If you were to count the Boston Breakers’ roster after they picked six players at the 2017 NWSL college draft, you’d be forgiven for scratching your head and looking at the fingers on your hand that showed how far over 20 they went. At some points the Breakers have had as many as 26 names on a roster that only has room for 20, and it was only a matter of time to see who would get trimmed away to make room for the plan that head coach Matt Beard very evidently has in mind.
The Breakers released one of those players today, letting go of forward Brittany Radcliffe. Ratcliffe was taken #17 overall in the 2016 college draft, and though Beard was present for that draft, he was also freshly arrived in the United States and still not fully acquainted with the NCAA or the draft system. Ratcliffe is as much a holdover from the old Breakers as any other player released so far, and with Beard bringing in Emilie Haavi, Rosie White, Tiffany Weimer, Adriana Leon, and a giant raft of midfield attacking talent from the draft, it was only a matter of time.
Ratcliffe played 545 minutes over 15 games for Boston and managed two shots on goal, and though at times she looked poised to become a fairly sharp sub who could spark a game with good runs through the defense, she never quite took shape. Perhaps given more time to develop she could have become that super-sub, but once again with a roster capped at 20, managers can’t afford to be sentimental.
The Breakers are still over 20 on their roster, so it remains to be seen who among the draft picks will actually get offered a contract and who might be asked to work with the Breakers reserves in hopes of a callup to the full team. Educated guesses point towards Rose Lavelle and Morgan Andrews, drafted at #1 and #3 respectively, to become young but integral midfield pieces, with Midge Purce and Ifeoma Onumonu right behind them. Sammy Jo Prudhomme as a third goalkeeper would have to displace either Libby Stout or Abby Smith, but with Smith having to once again prove herself after a long recovery from knee injury, the ball could be up for grabs. Late draft pick Hayley Dowd could show well during preseason, but may end up in the reserve system.
The Breakers will play their first game away at FC Kansas City on April 16 before returning for their home opener against Sky Blue FC on April 23.