By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Two UP women's soccer players are heading for the big time.
Midfielder Keelin Winters and defender Elli Reed were drafted on Jan. 14 in this year's Women's Professional Soccer draft at the number 6 and number 8 spots, respectively.
Winters, the 2010 WCC Player of the Year, UP's fourth consecutive, will be joining former UP players Kelsey Davis and Stephanie Lopez (now Cox) on the Boston Breakers.
Reed, a four time All-WCC Player and Academic All-American will also head to the East Coast to play for the Western New York Flash in Buffalo, NY.
The two were together at a U-20 soccer camp when they heard the news of their draft results.
"When Boston came up I was fully aware that it could come down to either one of us," Winters said. "Tony (DiCicco) knows both of us and it would have been a good decision either way."
Tony Dicicco is the head coach of their U-20 team and the Boston Breakers.
"I was so excited when I saw my name. I'm excited to go to New York. The East Coast will be an exciting experience," Reed said.
Both players credited the professional atmosphere of UP's soccer program on and off the field for their opportunity to take their game to the pros.
"Our soccer program is at a high level. We compete against the best girls in the country and it makes us better," Reed said. "We have a really professional program here and it is based on a lot of tradition."
"The thing that set UP apart during recruiting was the tradition that started with Clive Charles and continues today. Little things like polishing shoes and tucking in jerseys everyday create a professional environment. We have one of the most professional programs in the country," Winters said.
Not only have Winters and Reed shared the field at UP, they also played together on the National U-20 team that won a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2008.
"Playing on various youth national teams really helps prepare for the pace of games at another level. World Cup games have the high intensity that should prepare us for the pros," Reed said.
Winters and Reed will play against each other on Sunday, April 17, at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass. While it will not be the first time the two have competed against each other, it will be the first time they will meet on the field professionally and there are scores to settle.
"Before UP our club teams played each other. (Reed's) team won and I was kind of bitter," Winters said. "We are both great competitors and it will be a hard fought battle, but we are best friends off the field and will probably meet up after the game."