Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that defender Danielle Johnson and striker Mele French (pictured) have been added to the club’s 2012 United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League roster – pending United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and USL approval.
“Danielle and Mele both bring a wealth of experience in WPS and the W-League,” said Jesse Symons, Whitecaps FC women’s head coach. “Danielle will be an excellent player on our back line and Mele is a dynamic striker who has played on several championship teams. The addition of these two players sets a great foundation for this coming season.”
Johnson, 24, comes to Vancouver after most recently playing for Melbourne Victory during the 2011-12 season of Australia’s Westfield W-League, starting all 10 of her appearances. Prior to her time in Australia, Johnson played for Sky Blue FC of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native was originally drafted 35th overall by Sky Blue in the 2010 WPS Draft and went on to start 11 of her 13 appearances from 2010 to 2011. In 2008 and 2009, Johnson suited up for USL W-League club Ottawa Fury, scoring one goal while starting 24 of her 26 appearances.
From 2006 to 2009, Johnson competed for the University of Mississippi in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where she became the first player in school history to earn All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) and All-Region honours in each of her four years, while her 81 career starts rank fourth all-time in Ole Miss program history.
French, 27, recently spent part of 2011 with WPS champions Western New York Flash. In 2010, the Mililani, Hawaii, native played with USL W-League champions Buffalo Flash – the predecessors of Western New York Flash. During the 2010 season, French scored seven goals and registered three assists while starting 10 of her 12 appearances – including the winning assist against Whitecaps FC in the W-League championship final.
Prior to joining the Flash in 2010, French played with SC Freiburg in the second division of the women’s Bundesliga in Germany. In 2009, French was drafted 60th overall by Sky Blue FC in the WPS Draft, making one appearance for the eventual WPS champions. Before playing in WPS, she made 11 appearances for USL W-League expansion side Pali Blues in 2008, scoring two goals and registering two assists to help Pali earn their first W-League championship.
During her collegiate days, French played two seasons of NCAA soccer at the University of Oregon in 2002 and 2003, leading the team in scoring both years while totaling eight goals and three assists over the two seasons.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 Whitecaps Women’s Soccer Series presented by Kia. To purchase tickets, visit whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.
Whitecaps FC play their first home match on May 18 at Langley's MacLeod Athletic Park against Colorado Rush. As in the past two seasons, Whitecaps FC will play their W-League home matches in various communities in British Columbia as part of the Whitecaps Women’s Soccer Series presented by Kia. Find the full Whitecaps FC 2012 W-League schedule HERE.