The Chicago Red Stars selected midfielder and U.S. Women’s National Team pool player Julie Johnston from Santa Clara University, midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo from the University of Illinois, and forward Hayley Brock from the University of Maryland in the 2014 NWSL draft today held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
Chicago selected Johnston and DiBernardo with the 3rd and 4th overall picks. Brock was selected with the 22nd overall pick.
“In Julie and Vanessa, we picked up the best holding midfielder and the best attacking midfielder in the draft,” said Chicago Red Stars Coach Rory Dames. “They will form the spine of our team down the middle for years to come. With both of them having the experience of winning the U-20 World Cup, they are both proven winners at the highest level.”
Julie Johnston, a 22-year-old native of Mesa, Arizona, is a member of the U.S. National Team player pool, and captained the US Under-20 World Cup team in 2012. Johnston won the bronze ball as the tournament’s third best player that year, a rare honor for a defender. In 2012, Johnston was also named U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Athlete of Year.
Johnston, who finished her senior season with Santa Clara University in 2013, played in all 22 games for the Broncos, leading the team with eight assists and four game-winning goals. This past season she was named First Team All-American and WCC Player of the Year. During her junior year with the Broncos, Johnston led the team with eight goals and 21 points, was second on the team in assists, and named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist for the second year in a row (as both a junior and sophomore).
“I’m extremely honored to be selected in the draft, and more importantly by a team like Chicago,” stated Johnston. “I spoke with Coach Dames and he is exactly the type of coach I want to play for – he wants to win and he wants to develop his players. I’m so excited to be part of the Red Stars organization.”
Vanessa DiBernardo, a 22-year-old native of Naperville, Illinois, is a member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, and a current member of the University of Illinois women’s soccer team.
DiBernardo, a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, helped Illinois reach the Sweet Sixteen in 2013, while ranking second on the team with seven goals. She also tallied the most career assists (22) in school history, and tied the school record for the most career shots with 325. DiBernardo led Illinois in goals in 2012, 2011 and in 2010, including a career-high 17 goals as a sophomore, wrapping up her career third on the all-time list with 43 goals.
“I’m really excited to be playing in Chicago, especially because it’s my hometown,” said DiBernardo. “It’s such an honor to be selected by the Red Stars. I am looking forward to taking this next step in my life.”
With the 22nd overall pick, and Chicago’s final pick in the draft, the Red Stars selected University of Maryland forward Hayley Brock. Brock, a 22-year-old Acton, Massachusetts native, led the Terps in points scored for three straight seasons, leading the team in 2013 with 29 points on 12 goals and five assists. In 2012, Brock was named to the ACC All Tournament Team and All-ACC Second Team.
Brock was also a member of the U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team pool, and a member of the U.S. U-17 National Team that finished second at the 2008 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.
“I’m really excited to play for the Red Stars, “ said Brock. “I actually grew up playing against Coach Dames and his club teams so it’ll be an amazing experience to play for him at the professional level. I’m looking forward to my experience at Chicago.”
“We are really thrilled with how our roster has shaped up for 2014,” stated Red Stars General Manager Alyse LaHue. “These three draft picks are tremendous additions and will help us toward our championship goal. Chicago fans are in for an exciting year ahead.”
Born: April 6, 1992
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
College: Santa Clara University
Born: May 15, 1992
Hometown: Naperville, IL
College: University of Illinois
Born: August 3, 1992
Hometown: Acton, MA
College: University of Maryland