WOMEN'S SOCCER: Mewis And DiMartino Both Drafted Into NWSL
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 22:01
Women’s soccer took a major step up on the world stage in 2000, as the Women’s United Soccer Association was founded as the world’s first soccer league to pay women as professionals. The league would cease operations shortly after its third completed season. The void of a women’s league would be filled six years later in 2009 by Women’s Professional Soccer, but that organization also only lasted three seasons.
Former Boston College Eagles Kristie Mewis and Victoria DiMartino were drafted into the nascent National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) last Friday, a start-up that seeks to last longer than its predecessors.
Mewis was selected third overall by the FC Kansas City franchise, while DiMartino was selected No. 22 by the Western New York Flash from Rochester.
“I really wanted to stay in the United States and play in front of the fans,” Mewis told USsoccer.com. “I think this league is going to be the best one yet and I’m so excited to be a part of it. I can’t wait and I’m really excited that U.S. Soccer decided to have a league this year.”
BC head coach Alison Foley’s squad will sorely miss the presence of Mewis, the program’s all-time leading scorer in points (116) and goals (39). In addition, the star midfielder and captain leaves BC with the second-most all-time assists at 39.
The Massachusetts native earned plenty of individual accolades while playing in Chestnut Hill, including NSCAA All-America first team honors and finishing as a finalist for the prestigious Hermann award.
In anticipation of starting her professional career during what would have been her last semester at BC, Mewis earned her diploma following the fall term. Upon completing her course load, the midfielder set off for Australia where she joined the A-League’s Canberra United. She was only able to play in two matches, but made her presence felt by scoring a goal in each game before the team was eliminated from the postseason.
“I had never been to Australia before and it was really fun,” Mewis told BCeagles.com. “The people were so welcoming. It was a really good experience for my first professional encounter. It was good to get that under my belt, as some professional experience will help me with the new league.”
Mewis has also played in the U.S. national team program, and she will be attending a three-day camp in February with other national team hopefuls to give new head coach Tom Sermanni an opportunity to evaluate his squad. This would be the former Eagle’s first step in a long process that could eventually land her on the senior national team.
In addition, the change of scenery in Kansas City will be drastic for Mewis, but she does not seem daunted by the prospect.
“It’s going to be a really good experience to move somewhere that I might be a little uncomfortable with the surroundings,” Mewis told BCeagles.com. “It will be really good for me as a person to try something different.”
DiMartino will leave the Heights third all-time on the career points and goals lists. The former ACC Freshman of the Year is the second DiMartino to be drafted by a women’s league, as older sister and former Eagle Gina was taken by the WPS’ Boston Breakers.
“It’s pretty exciting, having played soccer since I was so little and with the league folding and now coming back,” DiMartino said. “It hasn’t hit me I guess. I feel blessed, but I have to finish school first, which is my main priority.”
DiMartino, who plans on earning her degree in elementary education in May, said of the prospect of joining the Rochester-based organization, “It’s a new place and a new beginning, and I’m ready to start there.”
She will have plenty to learn with Western New York, as she joins two of the most experienced and decorated players in U.S. soccer history, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd. Wambach, a five-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, will be an important influence for the young striker out of BC.
“When I was younger I always looked up to [Wambach and Lloyd],” DiMartino said, “I remember when I was little, we had to write a note to someone [for school] and I wrote mine to Abby. Now I’m going to be teammates with her and interacting with her everyday. She’s a great player and I’m going to learn a lot from her.”
With uncertainty hanging above the inaugural campaign of the league, it appears that the NWSL and the two former Eagles that joined its ranks last Friday have a lot in common. If Mewis and DiMartino can find success in Kansas City and Rochester, there is reason to think that they may soon feature side-by-side on another squad: Sermanni’s national team.