The Boston Breakers have signed defender Kylie Strom, bringing them back up to a complete roster of 20. Strom joins current Breaker Rachel Wood as another player who moved up into the pro team after playing in the Breakers reserves and will add a little more depth in the back line after the retirement of Breakers left back Mollie Pathman.
“Kylie being signed is another great testament to our Reserve team program and our ability to develop players who are on the bubble of becoming a pro player,” said Boston Breakers general manager Lee Billiard via a team press release.
Strom was first called up from the reserves on July 15 as an amateur player. NWSL clubs can call up amateurs to replace players who are gone on national team duty without breaking roster limits; in exchange amateurs are not paid, but only reimbursed for expenses. Strom has been capped twice as an amateur callup for Boston, once going into a 3-5-2 against Sky Blue FC and another time subbing in for Brooke Elby at left back.
Strom played at Boston University during her college career and has spent some time with the U23 WNT, as well as the Breakers’ college academy team. She represents one of the developments of a league that has time to establish itself and grow, as clubs are able to put infrastructure in place to create homegrown players.
Billiard has previously spoken about his desire to have a homegrown rule in place; certainly it might have benefited the team in signing players like Samantha Mewis, who also played for the Breakers College Academy, but now plays for the Western New York Flash.
The Breakers have five more games left; perhaps it simply made sense for them to sign Strom for the rest of the season instead of continuing to call her up as an amateur. In any case, it allows her to get paid like the pro player she is instead of just getting reimbursed, and hopefully makes it easier to balance soccer and paying the bills. That’s good for Strom, the team, and the league.