FLORENCE – Former Francis Marion University women’s soccer player Angela Salem has earned a spot in the preseason training camp of Sky Blue FC, the franchise that won the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) championship.
Salem patrolled the midfield for Francis Marion each of the past four seasons. She appeared in 59 career matches scoring 11 goals and assisting on 27 scores. As a freshman, she tied the school’s single-season record for assists with 11. The Copley, Ohio, native was named the Patriots’ most valuable player as a sophomore and a junior. The 2009 MVP will be announced at the school’s athletic banquet in April.
Following FMU’s 2009 fall season, Salem attended several tryout camps with professional organizations. She also finished the fall semester with a perfect 4.00 grade point average.
Salem earned an invitation to the Sky Blue camp and made it through several cuts. She recently traveled with the team from the Bob Smith Soccer Academy in Robbinsville, N.J., to Florida for a two-week preseason training camp.
While in Florida, Sky Blue will play three exhibitions matches. Upon returning to New Jersey, the team will play three more exhibition matches before opening its regular season schedule on April 11 against the Chicago Red Stars.
When asked about her experiences, Salem said, “This odyssey has been amazing because I have met so many awesome people. This includes people and players from different countries and from different national teams, and I have heard everyone's background stories.
“This experience means a lot to me because, other than myself, there is only one player here that comes from a small school. I am honored to even be here and be on the same field as these players, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to learn from them and to have made it through the tryout process this far."
Second-year FMU head coach Joel Person added, “We are extremely proud of what Angela has been able to accomplish! She has worked very hard to prepare for this opportunity and it is always great to see hard work pay off.
“The WPS is widely considered to be the best professional league in the world and it is really amazing that Angela has been able to make it as far as she has already. She is playing with and against some of the best players in the world, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
"The women's soccer program and the whole athletic department are extremely proud to have Francis Marion University among the universities (UNC, UCLA, UConn, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers) and national teams represented on Sky Blue FC. It is my hope that in the future we can continue to help players achieve their goals, both on the field and in the classroom."
The WPS consists of eight franchises across the country. Each team will play a 24-game schedule from April 10-September 12.
A psychology major, Salem was named to the FMU Swamp Fox Athletic-Academic Honor Roll each of her four years, and she has been selected to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll three times (with the 2010 list to come out this summer).
She is a graduate of Copley High School, where she was an All-State and All-Conference performer, scoring 81 goals with 46 assists.