January 21, 2013 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Chicago Red Stars
CHICAGO (Jan. 21, 2013) - The first ever National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) college draft took place on Friday morning from the Indianapolis Convention Center and the Red Stars were center stage with the #1 pick. In need of some attacking prowess after the previous week's national team allocations, the Red Stars selected 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year, UCLA's Zakiya Bywaters. Small in stature at 5'1", the midfielder/forward used her speed and technical skill to score 15 goals during her senior season and looks to bring that craftiness as an integral part of the Red Stars attack this season.
"My dreams came true today," stated Bywaters, who was present in Indianapolis during the draft proceedings. "I'm just very humbled and excited. I'm very grateful that the Red Stars have chosen me to be on their team."
Chicago Head Coach Rory Dames wanted to add a creative, attacking player to the current allocated Red Stars player pool and found that in Bywaters.
"On the field she possesses a great combination of technique and pace. She has the ability to play multiple positions and we believe will push hard to be on the 2015 USWNT WC roster. Off the field she is a great kid with an incredible attitude and we believe she will represent the Red Stars organization with great pride."
The Red Stars also had the first pick in each of the subsequent 3 rounds. With the #9 overall pick, the Red Stars selected Lake Forest-native Rachel Quon from Stanford. The attack-minded outside defender will help round out a Red Stars defense that already includes two Canadian national team members, goalkeeper Erin McLeod and center back Carmelina Moscato. Quon had multiple trips to the College Cup during her very successful career at Stanford, including a national championship in 2011.
The overall #17 pick by the Red Stars was goalkeeper Taylor Vancil from Florida State, a South Elgin, Illinois, native who is a familiar face for the Red Stars having played on their 2011 WPSL team. With their final pick and #25 overall the Red Stars drafted Jen Hoy, a high-scoring forward from Princeton who notched 18 goals in 2012 en-route to Ivy League Player of the Year honors.
Along with these 4 draft selections, the Red Stars were also allocated 7 national team players on January 11. The three named from the USWNT were midfielder Shannon Boxx, defender Amy LePeilbet, and midfielder Keelin Winters. Allocated from Canada were goalkeeper Erin McLeod and defender Carmelina Moscato. And allocated from Mexico were forward Maribel Dominguez and midfielder Dinora Garza.
The Chicago Red Stars were selected as one of 8 teams to compete in the new NWSL (National Women's Soccer League) that was formed and organized by the U.S. Soccer Federation, beginning play in April 2013. The other teams include Boston Breakers, Washington Spirit (DC), FC Kansas City, Sky Blue FC (NJ), Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, and Western NY Flash. The Red Stars were league finalists in WPSL in 2011 and in WPSL Elite in 2012, and National Cup Champions in 2012.