Whitecaps FC add NCAA standouts to 2011 W-League roster

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the return of midfielder Ranee Premj, as well as strikers Julie Armstrong and Jenna Richardson. Whitecaps FC also announced the acquisition of midfielder Amber Brooks – pending United States Soccer Federation approval.

“We’re very excited to have these young players on our squad this year,” said Hubert Busby Jr., Whitecaps FC women’s team head coach. “Having players come through the Whitecaps FC Prospects team is a testament to the program. Julie and Jenna have worked hard to get to this point and continue to improve. We’re also pleased to bring back Ranee and add Amber. Both players bring a winning mentality from their success at North Carolina.”

Premji, 19, returns for her second season with the Whitecaps FC W-League side after starting three of her five W-League appearances for a total of 289 minutes of action last season. For the past two years, the native of Calgary, Alberta, has also played National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I soccer at the University of North Carolina having helped the Tar Heels win their 20th NCAA national championship during her freshman season in 2009. Last season, the 5-foot-2 midfielder made 24 appearances, scored one goal and added three assists. During her two NCAA seasons, Premji has started 23 of her 38 appearances for nine career points. Internationally, Premji has been called up to the Canadian U-17 and U-20 national team squads.

Armstrong, 21, returns for her fourth season with Whitecaps FC after starting five of her seven W-League appearances last season for a total of 379 total minutes of action while recording one assist.  A graduate of the Whitecaps FC Prospects program, Armstrong has started 13 of her 19 appearances in her W-League career, scoring two goals and one assist. For the past two years, the 5-foot-10 striker/midfielder has also played NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Oregon, starting 19 of her 34 appearances, scoring three goals and recording seven assists for a total 13 points. Internationally, Armstrong started eight of her 13 appearances for the Canadian U-20 women’s national team, while scoring two goals. For the senior Canadian women’s national team, she has started five of her six appearances and added one goal.

Richardson, 18, also returns for her second season with Whitecaps FC in the W-League after graduating from the Whitecaps FC Prospects program. This past year, Richardson played her first season of NCAA Division I soccer at Oregon State University, starting 11 of her 19 appearances. The native of White Rock, BC, finished second on the team with nine goals and five assists, while tying for the team lead with four game-winning goals and 23 total points. Her performance during the season saw her named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and earn Soccer America All-Freshman First Team honours. Internationally, the 5-foot-7 striker/midfielder has four caps and one goal for the Canadian U-20 women’s national team.

Brooks, 20, has teamed up with Premji at the University of North Carolina for the past two seasons. Last season, the 5-foot-6 midfielder started all 24 of her appearances, scoring seven goals and recording two assists for a total of 16 points. In her freshman season in 2009, the native of New Hope, Pennsylvania, started 15 of her 27 appearances, recording three assists as the Tar Heels won the NCAA championship. In 2007, Brooks played in the W-League for New Jersey Wildcats, starting one of her five appearances for 138 total minutes of action. Internationally, Brooks has played for the United States U-17 and U-20 national teams. In 2008, she played every minute of her five appearances in her country’s silver medal performance at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, wearing the captain’s armband for two matches, including the final against North Korea. Brooks also started all four matches in the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and is currently a member of the U.S. U-23 national team.

In 2011, defending W-League Western Conference champions Whitecaps FC will play their regular season home schedule at seven different home venues throughout the province of British Columbia, as part of the Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series presented by Kia - in partnership with the Girls Metro Soccer League (GMSL).

Whitecaps FC will kick off their 2011 home schedule on Sunday, May 22, at 4 p.m. PT, when they battle Seattle Sounders at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, BC- hosted by Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club. Five days later, the 'Caps will host Colorado Rush at Chilliwack's Exhibition Stadium at 7:00 p.m. PT – hosted by Chiliwack FC.   Additional home venues include Surrey's Newton Athletic Park Field on Friday, June 10; Whistler's Myrtle Philip Field on Friday, June 24; Richmond's Minoru Arena on Canada Day (Friday, July 1); and Penticton's Kings Park Field on Friday, July 8. The team concludes the regular season at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park Field on Friday, July 15.

Whitecaps FC begin the 2011 season on the road against W-League expansion outfit Victoria Highlanders FC at Bear Mountain Stadium in Langford, BC, on Sunday, May 15, at 4 p.m. PT.

Ticket information for the 2011 Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series will be announced in the coming days.Special ticket prices and benefits for groups, teams, and families are available by contacting Hugh Hamilton at 778.330.1360 or hhamilton@whitecapsfc.com

Whitecaps FC women’s youth programs are made possible by the support of the Whitecaps Foundation. For information on the Whitecaps Foundation and how to become a donor, visit whitecapsfoundation.org.

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