The Chicago Red Stars have signed defender Whitney Engen, a first-round (4th overall) selection in the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer Draft.
The Red Stars also released two players Friday from their 2010 preseason roster: midfielder Chioma Igwe and forward Becky Ryan, a former Batavia soccer star at Marquette.
The Red Stars rated Egen as the top defender coming out of college.
"Having the opportunity to play with our defensive experience will raise her game to the next level," Red Stars Head Coach Emma Hayes said. "She's very coachable and a great learner. She picks things up quickly. Her overall package is exceptional and she's a great all-around player."
Engen also will have an opportunity to showcase her defensive play at the national team level. On March 8, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage announced Engen as one of 24 players who are participating in a training camp to prepare for two matches against Mexico on March 28 and 31.
Engen was a center defensive back for North Carolina in 2008 and 2009, but she started her collegiate career as a forward for the Tar Heels in 2006 and 2007, posting 57 points (18 goals, 21 assists) during that two-year stretch.
Terms of Engen's contract agreement were not released.
The Red Stars currently have 26 players on their preseason roster and WPS rosters must be trimmed to 24 players on Tuesday. Teams will announce their official 2010 roster (18 players plus four optional development players) on April 1.