The Philadelphia Independence announced its selection of five international players today. The Independence selected, Swedes Caroline Seger and Charlotte Rohlin, Brits Lianne Sanderson and Fara Williams, and Icelander Holmfridur Magnusdottir.
“We knew what we wanted to achieve going into the draft and had each of these players were high on our list of choices,” said Head Coach Paul Riley. "I am delighted to say that today’s international selections, combined with the outstanding players we selected in last week’s WPS Expansion Draft, provide the Independence with excellent skill and experience in nearly every single position on the field."
"I can’t wait until the spring to show the Independence fans what I have seen in Europe from these players—their qualities and talents on the field are simply unreal!”
With the acquisition of the rights to these international players, The Independence organization will begin working with the players and agents to get the contracts signed and approved by the league.
The Independence specifically targeted the two players from Sweden for their roster due to the strong Swedish roots in the Philly area since the 17th Century. Swedes will once again use their skill and determination to bolster the Independence squad.
Caroline Seger is the Swedish National Team Captain and is recognized as one of the top midfielders in the world. Her performance in the recent European Championships was incredible.
Since making her international debut with the Swedish National Team in 2005, Caroline has continued to perform exceptionally well for Sweden, now boasting an impressive 47 caps and four goals. Her efforts helped Sweden to qualify for the 2007 FIFA World Cup, where she performed remarkably.
Caroline represented her country again in the 2008 Olympic Games, leading her team to the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Germany. Caroline has also been a crucial player and captain for her club, Linköpings FC, since 2005. Linköpings has consistently been in the top four in their Swedish league, the Damallsvenskan, which was widely considered to be the best women’s league in the world until the advent of the WPS.
Caroline was honored as the Damallsvenskan Rookie of the Year in 2005 and Midfielder of the Year in 2006. Her excellent work-ethic and unmatched passion for the game make her an asset to any team that she is a part of.
A native of Helsingborg, Sweden, Caroline is known for her great attitude and admired by teammates for her ability to generate a positive atmosphere in any situation. Philadelphia fans will appreciate Caroline’s combination of skill, high intensity play, and genuine enjoyment of the game that is apparent every time she steps on the pitch.
Philadelphia Independence General Manager, Terry Foley was impressed with Caroline’s performance in the European Championships and thinks she will be a key figure for the Independence.
“Caroline Seger is an exceptional young player who I believe will be a star in WPS next year. She is a very talented player who has fantastic leadership qualities. We are certain that Caroline will give our fans something to cheer about and will serve as a great role model for all young female players in the Philly area.”
Charlotte Rohlin is also a member of the Swedish National Team and is widely respected for her tremendous play at central defender. Born and raised in Linköpings, Sweden, Charolotte has returned to her hometown after beginning her career with BK Kenty, now captaining Linkopings FC with teammate, Caroline Seger.
Charlotte has been an important leader for Linköpings FC, directing play from the back and making it difficult for opponents to get past her team’s defense. Since Charlotte’s international debut in 2007 against Finland, she has established herself as one of the best central defenders in the world.
Her contribution to the Swedish National Team has been outstanding, anchoring Sweden’s back line in the 2007 FIFA World Cup and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Charlotte is one of the toughest defenders in the game, and she poses a dangerous offensive threat coming forward on set pieces.
“Charlotte Rohlin is a solid central defender who we have been watching for some time and who really impressed us in Finland,” says Head Coach Paul Riley. “Charlotte is a true professional who will give us great leadership at the back, and we hope to have her in Philly to make a huge impact next season.”
In addition to these players, Coach Paul Riley identified Lianne Sanderson and Fara Williams as two English players that could have an immediate and positive impact on the Independence.
Riley stated on draft day about these two selections, “I am very pleased to have picked up both Lianne and Fara for next season. They will help spark our offensive efforts, and their successful careers with England prove that they can compete at the highest level.”
Like the Swedish players, Lianne and Fara know each other well, having played together with their country for the past two years. Their chemistry and connectivity makes them a dangerous combination and a great asset to the Independence offense.
Lianne Sanderson at age 21 has already established herself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the game and has a promising future ahead of her. Lianne played for the English U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-21 National Teams, and made her first Full Team appearance in May of 2006.
Her first international goal came in 2007 in just her fifth cap, and she continues to be an offensive force for her country. Lianne played for England in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was another standout player in the European Championships last month.
Born in Watford, England, Lianne was a part of the Arsenal club for the majority of her career, starting with the youth club at age nine and joining the first team at just 15 years old.
Lianne earned countless honors with Arsenal, finishing the 2006/2007 season as Arsenal's top scorer by notching 40 goals in 41 appearances. After 11 years at the Arsenal Club, Lianne signed with the Chelsea Ladies in 2008 and has made a great impact for the club.
Despite her relative youth, Lianne is a smart player with a great head for the game. Her passion and spirit are contagious, and Philadelphia fans will enjoy watching her next season.
Terry Foley hopes that Lianne will bring her offensive prowess to the Independence. “Lianne has scored goals at every level she has played at, and we hope that she will continue to score goals next year in Philadelphia. Lianne is accustomed to winning having played for both Arsenal and Chelsea, and that tradition of victory should be carried with the Independence.”
Fara Williams is another English National Team player who will be a fantastic addition to the Independence midfield. A dangerous attacker, Fara controls the flow of the game from the center of the field and creates brilliant scoring opportunities for her team.
As a member of the English National Team, Fara scored five goals to help England qualify for the 2007 World Cup, and contributed another in the tournament itself. Her outstanding play earned Fara the honor of 2007 International Player of the Year. In the recent European Championships, Fara’s leadership was a key component to England’s impressive run to the finals.
Nicknamed “Queen Fara” by her Everton fans, she has twice been named Player of the Year with the Everton Ladies Football Club. In 2008, Fara helped lead her club to win the Premiership title for the first time in 10 years, and again to capture runner-up in 2009. Her tenacity and heart are undeniable, and she is fearless in her both her tackles and attacks.
The London native is a fun player to watch, and Independence fans will be lucky to have Fara in Philadelphia next season. Head Coach Paul Riley believes Fara will be a great addition to the Independence lineup.
“Fara is a superb player with tremendous vision, a vintage final ball and a work-rate second to none. She covers alot of ground, is always available to her teammates and enjoys the pressure of having the ball at her feet. Fara has a top class attitude with technical and tactical knowledge."
Holmfridur Magnusdottir is an Icelandic National Team Player who has achieved outstanding success with her own country. Holmfridur, a midfielder with an attacker’s mindset, has performed at the highest level for her country since her international debut against the United States in 2003.
Her contributions on the field, both defensively and offensively, earned her the honor of Iceland’s Player of the Year in 2007. In the 2009 European Championships, Holmfridur made her presence known by scoring in the first minute of play in the playoff first leg in the Republic of Ireland.
Holmfridur has been a premier player in Icelandic women’s soccer, registering over 100 Icelandic top-flight goals with Reykjavík and ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar. In 2006, she moved to Denmark’s Fortuna Hjorring, playing for two seasons before moving to her current club, Kristianstads DFF in Sweden.
Paul Riley is excited to see what Holmfridur can do for the Independence. "Holmfridur is a very good wide player with speed, skill and a great ability to beat players. She will be fun to watch and will be problematic for opponents’ defenses. Holmfridur is tough as nails with a sweet left foot, and shows a great combination of power and precision. She will surely be a crowd favorite."
The International Draft was considered to be a great success for the Philadelphia Independence. The Philadelphia franchise plans to bring in a more superstars through the free agency and trade processes. Team web site www.wpsphillyindependence.com.
The previous story was excerpted from a press release by the Philadelphia Independence and used by Bleacher Report writer Todd Civin. Civin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comment or hire. He is a free lance writer who writes for Bleacher Report, Seamheads and Sports Then and Now and is a supporter of the childrens' book A Glove of Their Own.