In their first step to solidify their roster for the upcoming WPSL Elite season, the New England Mutiny is very pleased to announce the organization has signed five players. Defender/midfielder Kelsey Hood, defender Ciara McCormack, forward Carrie Patterson, defender Ella Stephan and star midfielder Kate McCarthy will don the Mutiny colors this summer.
The long-time women's soccer organization faces their stiffest challenge to date: competing against former Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) teams like the Boston Breakers, Western New York Flash and Chicago Red Stars in the newly-formed elite semi-professional league. These five signings should form a solid foundation to build upon for the Mutiny, as they continue to prepare for the upgrade in the level of competition that WPSL Elite will showcase.
Hood comes to New England after spending last season with the Vancouver Whitecaps, where she played 1250 out of a possible 1260 minutes. Since graduating from the University of Minnesota - where she started 81 of her 82 career appearances & led the Golden Gophers to the 2008 regular season Big Ten Championship and the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year - Hood has traveled throughout the United States and Europe playing professionally.
In 2010, Hood went to Norway to play for FK Donn who play in the Norwegian Toppserien. Kelsey joined Vancouver in Spring 2011 and was immediately named as the team's captain. Her leadership and experience assisted the Whitecaps in reaching the W-League National Championship and was voted as a co-recipient of the team's Most Valuable Player Award as an All-Western Conference Team selection.
"Not only was Kelsey captain of her college team and W-League amateur team, but she was also captain of a foreign professional team," said New England Mutiny Owner Joe Ferrara. "That shows incredible leadership. Having played in all but 10 minutes last season, Kelsey is a definite building block."
McCormack is another signing with a long pedigree of playing and performing at the highest levels of soccer in the United States and the world. The former Yale University standout has been a member of the Ireland Women's National Team since 2008.
McCormack has also had tremendous success overseas, being the first and only Canadian player to medal in the UEFA Women's Cup Final after claiming silver with Fortuna Hjorring of Denmark's top-flight Elitedivisionen in 2003. Since then, she has played for Asker IK (2008, silver medal), Kolbotn IK (2009, bronze medal) and FK Donn (2010) of the Norwegian Toppserien as well as serving as team captain for the Ottawa Fury in 2007-2008.
Former WPS Philadelphia forward Carrie Patterson will bring her offensive skills to the 2012 Mutiny.
Kelsey Hood's experience & leadership will be one of the building blocks for the 2012 Mutiny.
"Ciara brings a wealth of international experience to the Mutiny, but what impresses me the most is her passion for the sport of women's soccer," said Ferrara. "That kind of enthusiasm and professionalism is infectious and will make this team that much better."
Patterson suited up for the Philadelphia Independence of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), as she was selected in the 5th Round (40th overall selection) of the 2010 WPS Draft. Prior to her time in WPS, Carrie played for the Atlanta Silverbacks in 2009, making six appearances with two goals and one assist.
Patterson had a distinguished playing career at the University of Georgia, where she is the all-time leader in goals (44), assists (23) and points (111) for the Bulldogs. In 2009, she was a NSCAA First-Team All-South selection as well as a 2007 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America Second Team and Soccer Buzz All-America Second Team honoree.
"I met with Paul Riley (Head Coach, WPS Philadelphia Independence) about Carrie and he told me it was a no-brainer," said Ferrara. "After I talked to Carrie on the phone for ten minutes, I knew why. We have struggled to find a consistent goal scorer the last few seasons, so to get one from WPS fills a big void."
Stephan comes to the Mutiny after a stellar four-year career at national powerhouse Florida State University, starting in almost 90% of the team's matches (68 GS-77 GP) for the 2011 College Cup participants. Rock solid on & off the pitch, she has been named as an ACC & NSCAA Player of the Week selection as well as a three-time ACC Academic Honour Roll honoree (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11).
Stephan has been a regular name in U.S. Soccer circles as a member of the U.S. U-17, U-20 sides and now the U-23 National Team. Ella is another addition to the Mutiny team who has extensive playing experience, suiting up for the likes of the Pail Blues and Boston Renegades during her playing career.
"Ella played college soccer at one of the nation's best programs and is on the United States Under-23 National Team, but one thing stood out to me," said Ferrara. "As a defender, Ella pointed in three games against North Carolina - all resulting in game winners. Big time players come up big in big games."
McCarthy has starred for the CFC Passion and was named a 2011 All-WPSL Second Team honouree as well as a East Conference Player Of The Year Finalist. She returns to western Massachusetts this summer after being a midfield stalwart for nationally-ranked Boston College last fall, starting all 21 games for the 12-6-3 Eagles who would lose to eventual NCAA champions Stanford in the Sweet 16.
In 2010, she would start in all five of BC's NCAA Tournament games and played the full 90 minutes in the NCAA College Cup Semi-final loss to Stanford. The Longmeadow native was a three-time NSCAA All-New England & a 2009 All-American selection at the Loomis Chaffee School, before being named Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year in her senior season.
"I remember seeing Kate for the very first time as a freshman in an NCAA Tournament match," said Ferrara. "I thought she was the best player on the pitch that day. Kate is a natural destroyer with great vision who can also link up an offense. She was one of only four field players to start every game for BC, one of the nation's top programs. Kate logged over 100 minutes in 4 different games last season.
"I think today's signings are a great base for us. We signed a WPS player, foreign professional, international team member, a player from one of the U.S. National Teams and one of the top college players in the country. It's a great start."