Three Southern California Players Heading to Orlando
Soccer News: The Orlando Pride selected versatile defender Samantha Witteman from the University of California, Berkley (10th overall), California State University, Fullerton midfielder Christina Burkenroad (15th overall) and Santa Clara midfielder Dani Weatherholt (31st overall) in today’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. Per Club and league rules, additional details were not disclosed. “We were really delighted with the picks that we made in today’s College Draft,” said Head Coach Tom Sermanni. “We didn’t think that we’d get three players of that quality when we had the 10th, 15th and 31st picks, so I think we got the types of players that we want and the quality of players that we want.”
Witteman joins Orlando Pride after a highly-successful season with the University of California, Berkley after being awarded First Team All-Pac 12 and NSCAA All-American honors, becoming the 14th All-American in the program’s history. During her senior campaign, Witteman displayed her versatility by making at least one start in seven different positions in 21 matches for California this past season. As a result, she earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous outside backs in the conference, scoring four goals with all four of them being game-winners. In addition, Witteman anchored one of the top defenses in the Pac-12. In her junior season, Witteman led the team in assists with eight during the team’s 2014 campaign, earning honors such as Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention and TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week (11/18/2014). Chris Lemay, Witteman’s Assistant Head Coach at UC Berkeley said, “I couldn’t be more excited for Sam! She is the most dynamic player that I have had the privilege to work with. She beats players 1v1 off the dribble as good as anyone and has a bright professional career ahead of her. Orlando City has just drafted a special player, athlete and woman.” Orlando’s second round selection, Burkenroad, entered the 2015 campaign with five career game-winning goals, tied for sixth in program history. During her senior season, the winger built upon her previous campaigns to produce a stellar final year, scoring 11 goals and recording 11 assists in 21 starts for California State Fullerton. As a result, she was named to the NSCAA All-West Region First Team for the first time in her career. In 2014, she was named to the NSCAA All-Region Second Team and the 2014 Big West Conference First Team while also earning Big West Conference Tournament MVP honors and Big West Offensive Player of the Week accolades (11/03/2014), following a six-goal, four assist season. Orlando Pride’s final pick of the day, Weatherholt, was named to the Third Team All-West Region, First Team All-WCC, NSCAA Scholar Second Team All-West Region and WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention in 2015. She also started all 22 matches for Santa Clara in her senior season, recording three goals and two assists. As a junior in 2014, Weatherholt’s accolades included All-WCC Honorable Mention, WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention, after a successful season in which she started all 20 games. Name: Samantha Witteman Height: 5’3” Birthplace: Redondo Beach, California Citizenship: United States of America Twitter: @swittyyy Name: Christina Burkenroad Height: 5’10” Birthplace: San Diego, California Citizenship: United States of America Twitter: @cburky4 Name: Dani Weatherholt Height: 5’8” Birthplace: Capistrano, California Citizenship: United States of America Twitter: @daniweatherholt
Correction: January 17, 2016
An earlier version of this article misidentified Chris Lemay as the Head Coach of Women’s Soccer at University of California Berkeley. The Head Coach is Neil McGuire and Chris Lemay is the Associate Head Coach.