L.A.’s NWSL Expansion Side Will Feature Christen Press and A Team Been Built Through Draft Acquisitions
By Kathryne Torres – LA Soccer Press
LOS ANGELES – It’s been 2 years since the National Women’s Soccer League announced its expansion plan to Los Angeles, and Angel City FC has finally announced its pre-season roster for the 2022 NWSL season.
The buzz around which players would potentially be on the team first came when ACFC suddenly announced Freya Coombe as the team’s head coach and Robert Udberg as assistant coach in August 2021. That same day, Christen Press, USWNT star-forward, was the first player named on the roster.
Press was the only athlete announced at the time, so who else would be sporting the black and pink-tint knit for the upcoming season?
After a few months of silence, ACFC made strides in filling its roster at the 2022 NWSL expansion draft in December 2021. In that draft the team acquired Dani Weatherholt (first-round pick), Claire Emslie (second-round pick and loan from the Women’s Super League), Jasmyne Spencer (third-round pick), and Paige Nielsen (fourth-round pick).
The team also added to its pre-season roster during the 2022 NWSL college draft and obtained Hope Breslin (Illinois), Lily Nabet (Duke) and Miriaél “Miri” Taylor (Hofstra).
Collegiate athletes Sydney Cassalia (Army), Katie McClure (Kansas), and Maia Perez (Hartford) also are named on the roster, but they are considered trialists and do not have contracts with the team.
ACFC was able to gain four international players and a few trades during the month of January to fill the remaining positions needed to create the well-rounded roster.
The opening day roster features:
Goalkeepers: Sydney Cassalia, Didi Haračić, Brittany Isenhour, Maia Perez
Defenders: Vanessa Gilles (INTL), Sarah Gorden, Paige, Nielsen, Ali Riley, Allyson Swaby, M.A. Vignola
Midfielders: Hope Breslin, Katie Cousins, Stefany Ferrer Van Ginkel (INTL), Savannah McCaskill, Lily Nabet, Cari Roccaro, Miriaél “Miri” Taylor (INTL), Dani Weatherholt
Forwards: Simone Charley, Claire Emslie, Jun Endo (INTL), Tyler Lussi, Katie McClure Christen Press, Jasmyne Spencer
*-International Player (INTL)
ACFC kicked off its first pre-season practice on Feb. 1 at Pepperdine University in Malibu (Calif.), where the club will tentatively hold practice until it moves into its official training facility.
ACFC’s pre-season roster will take to the field for the first in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup on March 19 against the fellow NWSL expansion side San Diego Waves FC.
Torres is student at CSU Fullerton. She covers Angel City FC for L.A. Soccer Press. Follow her at @PadillaK_ on Twitter.