Red Stars take UCLA F Zakiya Bywaters
NWSL selects college stars
UCLA forward Zakiya Bywaters was the No. 1 pick in the inaugural National Women's Soccer League's college draft Friday, taken by the Chicago Red Stars during the four-round draft in Indianapolis.
A Las Vegas native, Bywaters made 88 starts in 92 appearances in her four-year college career for the Bruins and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2012.
"I'm looking forward to helping develop the women's game, and I think this will be a great opportunity to play in the NWSL," Bywaters said.
As a senior, Bywaters led the Pac-12 in goals (15), points (34) and game-winning goals (6). She helped UCLA compile a record of 18-3-2 while earning a berth into the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
"Zakiya possesses a great combination of technique and pace," Red Stars coach Rory Dames said. "She has the ability to play multiple positions and we believe she will push hard for future national team call-ups."
Bywaters will join U.S. women's national team players Shannon Boxx, Amy LePeilbet and Keelin Winters on the Chicago Red Stars roster.
Florida State forward Tiffany McCarty was the No. 2 overall pick by the Washington Spirit.
Midfielder Kristie Mewis of Boston College was the No. 3 pick, taken by FC Kansas City.
Sky Blue FC used the fourth overall pick on BYU defender Lindsi Lisonsbee-Cutshall.
The Boston Breakers took Florida State's Casey Short fifth while the Western New York Flash took goalkeeper Adrianna Franch sixth overall.
Penn State midfielder Christine Nairn was chosen seventh overall by the Seattle Reign and Florida's Kathryn Williamson was picked eighth by the Portland Thorns.