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Two World Cup champs and three rookies among club’s honorees

Chicago, Ill. – A total of five Chicago Red Stars players have been voted to the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Best XI and Second XI by media, fans, players and club officials, it was announced today. While FIFA Women’s World Cup winners Julie Johnston and Christen Press represent Chicago in the Best XI, no fewer than three of the Red Stars’ first-year professionals were selected to the Second XI, defender Arin Gilliland, forward Sofia Huerta and newly crowned 2015 Rookie of the Year, midfielder Danielle Colaprico.

Head Coach Rory Dames’ side is tied with FC Kansas City for second-most honorees, regular season champions Seattle Reign FC leading the league with eight.

Center back Johnston, whose breakout year with the U.S. Women culminated in a World Cup Golden Ball nomination, went the distance in all eleven of her NWSL matches, helping the Red Stars defense to the third-fewest goals allowed among all nine squads. The Arizona native also proved a threat going forward by recording two assists and coming within inches of scoring on several different occasions.

Remarked the 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year, “It’s such an honor to be on the list with all these other great players, and I’m so thankful to my team in Chicago for making it possible. This is just another reason to keep striving to get better each and every year.”

Club and country teammate Press was selected as a finalist for the league’s Most Valuable Players (MVP) award after finding the back of the net a stunning ten times in just eleven matches, good for an average of about one goal per every 93 minutes.

“I’m excited to be selected to the Best XI, especially given there are so many world-class players in the NWSL,” offered the 26-year-old California native, whose goals over the course of the season included several of the spectacular kind and who also bagged a pair of assists.

Virginia alum Colaprico was instrumental in the Red Stars’ best ever campaign as a professional franchise, her uncompromising tackles and intelligent passes making the New Jersey native one of the best holding midfielders in the NWSL. Colaprico took the majority of her side’s corner kicks from the left and started each of Chicago’s 20 regular season games, logging 90 minutes in all but one.

“Being selected to the Second XI is such a great honor,” said the 22-year-old. “Individual recognitions like this say a lot about how successful our team was all year. My teammates deserve a lot of credit for guiding me through my rookie season. The leadership on our roster is unbelievable and I couldn’t have had so much success without everyone around me. I’m extremely humbled and thankful for such amazing teammates.”

Outside back Gilliland impressed with her athleticism and ability to contribute to the attack by flying up the left wing, taking on opposition players and sending quality service into the box. The former Kentucky standout earned two assists in her 19 appearances (17 starts) in 2015.

“Making the Second XI is beyond anything I could have imagined for my rookie year,” said Gilliland. “To be recognized alongside such tremendous talent and some of the NWSL greats is an honor and a very humbling experience. There’s no way I could have done it without the daily leadership of my teammates. They allowed me to be the best version of myself by continuously pushing me to my limit and by quickly teaching me what it takes on and off the field to be successful in this league.”

Former Santa Clara star Huerta drew national attention when a multi-game scoring streak in May earned the rookie consecutive Player of the Week awards and the first ever Player of the Month award in Red Stars history.

“It’s such an honor,” remarked the Idaho native, “and Danny and Arin also being selected makes it even better. Being fellow rookies, teammates and roommates with them really pushed me to get better. The Red Stars franchise also empowered me to be successful. The front office, coaches and my teammates made the transition from college really easy, which gave me the confidence to compete in the NWSL. I’m so happy to be recognized and to be compared to some of the best players in the league.”

After reaching the semifinals of the 2015 playoffs, the Red Stars look to bring the championship home to Chicagoland next year. Season tickets may be purchased by visiting www.chicagoredstars.com/tickets or by calling 773-698-6001.

2015 National Women’s Soccer League Best XI

Position Player Club Country Note
Goalkeeper Michelle Betos Portland Thorns FC

USA

45 saves
Defender Lauren Barnes Seattle Reign FC

USA

1,800 minutes
Defender Julie Johnston Chicago Red Stars

USA

1.10 team GAA
Defender Amy LePeilbet FC Kansas City

USA

1,800 minutes
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn FC Kansas City

USA

1.00 team GAA
Midfielder Jess Fishlock Seattle Reign FC

Wales

8 goals, 2 assists
Midfielder Kim Little Seattle Reign FC

Scotland

10 goals, 7 assists
Midfielder Allie Long Portland Thorns FC

USA

10 goals, 4 assists
Forward Crystal Dunn Washington Spirit

USA

15 goals, 3 assists
Forward Christen Press Chicago Red Stars

USA

10 goals, 2 assists
Forward Beverly Yanez Seattle Reign FC

USA

9 goals

 

2015 National Women’s Soccer League Second XI

Position Player Club Country Note
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart FC Kansas City

USA

8 shutouts
Defender Stephanie Cox Seattle Reign FC

USA

1,800 minutes
Defender Kendall Fletcher Seattle Reign FC

USA

2 goals, 2 assists
Defender Arin Gilliland Chicago Red Stars

USA

1.10 team GAA
Defender Leigh Ann Robinson FC Kansas City

USA

1,800 minutes
Midfielder Danielle Colaprico Chicago Red Stars

USA

1,776 minutes
Midfielder Lauren Holiday FC Kansas City

USA

2 goals, 2 assists
Midfielder Carli Lloyd Houston Dash

USA

4 goals
Midfielder Keelin Winters Seattle Reign FC

USA

1,654 minutes
Forward Sofia Huerta Chicago Red Stars

USA

6 goals, 3 assists
Forward Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC

USA

5 goals, 5 assists
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