April 19, 2002
University of Arizona women's soccer player Shannon Monti has signed a contract to play for the Charlotte (N.C.) Lady Eagles of the W-League. She is only the second Wildcat soccer player ever to join the professional ranks.
Monti, a goalkeeper who just completed her eligibility with the Cats, was named Arizona's Most Valuable Player this year after leading the Pac-10 in saves (108) and saves per game (6.0 spg). She finished her time at Arizona in second place on the UA career list in minutes played (4024), second in goals-against average (2.50), third in fewest goals allowed (112), third in saves (253) and tied for seventh in career games started (47). She was also a three-time Academic All-Pac-10 honoree.
Former Wildcat Christine Keeley (1995-96) was the first UA player to go pro, when she signed with the German club, FC Klinge Secack in April of 1997.
The W-League is the "farm" league for the American women's professional league, the WUSA (Women's United Soccer Association), and is classified as an open league, allowing college players to play alongside professionals. The USL (United Soccer League) combined the former W1 and W2 Leagues to create one W-League for the 2002 season. The Charlotte Lady Eagles were the 2001 W2 National Champions and are the women's counterpart of the A-League men's team, the Charlotte Eagles.
The Charlotte Lady Eagles open their 2002 season on Saturday, May 11, at home against the Hampton Roads team at 5:30 p.m. This is the Lady Eagles' third season in the W-League.