Los Angeles Soccer: Kylie Wright
Seven L.A.-area players have been called up for camps involving the U.S. under-23 and under-20 women's national teams and under-18 men's team.
The U-23 women are headed to La Manga, Spain, for a Feb. 21-March 2 tournament with Sweden's, Norway's and England's U-23 teams. Former UCLA midfielder Kylie Wright, a first-round pick by the Atlanta Beat in Women's Professional Soccer's draft last month, is among 10 WPS players on the U.S. roster.
The U-20 women opened a weeklong camp Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and play the University of San Diego's women on Saturday.
The U-18 men began a nine-day camp Saturday in Phoenix. They have games planned against four MLS clubs: Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids on Tuesday, and Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers on Saturday.
The local players:
M Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita), Tesoro HS/UCLA, Atlanta Beat
F Michelle Cruz (Thousand Oaks), Thousand Oaks HS/University of Portland, Real So Cal
F Ariana Martinez (Moorpark), Moorpark HS/UCLA, Real So Cal
F Tawni Martino (Irvine), Beckman HS/Loyola Marymount, So Cal Blues
D Pablo Ocegueda (Riverside), Saddleback HS, UANL Tigres (Mexico)
M Luis Gil (Garden Grove), Santiago HS, Real Salt Lake
F Steve Palacios (San Clemente), San Clemente HS, United Football Club
Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan, to absolutely nobody's surprise, was the No. 1 selection in Friday's Women's Professional Soccer draft.
Morgan (Diamond Bar HS), a U.S. national team forward who was en route to China -- for the annual Four Nations event -- when her name was announced in Baltimore, was taken by the expansion Western New York Flash.
Four other local players also were drafted:
- Stanford forward Christen Press (Palos Verdes Estates/Chadwick School) by Washington with the fourth selection
- UCLA midfielder Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) by Atlanta with the eighth pick
- UCLA left back Lauren Barnes (Upland/Upland HS) by Philadelphia with the 15th selection
- UC Irvine forward Tanya Taylor (Buena Park/Sunny Hills HS) with the 24th, and final, pick.
Four local players worth watching in Friday's Women's Professional Soccer draft in Baltimore.ALEX MORGAN (California)
The striker from Diamond Bar (Diamond Bar HS) already is a U.S. national-teamer -- the only collegian on the roster last year -- and her explosiveness and blistering shot would fit with every team in the league. Western New York likely makes her the No. 1 pick.
CHRISTEN PRESS (Stanford)
Skillful and calculated attacker from Palos Verdes Estates (Chadwick School) is, in a lot of ways, the anti-Morgan. She's not as big or bruising or explosive, but he's got sublime skill and set every career and single-season offensive record of note at Stanford, leading the nation in scoring. Philadelphia is expected to bite at No. 2.
KYLIE WRIGHT (UCLA)
The Bruins standout from Rancho Santa Margarita (Tesoro HS) might be the best holding midfielder available. She's a U.S. U-23 veteran who has played on youth national teams since her mid-teens. A potential first-rounder.
TANYA TAYLOR (UC Irvine)
Speedy forward from Buena Park (Sunny Hills HS) was the primary producer on the Anteaters' NCAA quarterfinalists, scoring 11 goals with 12 assists. Might be a steal later in the draft.
Palos Verdes Estates' Christen Press, fresh off Stanford's disappointing defeat to Notre Dame in Sunday's NCAA Division I women's final, heads into a weeklong camp at Home Depot Center with the U.S. under-23 women's team.
Press (Chadwick School) is among nine pros and the nation's top college players -- three locals -- who will join the team, guided by University of Portland director of soccer (and men's coach) Bill Irwin, on Sunday.
The U-23 team is primarily a developmental squad, a steppingstone from college soccer to the full U.S. national team; the primary competition at the age level is the Nordic Cup, an exhibition event played most summers in Scandinavia.
Elise Britt and Sydney Leroux scored on each side of halftime, and UCLA held off Central Florida, 2-1, Saturday night at Drake Stadium to reach the final 16 in the NCAA Division I women's tournament.
The Bruins (13-7-2), who have struggled this season and weren't one of 16 national seeds in the tournament, are two wins from an eighth successive College Cup final four berth.
It's an unlikely prospect; UCLA likely is headed to No. 1 Stanford for next weekend's third-round match. The Cardinal (19-0-2) face Santa Clara (13-6-2) in a second-rounder Sunday.
Britt, a senior, scored her first collegiate goal in the 42nd minute, heading home a Dana Wall corner kick. Leroux, on the cusp of the U.S. women's national team, netted her 13th goal of the year in the 49th, heading in a cross from Lauren Barnes (Upland/Upland HS) after a quick restart near midfield.
The Bruins needed goal-line heroics from defender Lauren Barnes, two saves from goalkeeper Chante' Sandiford and a perfect spot kick from Elise Britt to beat BYU on penalties following a 0-0 draw Thursday at Drake Stadium.
"This is the character that I've been waiting to see in this team," UCLA coach Jill Ellis told the school's website. "I was blown away by the way we competed. It's just constant belief that it can go your way, and that's honestly what it comes down to."
Burgeoning U.S. women's national-teamer Sydney Leroux nearly tallied twice for UCLA, but she hit the post at the end of the first half and was stopped on a 108th-minute breakaway.
UCLA (12-7-2), which is seeking an eighth successive College Cup final four appearance, on Saturday will face Central Florida (15-4-3), a 2-1 winner over Fresno State in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader.
The Bruins could be without star star midfielders Jenna Richmond and Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS). Richmond, a U.S. under-20 national-teamer, was stretchered off in the 17th minute with a knee injury; Wright had to be carted off 11 minutes later with an ankle injury.