WPS: Chicago Red Stars Pick Up Washington, Weber From Defunct St. Louis

John HowellAnalyst IJune 4, 2010

BRIDGEVIEW, ILLINOIS—The Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer announce today the acquisition of midfielder Nikki Washington and defender and Elk Grove Village, Illinois, native Elise Weber. Both free agent signings were available following the dissolution of Saint Louis Athletica last week.

Per team policy, terms of their contracts are not released. With Chicago's two acquisitions, the Red Stars released defender Ifeoma Dieke and forward and Naperville, Ill., native Michele Weissenhofer.

"We're excited about the additions of Nikki and Elise to our roster," Red Stars Head Coach Omid Namazi said. "Nikki is a dynamic attacking player who will add another dimension to our game. Elise brings an attacking dimension to the left back.... Obviously releasing players is very difficult, and we'd like to thank Ifeoma and Michele for their contributions to the Red Stars."

Washington has been placed on the team's 18-player first team roster and is questionable to play for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Beat. She has made strong progress recovering from an ACL injury during her final season with the University of North Carolina.

"I have my own expectations that probably exceed the team's own expectations of me, so I'm staying focused on myself," Washington said. "That is my biggest thing, honestly. Obviously I'm excited to have our new coach Omid Namazi and [former Tar Heel and Red Stars President and General Manager] Marcia McDermott here, so I'm just taking what I get from them and running with it."

Weber, who was drafted by Athletica in 2009 and formerly played at the University of Notre Dame, has been named to Chicago's developmental roster. Weber played locally at St. Viator in Arlington Heights, where the girls soccer team won championships in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Weber was a senior captain during the '05 season.

Athletica last acquired the rights to Washington, but she was unsigned. Washington was the fifth overall selection by the Los Angeles Sol in the first round of the 2010 WPS Draft. Her rights were acquired by Sky Blue FC as the sixth overall pick in the 2010 Dispersal Draft on February 4. Washington then was traded along with Anita Asante to Athletica on May 4.

Through Washington's long-traveled escapade this year, the WPS rookie is looking forward to reuniting with a large North Carolina contingent. She previously played alongside Engen, forward Casey Nogueira and forward Jessica McDonald.

"Just coming right in and being able to mesh with them right away makes me feel much more comfortable, and that obviously translates on the field," Washington said. "I think that's going to ease the transition."

Article provided by Chicago Red Stars

Nikki Washington
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-4
Born: 8/1/88
Hometown: Mesquite, Texas
College: University of North Carolina
Last Club: Saint Louis Athletica
Country: United States
How acquired: Free agent (June 2010)
WPS: Originally selected in the first round (fifth overall) by the Los Angeles Sol in the 2010 WPS Draft; rights acquired by Sky Blue FC as the sixth overall pick in the 2010 Dispersal Draft on Feb. 4, 2010; traded to Saint Louis Athletica on May 4, 2010; acquired by the Red Stars on June 4, 2010 as a free agent signing. Has yet to play in a WPS match.
International: Member of U.S. U-23 National Team in 2009. ... Started at forward for the U-20 National Team as the team earned a berth in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2008 U-20 World Championships. ... Has also played for the U-16 and U-17 National Teams.
College: Played for North Carolina from 2006 to 2009, contributing 17 goals, 28 assists and 62 points. In 2009, her senior season was shortened to eight matches because of an ACL injury. In 2007, she was the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 ACC Tournament. ... In 2006, was a Freshman All-America and freshman All-ACC honoree.

Elise Weber
Position: Defender
Height: 5-6
Born: 7/26/87
Hometown: Elk Grove Village, Ill.
College: University of Notre Dame
Last Club: Saint Louis Athletica
Country: United States
How acquired: Free agent (June 2010)
WPS: Selected in the third round (21st overall) of the 2009 WPS Draft. For 2010, has started and played in six matches, logging 540 minutes. ... In 2009, made 14 starts and 18 total appearances, logging 1,279 minutes and scoring a goal.
College: Played for the University of Wisconsin in 2005 and 2006, then transferred to the University of Notre Dame for 2007 and 2008. At Wisconsin, Weber had eight goals, five assists and 21 points in her two seasons. With Notre Dame, she tallied four goals, 10 assists and 18 points.