CHICAGO — Once Tierna Davidson added her name to the list of draft eligible players, there was no doubt she’d be the top pick in the NWSL draft.
The only question was if the Chicago Red Stars would take her or trade their No. 1 pick. The Red Stars didn’t pass up the Stanford junior, and selected her first overall to kick off Thursday’s draft in Chicago.
Davidson, 20, already has 12 caps with the United States women’s national team and has a chance to be on the upcoming World Cup roster this summer.
She was a late addition to the draft roster. The deadline for non-seniors to declare eligible for the draft was Wednesday afternoon. Davidson’s status was unknown until she showed up on the final list. Read more about her decision to turn pro.
Davidson could not attend the draft because she is in camp with the national team in Europe. A video from Davidson about being taken No. 1 by the Red Stars was shown to the crowd at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) January 10, 2019
“I’m really bummed that I couldn’t make it to the NWSL draft, but I’m extremely honored to be chosen No. 1 overall by the Chicago Red Stars,” Davidson said in the video. “I’d like to thank Rory and the rest of the Red Stars organization for having the confidence in me. I’d also like to thank my coaches, teammates and family for pushing me to be a better player and person both on and off the field and supporting me in every decision that I make.
“It’s such an amazing time to be a women’s soccer player in the United States. Finally, I’m very excited to start my club career at Chicago. It’s my kind of town.”
She previously released a video about her decision to go pro on Twitter:
— Tierna Davidson (@tierna_davidson) January 10, 2019
The Red Stars pounced on the opportunity to add another potential World Cup player. Red Stars Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Casey Short, Morgan Brian and Danielle Colaprico are also hopefuls to be on the U.S. roster, while Sam Kerr is expected to star for Australia. While this gives the Red Stars plenty of star power and marketability for when these players come back from the World Cup, it does mean a significant number of key players will be gone for a large chunk of the regular season.
Davidson’s new teammates Naeher, Short, Brian, Colaprico and Ertz are also on the 26-player U.S. camp roster. With six players, the Red Stars have more players in that camp than any other team.
Davidson was a first team All-American as a sophomore at Stanford. She earned her first cap last January and was on the 2018 Tournament of Nations roster last summer. Davidson scored her first international goal Aug. 31 against Chile. Soon after, her junior season was cut short due to a season-ending ankle injury on Sept. 9.
Davidson has already played at her future home stadium in Bridgeview, Ill., with the national team. She played all 90 minutes in the Tournament of Nations finale against Brazil. Davidson gave up an own goal in the 16th minute that gave Brazil an early lead. The U.S. rallied for a 4-1 win to win the title.