Oct. 8, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A pair of former Seminoles will get an opportunity to lace it up with the world’s best players in the second year of the Women’s Professional Soccer League, while a former Florida State assistant will look to defend the league title in 2010.
Former consensus All-American and 2007 MAC Herman Trophy winner Mami Yamaguchi was selected by the Atlanta Beat in the WPS International Expansion Draft back in late September.
“She’s a player I’ve admired for quite awhile,” said Atlanta Beat head coach Gareth O’Sullivan. “She’s extremely intelligent, very creative, and very versatile. She played as an attacking midfielder at Florida State. This season at Umeå IK in Sweden, she has played a large part as a holding mid, and she has also played as an outside forward in a 4-3-3 for them.”
At the WPS All-Star Game, Yamaguchi assisted on Madelaine Edlund’s goal in the second minute and was robbed of her own goal on a strong save by Karina LeBlanc.
The WPS welcomes two new teams to the league in 2010, the Beat and the Philadelphia Independence. Each expansion team was allowed to draft the rights to five international players, providing them with the opportunity to begin a formal negotiation process with each selected player upon receiving permission from that player’s current club. For the 2010 season, teams will ultimately be allowed to sign up to five international players per roster while holding the WPS-playing rights to a sixth international player. Yamaguchi was selected sixth overall in the expansion draft by the Beat.
Erika Sutton, who is currently serving as the volunteer assistant with the Seminole soccer team, was signed to a one-year contract by the Boston Breakers on Thursday, October 8. Sutton is no stranger to the Breakers as she signed a short-term contract with the club this past season and played one game with the team. She played 90 minutes for Boston in a July 19th match against FC Gold. Sutton’s appearance with the Breakers made her the first Seminole to compete in the WPS.
“Erika Sutton is a young talented player who can play flank defender, flank midfielder or winger and has a wonderful balance of defending effort and attacking abilities,” said Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco.
In two seasons with the Seminoles, Sutton finished with 14 points on five goals and four assists in 46 career games.
Pauliina Miettinen, a former volunteer assistant (2005) and assistant coach (2006) at Florida State, was introduced as the new head coach of FC Sky Blue on September 29. Miettinen, who has top-level coaching experience in both her native Finland and the United States, will assume the head coaching role for Sky Blue FC as the team embarks upon its mission of a successful title defense in 2010.
“I am excited to be involved with the Sky Blue FC family and the professional atmosphere of the team,” Miettinen commented about her hiring. “After I visited New Jersey and the Sky Blue FC organization, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a part of this family. I am looking forward to coaching these dynamic athletes, and to working hard to prepare for the 2010 season and ensure the success of this team in the world’s most competitive women’s soccer league.”
As a player, Miettinen capped nine times for the Finnish National Team as a goalkeeper before heading to Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, where she converted to forward and was a three-year captain. She received All-America accolades on three occasions during her college career, compiling an NCAA record 309 points on 122 goals and 65 assists while leading the Ravens to three Division II National Championships. She also played seven seasons in the Finnish Premier League, where she helped HAK Helsinki to four national championships, four Finnish Cup championships and a UEFA Champions League semifinal.
Miettinen began her coaching career just over 10 years ago and she has coached at virtually every level of the game. In her first season as assistant coach at Franklin Pierce College in 1999, she helped her alma mater to its fourth national championship in five years. The Finnish native then joined the coaching staff at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, in 2001, where she assisted the soccer program to three consecutive NSCAA Top 11 finishes. She then became an assistant at perennial power Florida State University in 2005 and helped the Seminoles to the NCAA College Cup Semifinals.
Miettinen is the current head coach for PK-35 in Helsinki, Finland, which is currently tied for first place in the Finnish Premier League. Prior to taking over at PK-35, she spent two years at FC Kontu in Helsinki, advancing her club to the Finnish Premier League midway through her first season at the helm.
–WPS Sky Blue FC, Atlanta Beat and Boston Breakers contributed to this article.