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Aaran Lines looking forward to 2011 WPS season for more reasons than one

Two days after the WNY Flash announced they acquired Marta’s contract, Head Coach Aaran Lines talked about the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, how he and his staff compiled a team that features three national team captains, the 2010 WPS Rookie of the Year, some of the best internationals, and a handful of young talent. “I think if you go through our squad, not only have we brought in quality players, right next to their level of ability is their character,” Lines said. “And that’s important to Emma (Hayes), myself, and everyone here. Every player is coming to the club because they want to be here.”

Before acquiring Marta, captain of the Brazilian Women’s National Team, WNY Flash signed/acquired Canadian Women’s National Team captain and forward Christine Sinclair, Swedish Women’s National Team captain and midfielder Caroline Seger, Canadian Women’s National Team defender Candace Chapman, U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Yael Averbuch, and reigning WPS Rookie of the Year, defender Ali Riley.

“Every player that we’ve brought in has been signed because we want them,” Lines said. “They have their own abilities. We like players who are quick and technically sound. It’s exciting. The next step is making sure the chemistry is there.”

The Flash also had the first pick in the 2011 WPS Draft, and they selected U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan, a senior out of California. The list goes on – midfielder McCall Zerboni, keeper Ashlyn Harris, midfielder Whitney Engen, defender Brittany Bock, forward Kandace Wilson, midfielder Beverly Goebel, and defender Kaley Fountain all joined the Flash in the offseason. In addition to Morgan, the Flash also drafted midfielder Elli Reed (Portland), forward Rose Augustin (Notre Dame), and keeper Ashleigh Bowers (Niagra).

“I had a list of players I think fit the style I want to coach. That’s how Emma and I approached it,” Lines said of the draft. “Emma Hayes, myself, and everyone involved worked really, really hard to assemble this squad, and Marta coming in is a wonderful addition,” Lines said. “I think the goal is to create an environment in Western New York where every player’s game will grow this season. Obviously, the younger players are coming into the team with quite a bit of experience, and they’re going to learn. It’s exciting for everyone involved.”

Regarding the Marta acquisition, Lines said the Flash and Marta had been in talks to bring her to Western New York.

“We were aware that Washington wanted her. It was nice to be able to get her here,” said Lines, who also talked about the Marta-for-Abby Wambach trade rumor. “That’s pretty creative,” Lines said of the rumor. “We’ve got a five-time Player of the Year in Western New York. We don’t plan on giving her up.”

Lines said there’s a buzz in Western New York in anticipation of the team’s debut in WPS.

“I played the last couple years in Rochester, and it’s a wonderful soccer city,” he said. “They live and breathe soccer. That’s not something to be taken for granted. People in Buffalo are excited, people in Syracuse are emailing us. You bring in Marta, and it’s just fantastic. We’re eager to get startedd.”

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