Mana Shim’s time with the Houston Dash didn’t last long. Picked by the Dash in the Expansion Draft on January 10, the Thorns were able to re-acquire her after sending the #11 Pick and midfielder Nikki Washington to Houston.
A fan favorite and surprise starter for the Thorns last season, Shim, 22, brought energy and tenacity to the Thorns, becoming a starter against the Washington Spirit on May 4, 2013, and never looked back, becoming a key member of the Thorns’ attack, scoring 5 goals and 2 assists in 20 appearances (17 starts). Shim earned the Thorns’ 2013 Newcomer of the Year award and was recently called into United States U23 National Team camp.
“I don’t think you could’ve got a college player at No. 11 that would’ve been anywhere near the level that Shim is,” said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley in a press release. “We’re really excited to have her back and I’m excited to put her in a training environment where hopefully she can really improve.”
Washington, 25, scored 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 appearances (10 starts) for the Thorns before being placed in season-ending injured reserve in September.
Thorns trade picks for GK Michelle Betos
In their second trade of the day, the Thorns acquired goalkeeper Michelle Betos from the Boston Breakers for the 7th pick in the 4th Round 2014 College Draft and a 2nd Round selection in the 2015 College Draft.
“She’s a really good goalkeeper – good presence, good feet, great shot blocker and I think she brings a lot to the locker room too, she’s a great young lady,” Riley said. “I’m excited to have her. It’s a great pickup for us.”
Betos, 25, appeared in 7 games last season, making 34 saves early in the season for the Seattle Reign. Following the season, she was traded to the Boston Breakers, while also appearing on loan at Cyprus club Apollon Limassol LFC in starting two games in 2013-14 UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Thorns draft Emily Menges and Elisabeth Sullivan
With the 25th overall pick in the draft, the Thorns selected defender Emily Menges out of Georgetown University. Menges, 21, was a MAC Hermann trophy semifinalist in 2012 and 2013, earned NSCAA First Team All-American honors as a senior, and three-time All-Big East selection while appearing in 84 games, making 83 starts and helping her team to 40 shutouts over her career. In her senior season, Menges captained the Hoyas to a 16-3-2 record and making the 2nd round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, falling to eventual runner-up Virginia. She was also recently called into United States U23 National Team camp.
“We are very proud of Emily,” Georgetown Women’s Soccer head coach Dave Nolan said on GUHoyas.com. “She will be an absolute steal for Portland. Her decision to graduate in May and stay in school this spring prevented her from being drafted much higher. However, playing for Portland and working under Paul Riley meant Portland was always the place she wanted to go. In my opinion, Emily was one of the top two or three defenders in the draft and (Paul) Riley is counting his blessings that she was still available when she was. Everyone at Georgetown is very happy for her.”
A native of Garden City, New York, Menges played for Riley as a member of Albertson Soccer Club in her youth.
“Emily was an anchor for Georgetown and she’s tremendously athletic. I felt that we needed another athlete in the back,” said Riley. “It’ll be nice to have Rachel Buehler be able to take her under her wing, and (be around) Nikki Marshall when you’re talking about experienced pros. Sullivan was the wild card, we hoped that we could get her and that’s why we made the trade. She’s very quick, very explosive, she’s got two good feet and she’s great around the net.”
With the 31st pick, the Thorns selected forward Elisabeth Sullivan out of Mississippi State University. Sullivan, 22, set numerous records for MSU, finishing as the all-time leading goal scorer with 39, including 16 in her senior year, also a school record and earning All-SEC honors in 2012 and 2013.
The Thorns acquired the 31st pick after completing a trade with the Washington Spirit for forward Tiffany Weimer, who made 10 appearances for the Thorns, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist after signing in June.