June 18, 2002
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Spirit have acquired defender Anna Kraus in a trade with the Atlanta Beat for a second-round choice in next year's WUSA Draft. The 5-foot-4 Kraus was the Beat's first-round pick (7th overall) in the 2002 WUSA Draft. She played a major role in helping Santa Clara University win the 2001 NCAA Championship, starting in the middle of the central defense with the WUSA's #1 draft choice, Danielle Slaton.
A fast and skillful defender, as well as very strong in the air, Kraus is a veteran of the U.S. Under-21 National Team and was a starter on the last two Nordic Cup championship teams. She also has six caps with the full U.S. Women's National Team, facing Italy (twice), Canada, Portugal, Sweden and Norway, the latter four matches at the 2001 Algarve Cup in Portugal. "Anna is an excellent soccer player and a great person who will fit in well with the team," said head coach Kevin Crow. "Her speed and quickness will not only help us immediately, but also will benefit the club in the years to come."
Kraus played 89 matches for the Broncos over her four-year career, starting 83, and capped it with an emotional win over the University of North Carolina in the 2001 NCAA title game, combining with Slaton and the defense to shutout the Heels, 1-0. Kraus will join the Spirit for training this week and be available for the match this Sunday, June 23, against the Philadelphia Charge at Torero Stadium. "I'm very excited. I'm a California native so the move is exciting for my family and friends," said Kraus. "This is the life I've chosen to lead as a professional soccer player and getting traded is part of that life. You have to embrace it and do your best in whatever situation you find yourself in. I just want to come in and help the Spirit in any way I can to win games."
Kraus, who hails from Mountain View, Calif., played club soccer with Central Valley Mercury of San Jose, Calif., one of the finest youth teams in the history of girl's soccer. She teamed with Slaton and current Santa Clara and U.S. National Team player Aly Wagner to lead the Mercury to an unprecedented three consecutive national championships in 1996, '97 and '98. The Mercury finished with an 82-0-2 record in those three seasons and overall, captured six state titles, five regional championships and three national crowns.
The Spirit waived goalkeeper Shelley Finger to make room on the 18-player roster. If she clears waivers, she will be re-signed to the Spirit's reserve team.