Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the addition of Canadian women’s national team defender Shannon Woeller and midfielder Chelsea Stewart, as well as goalkeeper Alyssa Williamson, defender Brienna Shaw, midfielder Taylor Patterson, and striker Penelope Hughes to the club’s 2012 United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League roster – pending Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and USL approval.
Stewart and Woeller both played for Canada during January’s CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament at BC Place and are currently in Residency camp with the national team in Vancouver as they prepare for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. Both players – along with previous women’s national team signings Melanie Booth and Chelsea Buckland – will be available for the season opener in Victoria on Sunday, May 13.
Shaw, Stewart, Williamson, and Woeller are all also graduates of the Whitecaps FC Prospects program (now known as the Girls Elite program), bringing the total number of Prospects graduates added to this year’s W-League roster to 13.
“We’re pleased to add another dynamic group of young players to our roster,” said Jesse Symons, Whitecaps FC women’s head coach. “Shannon and Chelsea are two up and coming players who have been doing really well for Canada, while Alyssa, Brienna, Taylor, and Penelope are all rising through the ranks and doing very well in their college careers. Seeing these players excel as they have is again a great credit to our development program.”
For the past three years, Woeller has also played National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I soccer at Rutgers University. As team captain in 2011, the consistent defender started all 15 of her appearances and was named to the All-BIG EAST Third Team. In total, Woeller has started all 53 of her appearances with the Scarlet Knights, recording two assists.
Internationally, Woeller has become a mainstay with the Canadian women’s national team, starting all five matches for Canada at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament at BC Place in January. In total, Woeller has started 12 of her 16 national team appearances, recording one assist. On the youth side, the Douglas Park product played for Canada’s U-20 national team.
Stewart, 22, enters her third season with Whitecaps FC after last playing for the club during the 2010 W-League season, starting 11 of her 12 appearances to help Vancouver reach the W-League Championship final. In total, the Highlands Ranch, Colorado-born midfielder has started 25 of her 28 appearances for the Blue and White.
This past year, Stewart played her first season at the University of California, Los Angeles, in NCAA Division I, making 20 appearances while scoring two goals and recording five assists. Prior to playing with the Bruins, Stewart played one season at Vanderbilt University, starting all 18 matches while scoring three goals and recording one assist. Her performance with the Commodores saw her named to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) All-Freshman team.
On the international stage, Stewart has earned a regular spot with the Canadian women’s national team. In January, she made two appearances for Canada at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament at BC Place. In 2011, the young midfielder played for Canada at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, making one appearance against France. In total, Stewart has started eight of her 31 appearances. As a youth international, Stewart represented Canada at the U-20 level – winning CSA U-20 Female Player of the Year in 2009 – and U-17 level.
Williamson, 19, comes back to Whitecaps FC after graduating through the club’s U-18 Prospects program. This past year, the Langley, BC, native played her first season of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) soccer at the University of British Columbia. The young goalkeeper started all 12 of her appearances in her freshman season, helping the Thunderbirds to eight wins – all eight of which were shutouts. Her performance saw her named Canada West Rookie of the Year.
Shaw, 22, is back for her third season with Whitecaps FC after last playing with the club during the 2009 W-League season, making two appearances. Another graduate of the Whitecaps FC Prospects Program, Shaw recently completed her third season of CIS soccer at Queens University. This past year Shaw scored a career high four goals. The Vancouver, BC, native has been named an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) First Team All-Star in each of her three seasons, while also winning OUA Rookie of the Year in her freshman season. Additionally, the Kitsilano Secondary School graduate captained Canada at the 2011 Summer Universiade in China.
Patterson, 21, enters her first season with Whitecaps FC in the W-League. For the past three years, the Edmonton, Alberta, native has played NCAA Division I soccer at the University of South Florida – including this past season alongside fellow Whitecaps FC women’s teammate Demi Stokes. In 2011, Patterson started 12 of her 15 appearances, scoring three goals and recording one assist. In total, she has started 49 of her 56 appearances for the Bulls, scoring 10 goals and recording 6 assists.
Internationally, Patterson has appeared for Canada at the U-20, U-17 and U-15 levels, while also having been called up to the senior national team in January 2011 for a training camp in Chongqing, China.
Hughes, 25, comes to Vancouver for her first season with Whitecaps FC in the W-League. From 2004 to 2007, the Courtenay, BC, native played NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Toledo. During her senior season in 2007, Hughes started 19 of her 23 appearances, contributing two goals. In total, the Nanaimo Premier product started 48 of her 70 appearances at Toledo, scoring eight goals and recording five assists.