CHICAGO  – It was announced today Chicago Red Stars defender Julie Johnston was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Rookie of the Year for the 2014 NWSL season.

Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai was second in the voting and Washington Spirit defender Crystal Dunn finished third.

Johnston, 22, was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NWSL Draft and scored two goals to go along with two assists in 21 games during her rookie campaign with the Red Stars.

The Mesa, Ariz. native was instrumental in helping Chicago to the league’s second-ranked defense, which allowed just 26 goals in 24 games this season for a 1.08 goals against average. The Red Stars allowed more than one goal in just four of Johnston’s 21 appearances.

“It is a well deserved honor for Julie to receive,” said Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. “I told her on her first day of training that the back line was hers to lead, and she did that and more for us.”

The Santa Clara University product scored her first goal 59 minutes into her professional debut April 19 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. to lead Chicago to a 1-0 opening-day victory over the Western New York Flash.

Johnston, who captained the under-20 U.S. Women’s National Team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, had 19 shots (7 on goal) while playing 1,890 minutes during her first season in the NWSL and played a key role in the Red Stars’ five-game winning streak May 11 – 28.

The NWSL awards are voted on by a selection of journalists that cover the league on a consistent basis, team officials and NWSL players.

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