Canadian forward Christine Sinclair is one of four players joining the Western New York Flash.
The Western New York Flash of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) has announced today that it has agreed to terms with four players for the 2011 season, all of whom come to the Flash with experience in WPS.
As promised in their launch press conference, the club has signed a key Canadian player in an attempt to reach out to fans north of the border. The acquisitions were plucked from a rich pool of free agent talent made available by the dissolution of WPS 2010 Chamion FC Gold Pride.
Along with Sinclair, Gold Pride defenders Ali Riley and Candace Wilson will make their way across the country from the West Coast; the Flash also agreed to terms with free agent Brittany Bock, who spent the 2010 season with the Washington Freedom.
Sinclair, one of the top strikers in the world, comes to the Flash after an outstanding 2010 year. After winning the WPS Championship with FC Gold Pride, Sinclair went on to lead Canada in being crowned CONCACAF Champions after defeating Mexico, 1-0, in the final. Sinclair had the game-winning goal in the match and ended with six goals in the tournament.
Sinclair has extensive international experience, with 140 caps and 107 goals and is currently the all time leader in goals in Canadian history. Sinclair spent both years in WPS with Gold Pride, appearing 40 times for the club with 16 goals and 10 assists in two seasons.
"Christine is an experienced striker and we are very excited to bring her to the Western New York area," said Flash Head Coach Aaran Lines. "Not only is Christine one of the top strikers in WPS and an exciting player to watch, but she is a great role model for all of the young soccer players in our area."
Outside backs Ali Riley and Kandace Wilson come to WNY after patrolling the flanks for the Gold Pride in the 2010 season, while Brittany Bock joins following her second season in the league with the Freedom.
Riley, a New Zealand international, has 40 caps for the Football Ferns. Riley was named the Nike Junior Women's Player of the Year in New Zealand and three times was named Nike National Women's Football Player of the Year in New Zealand.
Just recently, Riley was named the 2009 Oceania Player of the Year and 2010 WPS Rookie of the Year. After being drafted from Stanford University, where she was a Pac-10 All-Team and an All-American, Riley found her home as a left back, starting 23 games for the Gold Pride and registering three assists.
"It’s an honor to bring a player from my home country to the Flash in our inaugural season in the WPS," said Lines, a former New Zealand international himself. "Ali’s athleticism, international experience and pace will be a great addition to our team and I’m looking forward to working with her."
Wilson will bring WPS experience to the expansion side, as she appeared in 32 games in the last two years for Gold Pride—most notably in 2010, where she started 15 of the 24 games she appeared in and scored in the Championship game against the Philadelphia Independence.
"Kandace is an aggressive player who likes to get forward and will give us another dimension in our attack from the back," Lines said. "Her speed, athleticism and prior WPS experience is extremely valuable."
Bock comes to the Flash also bringing WPS playoff experience, having started in the WPS First Round between the Freedom and the Philadelphia Independence. The Notre Dame alum has made 33 appearances in WPS for the Los Angeles Sol and Freedom, 19 of them being starts.
Bock is currently in the U.S. U-23 National Team player pool and was named to the USWNT roster that won 4-0 over Canada in 2009.
"Brittany is a young, talented player who is out to prove herself in the upcoming WPS season," Lines said. "She is that next caliber of player looking to put herself on a platform here in WNY. Not only does Brittany have two years of experience in the league, but she is an extremely versatile player."
These new acquisitions join Keeper Alyssa Harris, formerly of Washington Freedom and third on the depth chart for US Women's National Team, and two expansion draft picks, Washington's Beverly Goebel and Atlanta's Kaley Fountain, also a USWNT member.
Already, the Flash is looking like a strong contender, with many more slots yet to fill.
Note: All team transactions must be approved by WPS before becoming official.