Jan. 15, 2010
PHILADELPHIA – Notre Dame senior forward/tri-captain Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) was chosen in the fourth round of the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft, which was held Friday in Philadelphia in conjunction with the annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) convention. Weissenhofer was the fourth selection in the fourth round (33rd overall pick) by the Chicago Red Stars, who play their home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., just a half-hour east of Weissenhofer’s hometown of Naperville.
Weissenhofer is the seventh Notre Dame women’s soccer player to be selected in the WPS Draft in its two-year history, following a contingent of six Fighting Irish players that were chosen in 2009. Four other Notre Dame alums joined WPS clubs during various allocation processes, including two-time Olympic gold medalist Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (’98), who was assigned to the Chicago Red Stars via a dispersal of U.S. National Team players, but will make her league debut this summer after missing the 2009 campaign while on maternity leave.
Weissenhofer battled injuries throughout portions of her Notre Dame career, but still played in 90 matches, starting 63 times. She amassed 88 points with the Fighting Irish, scoring 30 goals and dishing out 28 assists, highlighted by a freshman season thay saw her pile up 18 goals and 17 assists (53 points). The 2006 Soccer America National Freshman of the Year, Weissenhofer ranks just outside the top 20 in school history for career points and she is one of 25 Notre Dame with at least 20 goals and 20 assists in their careers, including seven helpers directly off her powerful and unique flip throw-in.
However, it was the postseason where Weissenhofer did her best work, collecting 29 points on 12 goals (seven of those being game-winners) and five assists, including nine goals (four game-winners) and two assists (20 points) in NCAA Championship play. She holds the program record for game-winning goals and points in one postseason (4 goals, 9 points in 2006), while her nine career goals in NCAA postseason play are fourth-best in Notre Dame history. The highlight of her NCAA tourney success came in the 2006 quarterfinals against eighth-ranked Penn State, when she potted a natural hat trick in a little more than 12 minutes to help the Fighting Irish advance to the NCAA College Cup.
For her career, Weissenhofer helped Notre Dame to a 91-11-4 (.877) record, including three BIG EAST Conference titles and four consecutive trips to the NCAA College Cup, with appearances in the 2006 and 2008 national championship matches. Weissenhofer and the Fighting Irish Class of 2009 became only the second senior group in program history to reach four consecutive NCAA College Cups, equaling the feat set by the Class of 1997.
Notre Dame alums played a major role in the inaugural season of WPS in 2009, with four Fighting Irish grads participating in the league championship game. Jen Buczkowski (’07) and Kerri Hanks (’08) wound up leading New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC to a 1-0 victory over the WPS regular-season champion Los Angeles Sol — led by Shannon Boxx (’99) and Brittany Bock (’09) — at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Notre Dame posted a 21-4-1 record in 2009, going unbeaten in 19 consecutive matches en route to a berth in the NCAA College Cup, where the Fighting Irish dropped a 1-0 decision to eventual national champion North Carolina. Notre Dame is expected to have nine of its 11 starters returning next season, including several national and regional award winner such as forwards Melissa Henderson and Lauren Fowlkes, midfielders Rose Augustin and Courtney Barg, defender Jessica Schuveiller and goalkeeper Nikki Weiss. The Fighting Irish also anticipate bringing back at least 21 players who suited up in 2009, accounting for 88 percent of the team’s goalscoring (51 of 58) and point scoring (144 of 162) output.
— ND —