A world class defender, Whiney Engen is the first piece of the Dash's defense. Allocated to the Houston Dash on January 3, 2014, expect to see her anchoring the defense from the center back position.
A California native, she attended Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, where she played soccer her freshman and sophomore years as a forward and attacking midfielder. She suffered an injury that kept her off of the field her junior year before she decided to concentrate solely on club soccer. She played nine years of club soccer - the last four of which were with Slammer Futbol Club. She was a part of the SFC squads that won back to back state and regional titles in 2004-05.
A top 25 recruit, she decided to attend the University of Carolina after graduating high school. A four year starter, she played 107 games for UNC, notching 19 goals and 27 assists. Initially, she played as a forward before moving back to play as a defender, where she grew even stronger as a player. Starting at center back in 2008, she helped lead UNC to the NCAA National Title. She won numerous individual awards, including multiple Team of the Week honors and ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
She was drafted into the now defunct WPS in 2010 by the Chicago Red Stars as the fourth overall pick. She started 24 games for the Red Stars before signing with the Western New York Flash in 2011. She started 17 of the teams 18 games including the team's championship win over Philadelphia. Engen was named the WPS Defender of the Year and to the 2011 WPS Top XI. At the end of the season she went on loan to Tyreso FF in Sweden where she started in six matches.
WPS suspended the 2012 season and eventually announced that it would be folding leaving Engen to find a new team upon returning from her loan in Sweden. She joined W-League team Pali Blues - a club she had played for in 2009.
She signed with the Liverpool Ladies for the 2013 FA WSL season. The squad went on to win the Women's Super League Championship in September over the Bristol Academy Women. When her contract expired with Liverpool she re-signed with Swedish club Tyreso to help the team with its UEFA Women's Champions League run.
On the international stage, Engen earned her first US Women's National team cap against Norway in March of 2011. She did not play for the team at all in 2012, but returned to the squad in 2013. Engen has 10 caps, her first start coming in a U.S. 3-1 victory over Scotland back in February of last year. She also netted her first goal in the 2013 Algarve Cup against China. She played with both the U-20 and U-23 teams before moving on to the senior squad.
Engen has been called in to the women's national team camp that will be taking place from January 8-15. One year away from the Women's World Cup, she will be looking to strengthen her case to make the squad as Christine Rampone can't play forever.
She will continue to play for Tyreso until their Champions League run is over, but that will only strengthen her field experience. Having played up top in her youth expect her experience to make her a strong starting center back for the Dash.