CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – While there is a lot of disappointment over the US women’s team falling short in their quest for the World Cup, the Philadelphia Independence women’s soccer team is disappointing no one these days, as they sit alone atop the standings of WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer).

One reason for their success is the play of a rookie local product.

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Havertown native Sinead Farrelly was the #2 overall pick in this year’s WPS draft, taken by the Independence.  The midfielder has played in 12 of 13 games for Philadelphia in this her first season, making 11 starts.

The former star at the University of Virginia says she felt good transitioning to the pro game.

“I definitely feel like I was prepared, going to the University of Virginia, playing in the ACC and stuff.  But it’s definitely a complete whole (different) level.  I feel like it’s taken me a couple of games to get into it. (Head coach) Paul (Riley) has been wanting me to go for it and take more initiative and play with more confidence.  And I feel like now maybe I’m starting to do that,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Listen to Matt Leon’s full interview with Sinead Farrelly in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Farrelly netted a single assist in her first ten games, but in her last two she has scored her first professional goal (a game winner in a 2-1 win over Western New York) and added a second assist, so it would appear that the talented Haverford High product is rounding into form.

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Of course, when you are a high draft pick in any sport, there is pressure to perform.  But does playing so close to home add any extra pressure for Farrelly?

“Maybe there is, but I try not to put any on myself,” she says.  “I play better when I have fun and I’m just relaxed and laid back.”

Regardless of how close to home she plays, Farrelly says soccer has been a lifelong passion for her.

“I started when I was five, and I honestly think I loved it from the second I started playing.  My U-8 team, my Havertown team, we were all best friends and we were so close.  We almost never goofed off, because we loved soccer so much and I feel like that kind of did it because I just realized how much I loved being on a team and the team sport.  That’s really what it is for me — the team aspect.  Just from the start, I’ve kind of loved it.”

Farrelly’s team is excelling this season.  The Independence sit with 27 points (8-2-3 record).  They are four points ahead of second place Western New York.

The Independence are enjoying a six-game winning streak they extended with a 1-0 win over Atlanta on Saturday.  Next up is a visit to Sky Blue FC this Saturday, July 23rd.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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