Sun to shine in Atlanta
Beat chooses Chinese star forward first in WUSA draft
Updated: Tuesday December 12, 2000 12:10 AM
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) -- Chinese star forward Sun Wen was the first selection of the inaugural Women's United Soccer Association draft Sunday.
The Atlanta Beat selected Sun, one of five members of China's national team taken among the first six picks in the first round.
"I'm so excited to have this opportunity to play in the United States," Sun said. "I think I will enjoy my stay with the new players, coaches and new experiences I will have in America. I will work hard to improve my play and give my best performance for the league."
The 27-year-old Sun won both the Golden Ball (top player) and Golden Boot (top scorer) for her performance in the 1999 Women's World Cup. China lost the final in a shootout to the United States.
"Having the opportunity to coach Sun Wen is awesome," said Beat coach Tom Stone. "We have a big responsibility to provide her with an environment as professional and challenging as possible. Were talking about one of the best players ever."
The Philadelphia Charge selected China's Liu Ailing, a midfielder, with the second pick. Fan Yunjie, a defender, was the third selection, by the San Diego Spirit, with goalkeeper Gao Hong selected by the New York Power with the fourth pick.
The fifth player drafted was Norway's Dagny Mellgren by the Boston Breakers. China's Wen Lirong went to the Carolina Tempest at No. 6. The Washington Freedom took Anne Makinen of Notre Dame with the seventh selection, and Thori Bryan became the first American-born player selected, chosen by the Bay Area CyberRays.
The WUSA's founding players from the 1999 U.S. team that won the Women's World Cup previously were allocated to teams. The league will begin play in April 2001 in eight cities.