July 10, 2003
OXFORD, Miss. -
After proving themselves against some of college soccer's best, Ole Miss' Kristal Menard and Lindley Beckman will now be trying their talents against the champions of the professional ranks. The rising junior midfielders have been invited to train with the defending WUSA Champion Carolina Courage next week.
Courage head coach Jay Entlich, who was as an assistant at Ole Miss during the 1998 and 1999 seasons, said it's always exciting to bring in the collegiate players, especially when they come from a familiar program.
"It gives us an opportunity to look at the top college players," Entlich said. "These are the types of players we could possibly be drafting down the road, and here, we can help develop them. They bring great enthusiasm to each session, and they challenge the pro players."
In May, each team from the WUSA, the world's premier women's soccer league, started inviting six amateur players per week to participate in the team's workouts, including functional training and full-squad scrimmages.
Entlich said Carolina has hosted numerous national team players and the standouts from North Carolina and other ACC schools, but Menard and Beckman, a pair of Kentucky natives, are the first from the SEC to work out with the club.
The Rebel duo will practice with the Courage Tuesday through Thursday at SAS Stadium in Cary, N.C.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Kristal and Lindley," said Ole Miss head coach Steve Holeman. "Facing this level of competition can only improve their games and give them an edge going into the fall."
Menard earned first team All-SEC and All-Region honors in 2002. She recorded a goal and an assist in the Rebels' first road victory at Alabama, and also netted the game-winner against Mississippi State. Menard totaled a team-high six assists and finished second in total points in league games.
Beckman has started all but one game of her Ole Miss career. She boasts six career goals including an overtime game-winner vs. Arkansas in 2001, when she tied for second on the team in goals. Her five career assists ranks third among active Rebels.