Ifeoma Onumonu was the Breakers’ last announced signing before putting out their 2017 roster. The 5’10” forward went #8 overall in the draft and has been putting in quality time in preseason with two goals and one assist over three games.
Now it’s almost time for the regular season to begin. TBM caught up with Onumonu after Boston’s 6-0 defeat of UConn in preseason, where she slotted in top right in the second half. Onumonu looks to be battling with Midge Purce for the starting spot in that position, where they’ll be expected to provide width in conjunction with Natasha Dowie, but also to take their own chances.
“I think especially this game was a lot better,” said Onumonu, comparing the UConn win to previous preseason games. “I think going back to our first game I wasn’t able to get many crosses in. I think [Dowie and I] were able to connect. Our movement was better between both of us.”
Onumonu sounded ready for whatever the season had to offer. “There’s definitely things I expected,” she said. “The speed to be faster, the touches, technicality of the players, I expected that to be better. That met my expectations. Things I didn’t expect – so far I kind of tried to prepare myself. I was a fifth year coming out of college, so I had teammates go in before so they kind of told me things to watch out for or things to expect.”
With NWSL entering its fifth season, perhaps a smoother transition for rookies is to be expected. There are plenty of players, not just from previous leagues like WPS, but now from NWSL, with a few seasons under their belts. “There’s things I need to know,” said Onumonu. “So through watching some of the older players, more experienced players, I was able to pick some of those things up that I was missing in my game. I think I’ve learned a lot from them so far.” That probably includes veteran forward Tiffany Weimer, who broke into the middle of the interview to demand that TBM ask Onumonu “the hard questions.”
Perhaps it wasn’t as hard a question as Weimer would have preferred, but Onumonu did discuss the players she had the hardest time facing in preseason. “I would say Brooke [Elby] has been difficult. Or Christen [Westphal]. My speed is something I try to utilize but when they’re quicker players, when it comes to them, it’s hard to use that as my trump card, you could say. I feel like we all have great players so it’s definitely always challenging at practice.”
Onumonu also has a season goal in mind, what she called her “Goal goal,” or a target for number of goals scored. She refused to share it, though. “I don’t want to say it out loud because I’ll jinx it,” she said.
She did share which teammate she would bring with her to a desert island. “I think I’d have to go with Sammy Jo [Prudhomme]. She’s a rookie like me, she knows how to get to my house better than I do. She’s good with directions. I’d pick Sammy Jo to lead me through… Sammy wouldn’t pick me though because I’d probably whine the entire time.”