CHICAGO – The Red Stars signed three rookies to its 20-player roster last month, including midfielder Lauren Kaskie.

Hailing from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Kaskie appeared in 91 matches while earning three goals and two assists. In just her freshman year, she became a NCAA National Champion as the Bruins won their first College Cup in 2013. However, as any professional athlete would tell you, despite your success in college, it’ll still be quite a transition from the college ranks to the professional level.

“Playing at the most elite level requires a player to think quicker and to already have multiple ideas as to where to play next, what foot to play to and even the texture of a ball played,” said Kaskie. “The professionalism from my teammates is definitely higher than the level in college. Leadership roles on and off the field are more refined. I think being able to play at such a distinguished university like UCLA, helped prepare me to elevate my play into the professional game.”

In January, Kaskie became the 39th overall pick in the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. Never thinking it would become a reality, she was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars in the fourth round.

“Hearing my name called at the draft was definitely a surreal moment. A childhood dream became a reality that day,” said Kaskie. “Honestly, I thought I only heard my name in my head.”

After a successful preseason, Kaskie earned a contract with the Red Stars to fight for the third-straight playoff run for Chicago. As a rookie, she knew she had to find her place on the veteran team.

“I knew that coming into a new team and a professional environment I’d have to earn my way just like any other player,” said Kaskie. “I’m grateful to be surrounded by extraordinary teammates that each contribute to the team dynamic in their own unique ways.”

With the other two rookies having been around Chicago before, Kaskie was the only one not accustomed to the Midwest city.

“I love the city’s ambiance – a city that loves their sports with a great downtown aesthetic,” said Kaskie. “The people are passionate and welcoming, the city is inviting and additionally there are many trendy coffee shops that I love exploring.”

Catch Chicago in action on Lifetime’s Game of the Week on Saturday, April 29 at 3 p.m. CT, to take on Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park in Oregon. The Red Stars will play their second Game of the Week match on May 6 at 3 p.m. CT against the Houston Dash. Tickets for May 6 are available here or by calling 773-697-8699.

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