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January 8, 2016

Blast from the Past: Red Stars Draft History

Chicago holds some of the best draft selections in NWSL history

Chicago, Ill. – It has been four years since the Chicago Red Stars used their first ever National Women’s Soccer league (NWSL) in the inaugural 2013 college draft to select Zakiya Bywaters first overall. As the 2016 NWSL College Draft approaches next week, it’s a good time to look backwards at the impact that prior draft picks have had for the Chicago Red Stars as they grew into a playoff team in 2015 with even greater aspirations in 2016.

The past three NWSL College Drafts have seen the Chicago Red Stars have a tremendous amount of success. Arguably one of the strongest draft selectors in the NWSL, the Red Stars have chosen back-to-back Rookie of the Year winners with Julie Johnston (2014) and Danielle Colaprico (2015) and will look to continue with this tradition, but first, a closer look at the last 3 years of Red Stars draft selections.

The 2015 Red Stars draft class lived up to their hype. Arin Gilliland, Danielle Colaprico, Sofia Huerta and Cara Walls saw their dreams come true when their names were all called last year. The rookies played a huge role in helping the Red Stars with the best finish in team history. Gilliland, Colaprico and Huerta made the 2015 NWSL Second Team in their first year as professionals. In addition, Colaprico was recently called into training camp with the U.S. Women’s National Team, competing for a roster spot for the Olympics in 2016.

Two years ago, in the first round of the draft’s 2014 edition, Chicago selected recent 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Julie Johnston with the third-overall draft pick. Immediately following, with the fourth-overall pick the Red Stars selected Vanessa DiBernardo. DiBernardo has been a mainstay in the central midfield position, having played every NWSL match for the Red Stars since being drafted fourth overall.

Looking back on the very first NWSL College Draft in 2013 the Red Stars selected Bywaters first-overall, followed by Rachel Quon, Taylor Vancil and Jen Hoy. Four years later and Bywaters, Quon and Hoy are veteran leaders for the Red Stars as they head into the 2016 season.

For the 2016 draft the Chicago Red Stars will not have a first round pick, but do hold one second-round pick, along with three third-round picks and one fourth-round pick. The Red Stars have used their later round selections wisely, including 2013 fourth-round pick Jen Hoy. A graduate of Princeton University, Hoy has gone on to solidify herself as a force of attack on the Red Stars frontline. Scoring 10 goals over the last three seasons, including four in each of the last two seasons, Hoy does not plan on slowing down.  

“The past three seasons since being drafted by Chicago have been amazing,” said Hoy. “I’m looking forward to a 2016 in which the Red Stars will reach new heights. I’m excited for our 2016 draft picks and I am sure they will play a big role for us this upcoming season.”

Stay tuned for the Chicago Red Stars 2016 draft preview article next Thursday, just before the draft takes place.

A complete list of selections from the 2013 draft, 2014 draft and the 2015 draft is available at



Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA) 1st round, 1st overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Rachel Quon (Stanford) 2nd round, 9th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Taylor Vancil (Florida State) 3rd round, 17th overall pick (retired as a Chicago Red Star)
Jen Hoy (Princeton) 4th round, 25th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)

Julie Johnston (Santa Clara), 1st round, 3rd overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois), 1st round, 4th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Haley Brock (Maryland), 3rd round, 22nd overall pick (chose to return to college to finish degree)

Arin Gilliland (Kentucky), 1st round, 8th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Danielle Colaprico (Virginia), 1st round, 9th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Sofia Huerta (Santa Clara), 2nd round, 11th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Cara Walls (Wisconsin), 3rd round, 27th overall pick (current member of Chicago Red Stars)
Nicole Setterlund (Washington St.), 3rd round, 27th overall pick (could not sign due to concussions)
Rachel Tejada (Illinois St.), 4th round, 32nd overall pick (chose to return to college to finish degree) 




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