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Five players to watch
by Paul Kennedy, April 11th, 2014 7:05PM

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TAGS:  nwsl

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[NWSL: Preview] The National Women's Soccer League begins its second season this weekend with two games on Saturday and two more on Sunday. There was lots of movement in the offseason. The biggest move sent Sydney Leroux from Boston to Seattle, making the Reign title contenders overnight. For a look at five players new at their clubs in 2014.

NWSL SCHEDULE, Week 1:
Saturday, April 12
8:00 pm ET
Houston vs. Portland
FC Kansas City  vs. Sky Blue FC 
Sunday, April 13
4:00 pm ET
Washington vs. Western NY
7:00 pm ET
Seattle vs. Boston

SYDNEY LEROUX. The Seattle Reign started 0-9-2 en route to a 5-14-3 season in 2013. It could be title contenders in 2014, though, as wholesale changes were made. Megan Rapinoe has joined the team on a full-time basis from Lyon, while Scotswoman Kim Little was signed from Arsenal Ladies, and Bev Goebel and Nahomi Kawasumi were picked up from Japanese champion INAC Kobe Leonessa. The big signing, though, was that of Leroux, acquired in a trade with Boston. She leads the U.S. national team with five goals so far this year, scoring in Thursday's 3-0 win over China in a match that marked her 50th appearance for the USA. The trade moves Leroux closer to her home in British Columbia and sets her up for what would be a breakout season.

AMY RODRIGUEZ. Rodriguez won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but sat out the 2013 NWSL season as she gave birth to her first child. She is back with the national team, though Seattle traded her rights to FC Kansas City in a deal that sent Kristie Mewis to the Reign, who then shipped her to Boston in the Leroux deal. Her best pro season came in 2010 when she scored 12 goals and had six assists for Philadelphia to earn a spot on the WPS Best XI.

NWSL 2014 Countdown:
What's new for Year 2?
Thorns' Riley would be interested in women's job
All regular-season games streamed on YouTube
Clubs confirm rosters for new season

KEALIA OHAI. The No. 2 pick in the College Draft after Crystal Dunn, who played with her at the University of North Carolina, Ohai will lead the attack for a very young Houston Dash expansion team. Her pace should fit right in with Coach Randy Waldrum's plans to employ a 4-3-3 formation.

LYDIA WILLIAMS. A knee injury to AD Franch, one of the top rookies in the NWSL's inaugural season, left a big hole in the Western New York goal, but Williams, a member of the Australian national team, has settled right in the Flash goal since being signed from Canberra United three weeks ago.

JORDAN ANGELI. If she plays on Sunday in Washington's opener against Western New York, it would be almost three years to the day since she played her last pro game. She tore her ACL in the 2011 WPS opener, marking the third time she was sidelined with a knee injury after twice being sidelined during her college career at Santa Clara.


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