FC Gold Pride lose Robinson to Atlanta

New WPS teams, Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence made the first of many moves to fill their rosters in Tuesday’s first-ever WPS Expansion Draft.

The first round of the draft, which included a total of seven picks, took less than 20 minutes to complete. FC Gold Pride was the first to see one of their players taken as the Atlanta Beat selected Pride defender, Leigh Ann Robinson with the first pick of the Expansion Draft.

Robinson, 23, was originally drafted by the Pride in the sixth round (40th overall) in the WPS Draft in January of 2008. The versatile defender was described by Montoya as one of the most ¿athletic’ players on the team. She appeared in 18 games for the Pride, totaling 1,339 minutes of action on the field. She scored her first career goal, a game-winner, against Sky Blue FC on May 3.

Both the Beat and Independence had the opportunity to select up to nine players in the draft however, prior to the completion of the second round, both Atlanta and Philadelphia took a pass when offered to make the 14th selection, bringing about an early end to the draft.

Thirteen overall selections were made in two rounds, six for Atlanta and seven for Philadelphia. With the exception of the Pride, all existing WPS teams had two players selected in the draft.

“I think both teams have laid a strong base to be very competitive in the league next year with the selections they made in today’s Expansion Draft,” said FC Gold Pride Head Coach Albertin Montoya.

“We are disappointed to see Leigh Ann move on but, we know she can contribute a lot to the quality of play in the league no matter where she plays. We wish her the best of luck with Atlanta and look forward to a competitive and exciting 2010 season.”

With the Expansion Draft now completed and in the books, the Pride will turn its attention toward solidifying its roster for 2010. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 16 teams can begin to resign players with options in their contracts as well as pursue potential trades between all existing and expansion teams.