North Carolina Courage Adds Depth to NWSL Championship Winning Team with Four Selections in 2019 NWSL College Draft
CHICAGO - The North Carolina Courage selected four players in the 2019 NWSL College Draft that took place today at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago. Forward, Leah Pruitt, defender Hailey Harbison, and midfielders Lauren Milliet and 2018 NCAA National Champion Kaycie Tillman, were selected to the NC Courage as the fifth, ninth, 14th, and 36th picks respectively.
"It was a good draft," said NC Courage Head Coach Paul Riley. "The three we went in to get, we got, and then Tillman was a huge bonus at the end. Now it is up to them to be ready. They've got to compete, I think this year more than ever with a 26-player roster."
North Carolina's collegiate programs were also well represented as five players with ties to the area were selected to different teams. UNC products Dorian Bailey (Washington Spirit), Julia Ashley (Sky Blue FC) and NCFC Youth standout Alex Kimball (Utah Royals FC), will join Duke's Kayla McCoy (Houston Dash) and Wake Forest University's Bayley Feist (Washington Spirit) as part of the 2019 NWSL rookie class.
Pruitt, a Rancho Cucamonga native, played one year at San Diego State before transferring to the University of Southern California for the remainder of her collegiate career. During her time at USC, she started 41 of 63 games scoring 22 goals and 21 assists earning All-Pacific Region and All Pac-12 first team honors her senior season.
When asked how it felt to be drafted to the NC Courage, Pruitt said, "The feeling is indescribable. I feel so much excitement to be able to come here to play and do what I do."
"I really love Pruitt," Riley continued. "I think she's got Lynn Williams-type speed and ability. She can score goals and is strong as an ox. She's got size, speed, power. That's our profile for most of our attacking players."
Harbison will be joining the NC Courage from Pepperdine University, where she played her freshman season with Courage forward, Lynn Williams who was a senior on the team at that time. Harbison won All-West Region honors each of her four years with the Waves. She started each of the 80 games she appeared in scoring three goals and seven assists during her college career.
Harbison is happy to join a close-knit Courage team. "Everyone on the team seems to be very close and I feel that really helps them win championships," Harbison said.
"Harbison is a kid we really liked right from the start," said Riley. "She played with Lynn Williams. I spoke to Lynn obviously about it too and Lynn was big on her. She has pace, power, size, she's good on the ball too. I really like her. Obviously, she can play full back. I think she can maybe play in the midfield for us too."
Milliet a native of Durango, Colorado played and started 77 games in four seasons at Colorado College, scoring 21 goals and recording 16 assists. An attacking midfielder, Milliet earned United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-West Region Second Team honors her senior season.
"I never thought that it would be me standing on the stage. I am so excited to join such an outstanding program and to be a part of an incredible culture," Milliet said after being selected to the Courage.
"With Lauren in our midfield, she's the same size as our entire midfield," Riley continued. "She's a little one. Crystal's [Dunn] small, Debinha's small, O'Sullivan's small, McCall [Zerboni] is small. Sam Mewis is the only giant we have in the midfield. Everybody else is short, intelligent, crafty, and move around a lot off the ball. I think Lauren Milliet is one of those types of kids who will settle in. She has a tremendous opportunity in there and hopefully she will make the most of it."
Tillman rounds out the NC Courage's 2019 draft class following a stellar career at Florida State University that culminated in the Seminoles' 2018 NCAA Women's College Cup win last December. She started 88 of 93 games played and scored 12 goals while recording 22 assists during her four-year tenure at FSU. Among the many honors, she earned NSCAA All-Southeast Region First Team in 2016 and ACC All-Freshman Team in 2015. The Rowlett, Texas native, also spent time with the United States U-17 and U-20 National Teams.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to join an amazing team," said Tillman. "I want to express my gratitude for the continued support of my family, friends, and now my team. I'm excited to get started with you guys!"
"Tillman was a bonus," Riley said. "We were praying that Tillman would not get taken from the second round onwards after we picked 14th. I like her a lot too. I think she is a good player. She's got good championship culture. She has been with a great program, obviously they were [NCAA] champions this year. She's got some experience too with the national youth teams, so I think it is a good pick late in the draft."
All the draftees are expected to be in North Carolina when preseason begins on March 4, 2019.
"All four of our kids have finished school which means they can begin the preseason which is massive," Riley concluded.
Season tickets for the NC Courage's 2019 season are on sale now and feature many great packages and benefits - including the brand-new Auto-Renewal Program and traditional benefits such as exclusive meet the team opportunities. Click here to learn more about season tickets or call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144 to speak with a ticket representative.
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from January 10, 2019
- Tierna Davidson Selected No. 1 Overall at the 2019 NWSL College Draft - NWSL
- Washington Spirit Makes Four 1st Round Selections, 5 Total Picks in NWSL College Draft - Washington Spirit
- Washington Spirit Announces Three Players Included in Trade with Sky Blue FC - Washington Spirit
- Sky Blue FC Bolsters Roster with Addition of Dydasco, Haracic and Johnson - Sky Blue FC
- Orlando Pride Select Midfield Pair in 2019 NWSL College Draft - Orlando Pride
- Houston Dash Select Six Players in 2019 NWSL College Draft - Houston Dash
- North Carolina Courage Adds Depth to NWSL Championship Winning Team with Four Selections in 2019 NWSL College Draft - North Carolina Courage
- Utah Royals FC Select Three Players in 2019 NWSL Draft - Utah Royals FC
- Thorns FC Select Midfielder Emily Ogle in 2019 NWSL College Draft - Portland Thorns FC
- Sky Blue FC Picks Eight Players in 2019 NWSL College Draft - Sky Blue FC
- Sky Blue FC Receives Three Players in Trade with Washington Spirit - Sky Blue FC
- Washington Spirit Acquires No. 3 Pick in 2019 NWSL College Draft - Washington Spirit
- NWSL Increases Player Compensation Caps and Roster Size for the 2019 Season - NWSL
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