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Angel City FC 2022 Player Postmortem: Hope Breslin

Rookie battled for playing time.

Nikita Taparia

Hope Breslin was Angel City FC’s first-ever NWSL College Draft pick, the University of Illinois midfielder making history with the club in 2022. In a league where even draft picks aren’t assured of getting a contract, Breslin earned a deal and seemed to have a good shot of being in the midfield rotation for the Angels in her first season.

She did get some playing time, but not a lot. The New York native was at least passingly familiar with Angel City head coach Freya Coombe, having played for Gotham FC’s U-23 side when Coombe was managing the first team, and that seemed to play a role in getting the shot through the NWSL Draft. But while Breslin played in a decent number of games in 2022 for the Angels, pretty much all of it was in mop-up duty off the bench.

Here are Breslin’s competitive stats with Angel City in 2022:

Hope Breslin Angel City FC 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Challenge Cup 5 0 44 0 0 2 2 0 0
Regular Season 8 0 77 0 0 2 0 1 0
Total 13 0 121 0 0 4 2 1 0

It seemed like Breslin had the inside track to be the first midfielder off the bench at the start of the Challenge Cup, but with Clarisse Le Bihan being signed, that seemed to shorten the rookie’s prospects. On top of that, she competed for sparse playing time with two other rookies, Lily Nabet and Miri Taylor, and they ended up seeing the field more often. With Dani Weatherholt, Cari Roccaro and Savannah McCaskill playing nearly every minute in the season, midfield was the one spot in the outfield where Angel City didn’t have a catastrophic injury crisis, and the youngsters didn’t get much of a look in as a result.

It’s hard to really analyze Breslin’s game based on the limited time, although nothing leaps out as to why she wouldn’t belong at NWSL level. Still, she was very much part of the group on the squad that saw very limited minutes, and for a team that had a short squad to begin with and certainly seemed like they could have used more squad rotation, it seems unfortunate those players were frozen out.

It does seem, however, that Breslin became a particular fan favorite nevertheless. The first name that inspired 100 puns, a girl-next-door public persona, being the club’s historic draft pick, she’s got a lot of fans. I mean, come on, how can you not love this??

It’s unclear what the future holds for Breslin at this point. She could come back and get more action on the field next year, or perhaps she tries her luck elsewhere, in the NWSL or another league. I suppose it depends on how much she and the club see eye to eye regarding her future.

But while I would certainly like to see more of Breslin on the field and get a chance to really see her level in the professional game, 2022 gave us just a glimpse. Time will tell how the initial impression evolves.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.