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October 22, 2010 > Gold Pride makes roster moves

Gold Pride makes roster moves

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

Less than a month after capturing the Women's Professional Soccer Championship, FC Gold Pride made a number of roster moves readying themselves for what is sure to be an interest off season in preparation for the 2011 season.

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, the Pride exercised team options on Kiki Bosio, Brittany Cameron, Carrie Dew, Becky Edwards, Kristen Graczyk, Tiffeny Milbrett, Kandace Wilson and Kim Yokers. In addition, two-time WPS MVP and four-time FIFA Women's Player of the Year Marta has inked a contract for the 2011 season, along with 2010 WPS Rookie of the Year Ali Riley. Rosie Tantillo, a developmental player for the Pride in 2010, was signed and placed on the full roster.

With the addition of a franchise in Western New York, WPS will hold an expansion draft set for Thursday, Nov. 4. As part of that draft, each of the seven WPS clubs, including Gold Pride, had to release a list of players they choose to protect and leave unprotected.

Unprotected players must be under contract with the club, and can be chosen by the club from Western New York, which hasn't unveiled its team name and logo yet. Gold Pride has chosen to leave backup goalkeeper Cameron and midfielders Yokers and Tantillo open for selection. Bosio, Dew, Edwards, Graczyk, Milbrett, Wilson, Marta and Riley were all protected.

Should any one of the unprotected players be chosen - and all signs point to Western New York selecting Cameron - the Pride can then put one of the remaining two on its protected list. Gold Pride can not lose more than two players in the expansion draft.

With 2011 also being a FIFA World Cup year for the women, Gold Pride General Manager Ilisa Kessler and coach Albertin Montoya will be faced with making difficult decisions on who to add to its roster, knowing a number of players could be gone with national teams for several months.

"We are still waiting to see the impact of international competition on our roster," said Kessler. "As nations qualify for the World Cup, we will get a better understanding of who in the WPS talent pool we want to bring to the Pride. There is no shortage of talent out there."

With that in mind, the Pride chose to decline club options on international players Nicole Barnhart (USA), Candace Chapman (Canada), Kelley O'Hara (USA) and Christine Sinclair (Canada) - all regular starters in 2010; all but Chapman were all stars. All four players are now free agents, joining Shannon Boxx, captain Rachel Buehler, Niki Cross and Erin Guthrie whose contracts expired after the 2010 season. Camille Abily's contract was also terminated days after the Pride won the WPS Championship.

Currently, FC Gold Pride has an 11-player roster. They will be able to fill up the roster (to the regular 18-24) via trade, the 2011 WPS Draft, signing internationals and free agents.

"This is an exciting and critical time for our team," said Kessler. "We are focused on putting together a strong team for 2011 as we prepare to defend our title. The Pride's roster will evolve during the off season as we look to infuse the team with new talent and bring back a number of familiar faces."

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