February 10, 2002

CyberRays Coach Sees Danielle Slaton as Best College Player

Feb. 10, 2002

The CyberRays are heading to Monday's WUSA Draft in search of "an immediate impact player," says coach Ian Sawyers.

But he is relieved he was able to negotiate two big off-season trades, because he knows his chances of drafting a player as accomplished as Santa Clara defender Danielle Slaton at the WUSA Draft are pretty slim.

Slaton, a San Jose native and the all-American leader of the NCAA champion Broncos, and Florida forward Abby Wambach are the odds-on favorites to go 1-2 in the four-round draft. The CyberRays, as WUSA champions, won't get to choose until each of their seven league rivals has made a selection.

"Slaton is far and away the best player in the draft," Sawyers says. If Carolina Courage coach Marcia McDermott agrees, Slaton, the only college player on the U.S. Olympic team in Sydney, will begin her professional career on the East Coast.

Since winning the Founders Cup last August, the CyberRays have traded for two national team-caliber players from the Washington Freedom: forward Pretinha from Brazil and defender Michelle French, a Sydney teammate of Slaton's.

"Our selections are really determined by the people in front of us," Sawyers said. "I'm anxious to find out where they're going to go with their picks."

For more on Sawyers' views on the draft as well as a list of Bay Area-connected players in the draft pool, go to sjcyberrays.com.