Portland Thorns FC acquired midfielder Meleana Shim from the Houston Dash and goalkeeper Michelle Betos from the Boston Breakers in separate trades, and selected defender Emily Menges from Georgetown University and forward Elisabeth Sullivan from Mississippi State University during the 2014 National Women's Soccer League College Draft.
Thorns FC acquired Shim from Houston in exchange for the 11th overall pick in the draft and midfielder Nikki Washington. Portland then acquired Betos from Boston in exchange for the 34th overall selection in today's draft.
Menges was selected with the 24th overall pick in the third round. Thorns FC traded forward Tiffany Weimer to the Washington Spirit in exchange for the 31st overall selection, and selected Sullivan with their second, and final, pick of the draft.
Shim, 22, returns to Portland after being selected by Houston with the fourth pick in the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft on Jan. 10. A rookie with Thorns FC during the inaugural 2013 NWSL season, the Hawaii native registered five goals and two assists in 19 appearances (17 starts) while being named Portland's 2013 Newcomer of the Year. Shim set a team record by scoring a goal in four consecutive matches from July 14-31, including the game-tying strike in a 1-1 draw against Western New York on July 14 at JELD-WEN Field and the game-winning goal on July 21 in a 2-1 win at Boston. She was originally signed by Portland on April 5, 2013.
"I don't think you could've got a college player at No. 11 that would've been anywhere near the level that Shim is," said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley. "We're really excited to have her back and I'm excited to put her in a training environment where hopefully she can really improve."
Betos, 25, appeared in seven games (all starts) and compiled 34 saves for Seattle Reign FC during the 2013 NWSL season, manning the net while U.S. international goalkeeper Hope Solo recovered from wrist surgery. The Flushing, N.Y., native was loaned to Cyprus club Apollon Limassol LFC in September and started two matches for the team in the Round of 32 at the 2013-14 UEFA Women's Champions League tournament. Apollon lost 3-2 on aggregate to Austrian club Neulengbach. In November, Betos was traded by Seattle to the Boston Breakers with midfielder Kristie Mewis in exchange for forward Sydney Leroux and two draft picks.
"She's a really good goalkeeper – good presence, good feet, great shot blocker and I think she brings a lot to the locker room too, she's a great young lady," Riley said. "I'm excited to have her. It's a great pickup for us."
Menges, 21, concluded her career at Georgetown University as one of the most decorated players in program history earning NSCAA First Team All-American honors as a senior in 2013. The Garden City, N.Y., native was a three-time All-BIG EAST selection and helped captain the Hoyas' defense to 23 shutouts over her final two seasons, including a school-record 13 clean sheets as a junior in 2012. Over the course of her four-year career, Menges appeared in 84 games (83 starts), scored two goals and helped the Georgetown defense post 40 shutouts. A MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist in 2012 and 2013, Menges was recently called into camp with the U.S. U-23 Women's National Team from Dec. 14-21, 2013.
Sullivan, 22, rewrote the record books at Mississippi State University, finishing her four-year career as the program's all-time leader in goals (39) and points (92) – setting a Bulldogs' single-season record with 16 goals as a senior. As a junior in 2012, the Memphis, Tenn., native became the first MSU women's soccer player to earn all-conference honors since 2003. Sullivan earned All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) honors in her junior and senior seasons.
"Emily was an anchor for Georgetown and she's tremendously athletic. I felt that we needed another athlete in the back," said Riley. "It'll be nice to have Rachel Buehler be able to take her under her wing, and (be around) Nikki Marshall when you're talking about experienced pros. Sullivan was the wild card, we hoped that we could get her and that's why we made the trade. She's very quick, very explosive, she's got two good feet and she's great around the net."
Washington, 25, tallied one goal and two assists in 11 games (10 starts) during the inaugural NWSL season, but missed the final month of the season after being placed on the disabled list. Weimer, 30, joined Thorns FC in June and recorded one goal and one assist in 10 regular-season games.
Release from Portland Thorns