Among the players Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames brought into his preseason camp, one got his attention just before the new year – Summer Green.
In November 2016, Green’s soccer career was put on hold due to tearing her ACL in the second round of the NCAA tournament; Green’s final collegiate performance. She received surgery soon after, nearly a month before the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft.
“Once I got my surgery my first thought was now it’s out of the way and time to rehab,” said Green. “I had entered the draft just to put my name in so that really wasn’t on my mind. As I started rehab I was lucky enough to still be at school with great facilities and more than accommodating staff, family, and friends. The rehab was hard mentally and physically but you do what you have to do.”
Luckily, Green was drafted 30th overall to the Reign in the draft after a stellar performance at the University of North Carolina, where she earned 25 goals and 23 assists in 82 matches for the Tar Heels. Just a month out of surgery, Green was still shocked.
“I was actually in our treatment facility doing rehab so I didn’t even know until I got a bunch of phone calls and texts and my teammates came in screaming at me,” said Green. “I felt beyond grateful. Not that getting healthy wasn’t enough motivation for me, knowing that I could possibly play professional soccer or get the opportunity to gave me even more motivation. Training almost every day and getting back into it was probably the easiest part. Fitness obviously is challenging but being able to do all that again, there really aren’t many better feelings than that.”
On December 16, 2016, Chicago acquired the 22-year-old from Seattle. From North Carolina to Washington, the Michigan native is excited to be coming back in the Midwest, where her family lives about a four-hour drive away from Toyota Park.
“When I found out they acquired me I was just beyond excited to be anywhere really but especially to a team that has such success and seasoned players,” said Green. “It was pretty intimidating but even more exciting to find out I was getting an opportunity to play with such great players.”
Green saw her first taste of her professional career when she was subbed in the 60th minute of the first preseason match for Chicago against the Portland Thorns. After getting her feet wet in the first match, Green became clearly more comfortable in the second preseason game when she led Chicago with a game-winning assist to captain Christen Press.
“It has been great to be a part of this team the first two preseason matches,” said Green. “Competing in this environment with these great teammates makes me want to improve. I think I have done okay for the first two games back personally but there are always things that I can do better. We can be even more dangerous with the amount of talent and gritty players on the field and bench.”
The Red Stars return for their final preseason match against the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team on Saturday, April 1, at 7 p.m. CT in Portland.
Tickets for the home opener against FC Kansas City are currently on sale here or by calling the Red Stars ticket office at 773-697-8699.