United States national team playmaker Aly Wagner, the University of Santa Clara midfielder who won the MAC Hermann Award as college soccer's female player of the year in 2002, Sunday was the first player chosen in the third Women's United Soccer Assn. draft.
Wagner, 22, was selected by the San Diego Spirit, where she will join, among others, U.S. teammates Julie Foudy, Shannon MacMillan and Joy Fawcett.
"Since the league's inception, my heart has been set on playing for the Spirit," Wagner said in Atlanta, where the draft was held.
"It's a perfect place to play and I'm going to a team where I think I'll fit right in. My brother lives in San Clemente and I'm looking forward to him being my neighbor."
In all, 32 players were drafted, 22 of them either forwards or midfielders.
Four-time All-American forward Christie Welsh of Penn State was the second player selected and will join the New York Power, while another Santa Clara player, defensive midfielder Devvyn Hawkins, was the No. 3 pick and goes to the Boston Breakers.
Also chosen in the first round, in order: University of Washington goalkeeper Hope Solo (Philadelphia Charge); Stanford midfielder Callie Withers (Atlanta Beat); Clemson forward Deliah Arrington (Philadelphia); Dartmouth midfielder Mary McVeigh (Philadelphia), and University of Nebraska and Canadian national team defender Breanna Boyd (Carolina Courage).
The San Jose CyberRays and Washington Freedom did not have first-round picks.
The league begins its third season April 5, the same day as Major League Soccer.
Colorado Rapid Coach Tim Hankinson has hired former U.S. national team defender Steve Trittschuh, a World Cup player in 1990, as his top assistant. Trittschuh, 37, played six seasons in MLS, three with the Rapids and three with the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
The Rapids also hired former Tampa Bay and Columbus Crew goalkeeper Mark Dougherty, 35, as goalkeeper coach. Dougherty was an assistant coach at Bowling Green last year.
San Jose Foe
According to a report on the Asian Football Confederation's Web site, the San Jose Earthquakes will play host to Shanghai Shenua of the Chinese league in a friendly Feb. 9, days before the 2001 MLS champions leave for Spain to participate in the La Manga Cup.
Putting club before country once again, Manchester United Coach Alex Ferguson has recommended that midfielder Roy Keane no longer play for Ireland so that he can prolong his career.
Keane, 31, has had hip problems and was not chosen to play for Ireland in its next game, against Scotland on Feb. 12. Ferguson told the People newspaper that retiring from international competition would benefit Keane.
"You only have to look at how Alan Shearer has benefited from not playing for England to see that it can help players of Roy's age," Ferguson said. "Shearer discovered that you can't please three parts of the football equation. Maybe Roy would be better just settling for two -- Manchester United and himself."
Shearer, the Newcastle United and former England striker who retired from the national team in 2000, is the third-leading scorer in the Premier League.
One day after being named Barcelona's new coach, Yugoslav Radomir Antic saw first-hand the problem he had inherited when the Spanish club was soundly beaten, 3-0, by Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Still, Antic, who was not in charge for the game, said at a news conference Sunday that he believes he can change the slumping team's fortunes.
"This job is a great personal challenge for me," he said. "I am committed to positive, bright football.... Football is very much a psychological game and my first aim will be to raise the spirits of the players."