Dec. 18, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Three former University of Tennessee women's soccer players are participating in the 2008 Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) East Coast Combine beginning today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Jaimel Johnson will join current United Soccer Leagues W-League players Jenny Jeffers and Lyndsey Patterson at the event which will serve as a showcase for graduating college seniors and other national and international talent from top level amateur leagues in advance of the 2009 WPS Draft.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Johnson capped her collegiate career by helping the Lady Vols to the 2008 Southeastern Conference Tournament title. After allowing just two goals and making 13 saves through three matches and stopping two penalty kicks in a semifinal shootout with LSU, Johnson earned tournament most valuable player honors.
During her career, Johnson made her presence felt both on the pitch and in the record book at Tennessee. In 2007, she became Tennessee's third National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) All-American, and is the only keeper in program history to earn the distinction. She finished her time in the Orange and White ranked third all-time in matches played (61), matches started (60) and victories (31). Johnson also ranks second in career minutes (5,484), saves (253), shutouts (20) and goals against average (1.07).
A member of the 2006 senior class, Jeffers made 85 appearances on Tennessee's backline that posted an 0.88 goals against average during her four years. She ranks seventh all-time in matches played and helped the Lady Vols capture three SEC Eastern Division and regular-season titles and two SEC Triple Crowns while making three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Since exhausting her eligibility, Jeffers has spent time playing with the W-League's Ottawa Fury and FC Indiana, helping the Fury to the 2007 Eastern Conference championship.
A native of Puyallup, Wash., Lyndsey Patterson was a crucial part of the Lady Vols' first SEC championship team, donning the Orange and White between 2001 and 2004. The forward/midfielder remains tied for the second in the record books for matches played with 91 and was a two-time NSCAA All-Central region selection. Patterson combined with classmates Keeley Dowling, Sue Flamini and Kayla Lockaby to carry UT to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001 and its initial SEC Triple Crown in 2002. After spending the 2007 season with the W-League's Seattle Sounders, Patterson was signed by the Atlanta Silverbacks where she was named to the W-League "Best 11" squad four times during the 2008 campaign.
During the four-day combine, players will undergo general training and physical testing and will be assigned to specific teams with the opportunity to play in three games over the course of three days. Players' rights will be drafted by teams at the 2009 WPS Draft on January 16 in St. Louis, Mo., at the NSCAA Convention. If drafted, Johnson, Patterson and Jeffers would join former Lady Vol and current assistant coach Keeley Dowling (Sky Blue FC) in the league.
Beginning in February, teams will also hold local try-outs in their respective markets. Participating in the WPS East or West Coast Combine is not mandatory for a player to be eligible for the 2009 WPS Draft or a future roster spot on a WPS team.
WPS play kicks off in the spring of 2009, with WPS teams based in the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. The league expects to expand in 2010 with the addition of Atlanta and Philadelphia, while working to secure a facility for a Dallas team for the second WPS season.