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#WPIAL alums Crouse, Latsko selected in NWSL draft

There’s more evidence that the talent pool for women’s soccer players in the Pittsburgh region continues to grow – two more former recent standouts that attended WPIAL schools, Frannie Crouse (Greensburg Central Catholic) and Veronica Latsko (Peters Township) were taken in last week’s National Women’s Soccer League draft.
Crouse, who starred at Penn State including leading the Nittany Lions to a National Championship and named to the Women’s College Cup All-Tournament 2015, was drafted 10th overall by the North Carolina Courage, while Latsko went 28th overall to the Houston Dash.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Crouse told Tribune-Review‘s Bill Bechner. “It’s all pretty surreal. From the moment my name was called, it’s been unbelievable.”

Both Crouse and Latsko were products of Beadling Soccer Club.

Crouse will be joining the Courage in mid-February and will have to endure preseason tryouts before she signs a contract.

“It’s always been a dream (to play professionally),” Crouse added. “But sometimes dreams are far-fetched. I am just going to keep working hard and hopefully it pays off in the end.”

Crouse obliterated the state-record with 230 tallies with Greensburg Central, finished her college career at Penn State with an impressive 37 goals and 17 assists. She had 91 points in 92 games. Crouse’s high school record was since surpassed by Bailey Cartwright (who is a freshman at Notre Dame). At Penn State, where she crammed in enough credits to graduate by December, Crouse’s goal total ranks 10th in program history, and she is 12th in points (91).

Adding to her impressive resume, Crouse was invited to U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team camp in Seattle in July.

“Frannie’s combination of speed and skill will certainly propel her in the next level,” Penn State coach Erica Dambach said. “We’re proud of her and excited to see her play with the 2016 NWSL Champions.”

North Carolina won the NWSL title two years ago and was the runner-up last year.

Fellow WPIAL alum Latsko, who played at Peters Township and Virginia, was taken 28th by the Houston Dash — and became the 12th UVA player to be drafted by the NWSL (most by any collegiate program).

Here’s a pretty nice video produced by UVA media relations department featuring Latsko…

In her college career, Latsko lead the Cavaliers to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 in each of her four years with the program –amassing 26 goals in more than 5,300 minutes played. In her senior campaign, she led Virginia in goals with eight, along with four assists.

“Thank you so much to the Houston Dash,” Latsko said in a Virginia press release. “I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity you’ve given me. I never would have been able to come so far without the help and support of all of my family, coaches and teammates from Pittsburgh to Virginia. I can’t thank you all enough. Dash on!”

Crouse’s Penn State teammate, Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.), was selected at No. 31 by the Washington Spirit.

A pair of West Virginia players also were selected. Michaela Abam and Amandine Pierre-Louis were drafted with the No. 4 and No. 6 overall picks by Sky Blue FC.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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