Over the last two seasons, the Atlanta Beat’s roster has shifted drastically with re-signings a rarity.
However, Lauren Sesselmann is the one constant for the Beat. She joined the Beat as a developmental player in Atlanta’s inaugural season, and has been a member of the Beat since. On Saturday, she and goalkeeper Allison Lipsher re-signed with Atlanta.
“I think that Atlanta is a great city, and has provided many outside opportunities outside of soccer,” Sesselmann said. “That’s the reason I wanted to stay there, too. From the soccer camps around there, I’ve really built up relationships with a lot of people.
“You never know what to expect going into a season. The last couple of seasons have been rough, but we have an amazing coach and owner that really believes in this team. I think with that going into the season, it’s going to be a completely different mentality. I think the new players will love him. I love playing for him.”
Since her time developing in Women’s Professional Soccer, she has steadily earned more playing time, and has improved to the point where the Canadian National team has called her services. Although Sesselmann was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, she acquired Canadian citizenship through her father.
During the offseason, Sesselmann started her first international match in a friendly against the United States, then started four of five matches in the Canadians’ gold medal run at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to play with Canada,” she said. “It’s really helped me become a better soccer player, become more confident in myself. Playing with these players that are unreal has really helped me step my game up.
“I’m looking to bring that to the Beat. I think I’ve learned a lot more and know what it takes more.”
Initially, she was brought in to play forward and midfielder, but has adapted to coach James Galanis’ system, which requires versatility, and has become one of the better defensive options in WPS.
“She’s versatile, and just gives admirable effort every day,” Galanis said. “Once she walks out onto the field, she really rolls her sleeves up and gives 110 percent no matter what. She’s an example of a player. She’s got the physical part, too. She’s very aggressive, fearless and not afraid to throw her body around.
“It’s just great to have some more players back from last year. They know the system and they know the training methods and have been around once, so they will be able to help out the new players that come on board.”
With regards to goalkeeper, Galanis said that the team “will be announcing the signing of another goalkeeper in the next couple of weeks.” When asked if he will use the WPS draft to take another goalkeeper, Galanis said, “We’re messing with it behind the scenes. We’ve still got a lot of signings to announce. We’re not done yet. There’s still a lot of good players that we’ll be announcing in the future, and we’re waiting on a couple of key ones (today) and Tuesday, and that’s going to determine how we handle the draft on Friday.”
Last season, Lipsher started seven matches, as she battled for playing time with Allison Whitworth. She stopped 44 shots and allowed 16 goals for a 2.29 goals against average to earn a 1-5-1 record. Lipsher was named WPS Player of the Week in consecutive weeks last season, and became the first player in WPS to do so