Slaton Named WUSA's Top Defender

Aug. 22, 2002

ATLANTA - Former Santa Clara University women's soccer standout Danielle Slaton was voted the Women's United Soccer Association defensive player of the year by a panel of league coaches, general managers, players and media members.

Slaton, the first pick of this year's draft for the Carolina Courage, helped her team lower its goals-against average from a league-high 1.90 to 1.43, while also scoring four goals.

Both the Washington Freedom and Carolina Courage scheduled to arrive in Atlanta this afternoon for Founders Cup II at Herndon Stadium on Saturday (televised live on PAX at 1 p.m. PT), the WUSA also announced the recipients of the Offensive Player of the Year, Executive of the Year, Team Fair Play and Team Community Service awards.

Slaton saw action in 18 games during her first professional season, scoring four goals while finishing fourth on the Courage in scoring. The 2000 Olympic silver medalist won an NCAAA championship with Santa Clara in 2001 and continued her winning ways in the WUSA with Carolina. Slaton, who has 32 appearances with the U.S. Women's National Team, anchored the Courage defense. With veteran Carla Overbeck out for much of the season with a knee injury, Slaton was called upon to provide leadership in the back despite her youth. Slaton was a key reason Carolina had the WUSA's best away record (6-2-3) in 2002 as the Courage allowed just 1.27 goals on the road, the second lowest in the WUSA.

Prior to joining the Courage, Slaton was a four-time All-American at Santa Clara and a finalist for the MAC Player of the Year award and the Hermann Trophy in 2001. A native of San Jose, she was the youngest member of the 2000 Olympic team and the only squad member with college eligibility remaining.

The Defensive Player of the Year exemplifies an outstanding ability to defend the top attacking players in the WUSA. The player must play a position that is considered to have key defensive responsibilities. Goalkeepers were not eligible.

The Philadelphia Charge's Marinette Pichon was named the league's Offensive Player if the Year while the Boston Breakers' Joe Cummings was named Executive of the Year and his team received the Fair Play and Community Service Awards.

Please visit wusa.com for the complete release.