After a busy October in Boston, the Breakers will enter the winter months with a refreshed roster. Though some moves added optimism ahead of the 2014 season, others raised our eyebrows - for all the wrong reasons. We break down the Breakers' overhaul, beginning with forward Courtney Jones.
Part One: Welcoming Courtney Jones
On October 18, the Breakers added attacking depth, sending the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NWSL draft to FC Kansas City in exchange for forward Courtney Jones. As a member of the 2012 Breakers, Jones contributed two goals and six assists during a strong WPSL Elite campaign, only to score four goals while adding a lone assist for FC Kansas City last season. After completing the trade, Breakers' General Manager Lee Billiard noted Jones' athleticism and strong competitive attitude, praising the decision to re-acquire the California native.
In late September, we projected the departure of at least one forward, as Tom Durkin's roster seemed overloaded with regressing goal scorers such as Kyah Simon and Katie Schoepfer. In unexpected fashion, Billiard and Head Coach Tom Durkin completed the opposite, trading for a proven attacking asset. The Breakers ultimately lost Kyah Simon to a season-ending ACL tear, though the original plan - to carry Jones alongside Simon, Sydney Leroux, Lianne Sanderson, Katie Schoepfer and Anisa Guajardo - worked to develop the deepest unit on the team.
Analysis + Prediction
On Wednesday, we caught up with Thad Bell, manager of the Daily Wiz on SB Nation. Bell offered insight into Jones' playing style, describing the forward as a "physically strong and confident player" who "is willing to do what is needed on the field." According to Bell, Jones combines physical gifts with the speed to continually beat opponents, regularly finding room to threaten with box-to-box runs.
By playing Jones as a midfielder opposite Heather O'Reilly, the Breakers will gain attacking strength, enabling the North Carolina alum to make dangerous runs ahead of Leroux and Sanderson. Expect Jones to also feature as a true striker, providing top-tier depth behind Boston's acclaimed attacking pair. The injury to Simon will solidify Jones' spot as the third striker of Tom Durkin's roster.
The Final Word
Transaction grade: B+
Jones will provide balance as a late-game catalyst and occasional starter, though Tom Durkin now has a decision to make with capable starter Katie Schoepfer. If Simon remained healthy - as expected during the time of Jones' acquisition - at least one starting XI hopeful would have found familiarity on the bench. We offer two thumbs up for already having a replacement for Simon, though a No. 4 pick seems lofty for Jones, who would have served as the team's fourth striker just a week ago.
2014 projected stat line: 21 appearances (13 starts), 1180 minutes, 3 goals, 5 assists
Stay tuned for part two: breaking down the decision to part ways with Mariah Nogueira