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UCLA Striker Zakiya Bywaters Selected No. 1 Overall by Chicago Red Stars in NWSL College Draft

January 18, 2013 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) News Release

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 18, 2013) - The Chicago Red Stars used their first overall selection in the inaugural National Women's Soccer League's college draft to select UCLA forward Zakiya Bywaters. The four-round draft is taking place at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

A Las Vegas native, Bywaters made 88 starts in 92 appearances in her four-year college career for the Bruins and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2012.

"I'm very honored to be drafted by Chicago," Bywaters said. "I'm looking forward to helping develop the women's game, and I think this will be a great opportunity to play in the NWSL."

As a senior, the speedy Bywaters led the Pac-12 in goals (15), points (34) and game-winning goals (6). A slick dribbler who proved to be extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations throughout her college career, she helped UCLA compile a record of 18-3-2 while earning a berth into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. She was a 2012 First-Team NSCAA All-American selection and was named to the All-Pacific Region team for the second consecutive season. Her 21 career assists and five career multi-goal games both rank seventh best in school history.

"Zakiya possesses a great combination of technique and pace," Red Stars head coach Rory Dames said. "She has the ability to play multiple positions and we believe she will push hard for future National Team call-ups."

A regular with the U.S. Youth National Teams, Bywaters was a member of the team that won the CONCACAF U-20 Championships in Guatemala in 2010 and played in all four games for the USA at the 2010 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Germany, scoring against Switzerland. She finished her U-20 career with 21 international appearances and three goals. She also played for the U.S. U-17 National Team in 2008.

Bywaters will join U.S. Women's National Team players Shannon Boxx, Amy LePeilbet and Keelin Winters on the Chicago Red Stars roster.

Teams have three minutes to make a selection in the first two rounds and five minutes to make a selection in the final two rounds. After the first round is completed the order will remain the same for the following three rounds, with Chicago selecting first to start each round.

The draft order was determined with assistance from a panel of experts and agreed upon by all eight clubs. The panel ranked the strength of each club based on their allocated players and conducted a weighted draw.

2013 NWSL Draft Selections

First Round

1. Zakiya Bywaters, F, (UCLA) - Chicago Red Stars

2. Tiffany McCarty, F, (Florida State) - Washington Spirit

3. Kristie Mewis, MF, (Boston College) - FC Kansas City

4. Lindsi Lisonsbee-Cutshall, D, (BYU) - Sky Blue FC

5. Casey Short, MF/D, (Florida State) - Boston Breakers

6. Adrianna Franch, GK, (Oklahoma State) - Western New York Flash

7. Christine Nairn, MF, (Penn State) - Seattle Reign FC

8. Kathryn Williamson, D, (Florida) - Portland Thorns FC

Friday's draft is another opportunity for the eight clubs to shape their roster for the league's inaugural season. Last Friday, the league announced the allocation of 55 players from the U.S., Canadian and Mexican National Teams.

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