U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Lauren Cheney Among Newest Players
Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Wednesday, March 25, 2009) – The Pali Blues Soccer Club bolstered their roster today with the addition of three UCLA products who have logged international games for their respective nations. U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Lauren Cheney, Canadian National Team striker Kara Lang and Mexican National Team forward Iris Mora are set to join the Blues when they embark upon their sophomore campaign as defending champions of the USL W-League this summer.
"It’s time for people to start getting excited," Blues General Manager Jason Lemire exclaimed. "With the world class team that Coach Naimo is once again putting together, we are looking for a packed house on opening day. That’s May 9th, mark your calendars!"
Forward Lauren Cheney will be entering her senior season at UCLA this fall, and she has already enjoyed one of the finest careers in Bruin history. After setting a school freshman record by tallying 19 goals in 2006, she received NSCAA/adidas First Team All-America accolades and was named the Soccer Buzz National Freshman of the Year. She followed that up with a stellar sophomore season, registering 57 points and 23 goals including nine game-winners. The prolific year led to a laundry list of individual honors, including being selected as the Soccer America, Soccer Buzz and Top Drawer National Player of the Year, NSCAA/adidas and Soccer Buzz First Team All-America, Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA All-Tournament Team, Soccer America College MVP Team, as well as being a M.A.C. Hermann Trophy and Honda Award finalist. U.S. Soccer also named her the Young Female Athlete of the Year. This past fall, the 2005-06 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year led UCLA with 31 points on 11 scores and nine assists, but arguably her greatest moment came last summer was she won an Olympic Gold Medal as a member of the U.S. National Team.
"Lauren is the first Olympic Gold Medalist to officially sign with us, and we are hoping her experiences will benefit the entire group,” Blues head coach Charlie Naimo commented. “She has come from great program after great program, and she will compliment a very strong crew of attacking players we have signed thus far. She is one of the best players in the country with her back to the goal, and we hope to utilize that quality."
While only 22-years old, forward Kara Lang is already the fourth all-time leading scorer in Canadian National Team history. The Calgary native established the women’s world record for being the youngest player to notch a full international goal when she nailed a tally at the 2002 Algarve Cup at the age of 15 years, 132 days. In 85 caps for the Canadian Senior National Team, she has already registered 30 knocks and has a total of 42 tallies in international play. She has a pair of goals in two FIFA World Cups and also gained Olympic experience for Canada at the 2008 Summer Games. Heading to UCLA in 2005, Lang was ranked as the #1 college recruit, and in three seasons for the Bruins, she has recorded 76 points on 29 goals and 18 assists. Prior to entering college, she spent three summers playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL W-League.
"Kara will provide us with versatility and athleticism that is second to none,” Naimo remarked. “She also brings Olympic and World Cup experience to the table and at a very young age. Kara will most likely play a variety of roles for us this season."
Forward Iris Mora registered 94 points on 33 goals and 38 assists in four seasons at UCLA. During her career, she received both NSCAA/adidas All-America and All-Pac 10 accolades while knocking in 14 game-winners in four years. She played in all three matches for the Mexican National Team in the 1999 FIFA World Cup, and she also played for Mexico in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup qualifiers. She had a great international run at the 2000 CONCACAF Women’s World Gold Cup, where she hit a pair of knocks against Canada and four strikes against Guatemala.
“Iris is a tricky player that can play as a forward or underneath front players,” Naimo stated. “She has world class experience, and I am confident she will make a huge impact on our team. We are hoping this season will springboard her to WPS in 2010."
The USL W-League played its inaugural season in 1995, and it is recognized as the premiere development league for female players in North America. The Pali Blues Soccer Club was the winner of the 2008 W-League championship in just its first season of play, and the team will open their second season against the Los Angeles Legends at the Stadium by the Sea on Saturday, May 9th, at 6:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased today by calling (310) 264-4649.