[NWSL]UCLA forward Zakiya Bywaters was the surprise selection by the Chicago Red Stars with the No. 1 pick in the first NWSL college draft that took place Friday at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.
Bywaters, the 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year, joined such UCLA athletic legends like Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton and Troy Aikman to be a No. 1 draft selection. She was also the sixth Bruin soccer player -- and second woman to be taken with the No. 1 pick. (Former teammate Sydney Leroux was the WPS No. 1 pick in 2012 for a season that never took place.)
“I’m very surprised," said Bywaters, who led the Pac-12 in scoring with 15 goals, six game-winning goals and 34 points. "I was very excited when [Chicago coach] Rory [Dames] gave me the call to let me know. I’m still kind of in shock with the whole experience but I’m really looking forward to playing in a professional environment that’s going to help me grow and for me to help the program, as well.”
In the case of Tiffany McCarty, the No. 2 pick, her selection by the Washington Spirit meant she is going home after five seasons at Florida State.
“I think the Spirit will be a good team," she said. "My family is also excited that I’m going back home and I know a lot of people in Maryland. I feel like it’s going to be a really good experience for me."
Boston College's Kristie Mewis, the No. 3 pick, said it was great to get a chance to play with some national team players she had trained with -- Becky Sauerbrunn, Lauren Cheney and Nicole Barnhart -- but it admitted she knew little about Kansas City.
“I’ve never really visited out in the Midwest or lived there in my life," the Massachusetts native said. "It’s going to be a change, it’s going to be new and I think that’s really good for me. I think it will be good for me to be a little bit uncomfortable in a situation just to grow and experience something new. I’m actually really excited to be going to Kansas City.”
-- Florida led all teams with four players selected, including defender Kathryn Williamson taken by the Portland Thorns with the last pick of the first round.
2013 NWSL Draft Selections
1. Zakiya Bywaters, F, (UCLA) - Chicago Red Stars
2. Tiffany McCarty, F, (Florida State) - Washington Spirit
3. Kristie Mewis, MF, (Boston College) - FC Kansas City
4. Lindsi Lisonsbee-Cutshall, D, (BYU) - Sky Blue FC
5. Casey Short, MF/D, (Florida State) - Boston Breakers
6. Adrianna Franch, GK, (Oklahoma State) - Western New York Flash
7. Christine Nairn, MF, (Penn State) - Seattle Reign
8. Kathryn Williamson, D, (Florida) - Portland Thorns
9. Rachel Quon, D (Stanford) – Chicago Red Stars
10. Caroline Miller, F (Virginia) – Washington Spirit
11. Erika Tymrak, M/F (Florida) – FC Kansas City
12. Kendall Johnson, D/M (Portland) – Sky Blue FC
13. Mariah Nogueira, M (Stanford) – Boston Breakers
14. Amy Barczuk, M (Colorado) – Western New York Flash
15. Mallory Schaffer, M (William & Mary) – Seattle Reign FC
16. Nicolette Radovic, F (Central Florida) – Portland Thorns FC
17. Taylor Vancil, GK (Florida State) – Chicago Red Stars
18. Holly King, M (Florida) – Washington Spirit
19. Whitney Berry, M/F (Kansas) – FC Kansas City
20. Ashley Baker, GK (Georgia) – Sky Blue FC
21. Jo Dragotta, M (Florida) – Boston Breakers
22. Vicki DiMartino, F (Boston College) – Western New York Flash
23. Kristen Meier, M (Wake Forest) – Seattle Reign FC
24. Amber Brooks, M (North Carolina) – Portland Thorns FC
25. Jen Hoy, F (Princeton) – Chicago Red Stars
26. Colleen Williams, M (Dayton) – Washington Spirit
27. Nia Williams, D (Missouri State) – FC Kansas City
28. Becky Kaplan, F (Maryland) – Sky Blue FC
29. Maddy Evans, M (Penn State) – Boston Breakers
30. Jackie Logue, D (Wake Forest) – Western New York Flash
31. Haley Kopmeyer, GK (Michigan) – Seattle Reign FC
32. Roxanne Barker, GK (Pepperdine) – Portland Thorns FC