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April 6, 2015

Chicago Signs Draft Picks Gilliland, Colaprico and Huerta

Trio to be part of official roster for 2015 NWSL season

CHICAGO, Illinois – The Chicago Red Stars are pleased to announce they have signed recent NWSL College Draft picks Arin Gilliland, Danielle Colaprico and Sofia Huerta to professional contracts for the 2015 campaign. The trio of rookies has been training with the Red Stars since opening day of this year’s preseason and impressed in recent scrimmage wins over University of Missouri and Iowa State.

Former University of Kentucky star Gilliland, who was picked at number eight in the draft, intrigues with uncompromising defending as well as her versatility, as she also has significant experience playing in attacking positions.

“I’m extremely excited,” said the 22-year-old Kentucky native. “It’s a dream that I’ve had since I was little and now it’s finally a real-life thing. This preseason has been awesome because we’ve seen this group get completely transformed. Comparing the first week to now is like night and day. The returners have been great role-models and the newcomers have really built on what we’ve learned. I think this team has the potential to be very successful.”

A University of Virginia alum and U-23 U.S. Women’s National team standout, Colaprico was taken at number nine by Chicago. The 21-year-old is best known for her skills on the ball and her creativity when utilized in an attacking position.

“It definitely feels amazing having officially signed with the Red Stars,” said the New Jersey native. “Being here in Chicago for preseason made me realize what a great team this is. The girls are so nice and the coaching staff is awesome. I love it here and I’m really excited to be a part of the club. In terms of goals for the season, I think we want to improve each day and end by winning the whole thing this year.”

Forward Huerta was teammates with current Chicago and U.S. standout Julie Johnston at Santa Clara University. While the Idaho native has several caps with the Mexican senior squad, she retains her eligibility to play for the Red, White and Blue in the future.

“I’m so excited to officially be a part of this team,” raved the 22-year-old Huerta, who was drafted at number eleven by her new club. “Getting signed was my first big goal. The preseason has been going very well. The girls are awesome and the coaches have also helped me get adapted to the new environment.”

For Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames, securing the services of the three rookies checked all the boxes. The Illinois native explained that “the original intent was to draft at least one player for each line on the field” and went on to highlight the strengths of each signee.

“In Arin, we were able to pick up an extremely athletic and tenacious defender who has the ability to go end-line to end-line,” he offered. “She’s very difficult to beat one-on-one, she’s two-footed and she’s fearless. Those qualities were important to us.

“In Danny, we got a possession-oriented player. She can play anywhere in the midfield, regardless of whether we have three or four midfielders. She’s extremely well-rounded, great with both feet and very good at getting out of pressure. Danny can play as a holding midfielder and help build from the back, but also as a number ten to make the final pass.

“Sofia is just a physical presence up front. She covers a lot of ground and knows when to be where and what types of runs to make. She is also two-footed and is just as good creating for herself as she is setting up someone else.”

The 2015 Chicago Red Stars campaign kicks off on April 18 with the team’s big home opener against Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and current NWSL Shield holders Seattle Reign FC. Single-game and season tickets may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 773-698-6001.

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