to coach her for four years and see her progress as an athlete."
After leading BYU to its first NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance in nine years, Cutshall was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and an NSCAA First Team All-American. She anchored a BYU defense that allowed just 13 goals all season and only two games with its opponent scoring more than one goal. Cutshall tallied three goals, two assists and 30 shots from the back line and was also named a semifinalist for the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy, the highest honor given to a Division I soccer athlete.
Joining Cutshall in New Jersey is Portland's Johnson, who started 19 games at left back for the Pilots last fall, registering three goals, five assists and a game-winner. She helped the Pilots post eight shutouts and advance to the NCAA post-season for the 20th time in the past 21 years.
Johnson, who graduated from UP in December, became the fifth player in program history to be named the West Coast Conference's Defensive Player of the Year. She also landed on the All-WCC First Team last fall, was named to Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Season Third Team and was an NSCAA All-West Region Team selection.
"This is very exciting and I'm very grateful for the opportunity," said Johnson, a Portland native and a graduate of Lincoln High School. "The University of Portland is a special place and I'm going to miss the school and the city for sure because I'm from here and the fans are so amazing. It'll be a new and a different experience for me, but I'm definitely looking forward to it. I will do my best to represent UP and the Pilots on the East Coast."
She finishes her career with eight goals, 11 assists and four game-winners in 56 games, and she was named the WCC's Co-Freshman of the Year in 2009, while also garnering Freshman All-American honors.
"I'm going to miss all my teammates," added Johnson. "I feel like I'm definitely well-prepared for this because UP is a very professionally run program. I'm very thankful of the professionalism the staff instilled in me, and I would definitely not be where I am without their help and support."
"We're very excited for Kendall," said Portland head coach Garrett Smith. "It's been a goal of hers to play professionally and hopefully one day to be in a position to represent her country. We're excited to see our latest alum go the pros and I'm sure she will carry on the great tradition of our program's players succeeding on a big stage."
Sky Blue FC is one of the eight original members of the newly formed NWSL. The club was established in 2006, and team's headquarters are located in Morristown, N.J.
"Sky Blue FC is a great club with tremendous talent," Cutshall said. "Coach Gabarra is a legend in professional women's soccer and I'm excited for the opportunity to learn from him."
Barker is the second Wave set to play in the NWSL, joining teammate and Mexican National Team member Anisa Guajardo, who was allocated to the Boston Breakers last week in the dispersal of 55 National Team players to the eight league members.
"We're incredibly proud and pleased that Roxy got drafted," Pepperdine head coach Tim Ward said. "We feel that not only is it an honor for her individually, but that it is a wonderful statement about Pepperdine soccer. We want to not only prepare these young ladies for lives of service and leadership after their collegiate career, but we also want to continue the soccer development of all the players we are blessed and entrusted. Roxy has always possessed a "next level" talent. She represents both the quality and uniqueness of Pepperdine soccer so well. We are excited that the rest of the country will now get to witness what we have been privy to over the last four years: a world class goalkeeper and human being!"
A four-year starter, Barker wrapped up a record-setting career in goal for the Waves in 2012 and departs Malibu ranked first in wins (47) and starts (79) and second in GAA (0.87), shutouts (31.0), saves (311) and save percentage (.816). A member of the 2012 South African Olympic Team, Barker rated in the top-three among WCC leaders in nearly every meaningful category, including shutouts (7.0/T-2nd), GAA (1.20/3rd) and saves (90/2nd).
Barker is the first Wave to be drafted by a professional domestic soccer league since Pepperdine All-American Susan Palmer was drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 WUSA draft by the San Diego Spirit.
The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States. It is set to begin play in spring 2013 with eight teams; four of them are former members of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), which ended in 2012. The NWSL has plans to expand to at least 10 teams in the future. Other members of the NWSL include: Boston Breakers, Washington Spirit, Portland Thorns, Seattle Reign FC, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City and Western New York Flash.
--compiled from reports on byucougars.com, portlandpilots.com, and pepperdinewaves.com