City of Brotherly Love

So the only question I have is whether the crack dealer took my GPS in trade from some urban yoot or whether said yoot had to find someone to give him 20 bucks for it.

I guess it doesn't matter, really.

What's most important is that my car is sitting out in downtown Philadelphia with a black plastic trashbag window, much like your basic hillbilly limousine, while I sit here at the WPS draft listening to Tony Diccico explain to us that the US is not a country with a "soccer culture".

I'm certainly glad we've gotten to the bottom of that question.

Of course the fact that my vehicle is probably being stripped like a - well, like an unlocked car on an urban street - isn't deterring me from completing my mission today.

As I said during a genuinely warm conversation with my insurance agent Ned Ryerson* "Don't give me 'drive-in claim center' you bloodsucking maggot; right now the car that you're holding the bag for is probably being used as a combination shooting gallery and public toilet by half the degenerates in Philadelphia.

"If it doesn't bother you it doesn't bother me, Skippy. And thanks, by the way, for the "rental car" rider".

In actual news unrelated to the blight of urban crime, WPS just announced a major transaction:

- St. Louis has acquired the services of Lindsay Tarpley, formerly of the Chicago Red Stars in exchange for GK Jillian Lloyden

Tarpley was of course an Olympic Gold Medalist with the US in 2008 at the Beijing games and was recently named US Soccer's "Female Player of the Decade"

Loyden, who backed up Hope Solo in 2009, spent the offseason playing in Australia's W League where she was "Goalkeeper of the Year"

*Needle Nose Ned

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I'm going to do this differently from yesterday and see which one I like better.

The WPS draft is much smaller, leaner, (not at all mean though) than MLS of course.

In fact, it reminds you of nothing quite so much as the MLS draft five or six years ago.

One thing that stands out: at the MLS draft, when Don Garber or Dan Courtemanche have something to say, 1000 people shut up and listen.

Here, when someone makes an announcement at the podium they have to shout to be heard over the voices of 250 people who are talking and ignoring them.

(This changes after Tonya Antonucci speaks. Nobody messes with the boss.)

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What is it about soccer coaches?

As you know, these things are held at the NSCAA convention, which consists of 10,000 middle aged guys in team-logo warmup suits.

Are they coming from practice? On their way to practice?

Only wear clothes they didn't pay for?

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The teams are all at tables grouped in front of the podium, except for the LA Sol, who are at a table way over on the right, behind the big team posters.

Apparently they've been very, very bad

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Since it's not on TV, they don't have to start the 10 AM draft at 10 AM.

It's now 10:15 and they're still yakking.

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One of two things is about to happen:

1) Atlanta will pick Tobin Heath

2) Atlanta's management will be fired

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Everyone gets to keep their jobs - it's Heath

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And the shocks just keep on coming: Lauren Cheney to Boston at #2

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The room is absolutely packed. Might be pushing 500 people, standing room only, maybe 50 people can't get in.

WPS has to be pleased.

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Stanford's Kelly O'Hara to the bay Area Gold Pride at #3.

Want to know how predictable it's been so far?

The Pride just handed O'Hara a #10 jersey with her name on the back.

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Chicago grabs UNC defender Whitney Engen, making it 2 of Dorrance's Tarheels in the first four picks.

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Not as slick or smoothly practiced as MLS, obviously, but trying really really hard.

They keep forgetting to start the countdown clock.

And they're still figuring out what to do with the scarves in the pictures, but they admitted it was new this year.

The thing that keeps hitting you is how much less militantly in-your-face this outfit is than WUSA.

They focus on the soccer and the players, not your social obligation to give them money.

And they're just so....so....nice

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At other drafts, including MLS, once a player is picked he leaves the room.

Here, when they get done with the Grip & Grin sessions, the players all go back and sit with the other players.

It's kind of cool.

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Colorado forward Nikki Marshall (who also played some defense for the U20's) to Washington.

First big surprise; she wasn't rated that highly. Is Sigi Schmid running their draft?

They're doing a little PA system interview after each pick rather than have the player stand there at the podium like an Oscar winner thanking God and her parents.

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Casey Nogueira from UNC to LA.

That's four of the first eight. And I bet Dorrance won't miss a beat next year.

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LA goes for an unknown, Washington State's Kiersten Dallstream.

I just love it when everyone looks at each other and says "Who?"

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They're getting ready to name the 11th pick in the first round of a draft for a league with 9 members.

Hey, it's their league, they can do what they want.

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First round ends with Boston taking the consensus #1 keeper in the draft, Alissa Naeher of Penn State.

And frankly, if Tony DiCicco, one of the legendary keeper coaches in US history, thinks you can handle the job, well, it's a good bet you can probably handle the job.

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Break between rounds.

There's a real buzz in the room. Very upbeat, very relaxed, everybody having fun.

Totally different atmosphere from yesterday.

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Anson Dorrance is holding court in the back of the room.

Talk about ring kissing. The line goes out the door and down the hall.

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So here's something I don't understand:

They give the teams three minutes between picks in the first round and then five minutes after that.

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Oh look, there's Sunil Gulati, looking as superfluous as he did yesterday at the MLS soiree.

Still, being the most powerful man in the building - he can pull the plug on pretty much anything and everything here if he's of a mind to - nobody is making jokes about him either.

Well, except me.

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Atlanta starts round three by selecting Blakely Mattern of South Carolina.

Surprisingly, she's actually here (it's getting rarer to have the draftee in the room) and she trots up for some pix.

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The room had started to quiet down as we got into the middle of the third round, so it was a shock when it just erupted in cheers and applause.

Katie Schoeper, a forward from Penn State, got the nod from Sky Blue and we discovered that a third of the room is related to her.

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Lots more hugging today, too.

Then again if you were picked by LA and you had Arena and Cobi standing there, I'd go for the handshake too.

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Sunil is sitting in the (now deserted) player area, eating a sandwich.

Well known smartass Andy Mead just told him that he just needs to keep the faith and he'll for sure get picked eventually.

Frankly, I just think Gulati was happy someone spoke to him.

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One of the interesting sights at these drafts - and this one more than any - is when you see a new draftee walking down the concourse outside through a crowd of people who are too busy impressing each other with how well their U9 team did last Fall to notice.

Case in point: I just passed Lauren Cheney walking through a crowd with her new Boston Breakers scarf around her neck. Not one person looked up.

it's not just the women - same thing happens with the men. And I'm not talking about 5th round picks out of East Texas State Baptist Teachers College.

I'm talking about Lauren Cheney and Danny Mwanga.

Here at NSCAA's national convention ought to be one of the few places on Earth where everyone recognizes these kids. If it was the NFL draft being held at a convention of football coaches, every one of them would be mobbed.

How can we bitch and moan about how the general public doesn't know who these people are when the SOCCER COMMUNITY doesn't know who they are either.

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Sophie Rieser from Columbia was just selected by Chicago, and she's the first pick in a while who is here.

Podium. Scarf. Photos.

And you know - there is no appreciable difference between her level of excitement and Tobin Heath's, lo these many picks ago.

Maybe you make a team and have a long career, maybe this is the beginning of the end for you, but "Was drafted by Chicago in the WPS draft" is something nobody can ever take away.

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Somebody just told me that the reason Sunil has been hanging around was because he was waiting for Reiser - from Columbia, where he teaches - to get selected.

Nice.

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Technology makes for some odd scenes.

I was just outside the room and two young women were walking by staring at their Blackberries.

"Sixth round" one of them said. "Sky Blue is next"

And on they walked, apparently not caring that they were 50 feet away from the actual event.

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Break between the sixth and seventh rounds, and finally the first trade.

You probably have better details off of the twitter feed than I have, but I think Boston just got the next pick from LA for the ever-popular "future considerations"

Also a couple of teams swapped the rights to a couple players but I couldn't hear who it was. The team PR people are right behind me so I'll try and figure it out.

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Boston uses the pick they just got from LA for Gina DiMartino from Boston College.

Also Sky Blue sent their 7th round pick (62 overall) to Philadelphia in return for the rights to just-selected Jennifer Anzivino of Rutgers.

Rob Penner, the WPS communications director, just called for all head coaches to pose together for a picture.

If Andy Mead wasn't such a miserly, money grubbing bastard he'd probably share it so you could see it.

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PA system playing Allman Brothers Sweet Melissa. Nice touch.

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