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Breakers sign rookie Christen Westphal, fill roster

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The Breakers are now carrying a full 20-player roster.

Stephanie Yang

The Boston Breakers have signed their top draft pick Christen Westphal, bringing their total roster count to the 20-player limit.

"Christen is a player that comes into the pro environment and can compete for a first-11 spot straight away," said head coach Matt Beard via team press release. "She will add competition to our defense, and I'm looking forward to working with her and improving her as a player."

Beard's comments on putting Westphal into a starting XI aren't just flattery; based on his preseason lineups, he is looking to get her adjusted to working in the back line with Kassey Kallman as soon as possible. It jibes with what he said about Westphal at the draft too; clearly he had in mind that he wanted to bolster the team at fullback as part of his overall retooling.

Where does this leave the team's other two picks, Brittany Ratcliffe and Abby Smith?

Ratcliffe is an attacking player who has so far seen some time in preseason as a right mid, while Smith is a goalkeeper who hasn't played yet. It's feasible that both of them could go to the Breakers reserves and see if they get called up as amateur players, though this situation is far more likely for Ratcliffe than Smith. With both Libby Stout and Jami Kranich seemingly ahead of Smith in the pecking order, she's not likely to see time for Boston at all this season.

Ratcliffe is a different story. Kyah Simon is almost certainly going to be gone with Australia before and during the Olympics. Shifting someone forward to take on her role as striker could open up a hole for Ratcliffe in the midfield, assuming Beard doesn't just try to plug the hole with his other pure striker Morgan Marlborough. There's also the question of Sinead Farrelly's continued absence from preseason games as she continues to come back up to 100%. According to the Breakers, Farrelly is "out with an injury and will return when doctors clear her."

The Breakers have three more preseason games left to play, one in Florida and two back in Boston against UConn and Boston College on April 3 and April 8 respectively.