"I thought it was a good opportunity for both of us," said Hopton, a defender. "We were excited to come and see what it was all about."
Both players made it through the first combine, in December, and participated in the second combine, which began Thursday and will conclude Friday. About 60 players have participated in the combine, almost 20 more than in last year's tryouts.
"It's nerve-racking having to go try out and not knowing many of the girls and seeing their level, wondering if you can keep up with them," Sanger said.
Sanger, one of 10 goalkeepers participating, said, "it is also exciting, because you have nothing to lose. Why not give it a try?"
By the time the third combine has concluded at the end of February, almost 100 players will have tried out for the Independence.
Independence head coach Paul Riley expects to have 28 players attend the start of preseason March 2 and no more than 24 on the roster by opening day.
"We will end up with four kids out of the combine [plus]the six draft picks, and those 10 will play for the six positions left on the roster," said Riley, who compared the experience to American Idol.
A priority for the Independence this offseason was re-signing free agent forward Tasha Kai, who led the team with nine goals.
The Independence also picked up former national team midfielder, Lori Chalupny, who spent last season as captain of the Atlanta Beat.
Riley's squad lost goalkeeper Val Henderson to free agency. Henderson, who started 19 games the last two seasons, signed with the Atlanta Beat on Jan. 11.
Prominent free agents include forward Amy Rodriguez, who scored five goals for the national team in the opening game of the CONCACAF Olympic Women's Qualifying Tournament against the Dominican Republic, and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, also a member of the national team.
Riley is confident the team will be able to re-sign both players, and also hopes to pick up national team midfielder Lauren Cheney, who played for the Boston Breakers the last two seasons.
Because Barnhart is expected to be away for the majority of the season because of the Olympics, the Independence selected Bianca Henninger, a goalkeeper from Santa Clara, 14th overall in the draft.
"That's the biggest question in our lineup, the goalkeeper situation, and we haven't been able to solve it," Riley said.