Chicago becomes first team to sign entire college draft class for consecutive seasons
(Mar. 28, 2014) - The Chicago Red Stars announced today the signing of all members of their 2014 NWSL College Draft class. First round picks Julie Johnston and Vanessa DiBernardo, as well as third round pick Hayley Brock have all agreed to their first professional contracts. With today’s signings, the Red Stars become the first team in the history of the NWSL to contract all members of its college draft class in consecutive seasons. Per club and league policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Julie Johnston, a 21-year-old native of Mesa, Arizona, is a member of the U.S. National Team player pool, and captained the US Under-20 World Cup team in 2012. She won the bronze ball as the tournament’s third best player that year, a rare honor for a defender. In 2012, Johnston was also named U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Athlete of Year.
Johnston, who finished her senior season with Santa Clara University in 2013, played in all 22 games for the Broncos, leading the team with eight assists and four game-winning goals. This past season she was named First Team All-American and WCC Player of the Year. During her junior year with the Broncos, Johnston led the team with eight goals and 21 points, was second on the team in assists, and named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist for the second year in a row (as both a junior and sophomore).
Vanessa DiBernardo, a 21-year-old native of Naperville, Illinois, is a member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, and is a former member of the University of Illinois women’s soccer team.
DiBernardo, a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, helped Illinois reach the Sweet Sixteen in 2013, while ranking second on the team with seven goals. She also tallied the most career assists (22) in school history, and tied the school record for the most career shots with 325. DiBernardo led Illinois in goals in 2012, 2011 and in 2010, including a career-high 17 goals as a sophomore, wrapping up her career third on the all-time list with 43 goals.
Hayley Brock, Chicago’s third round draft pick, is a 21-year-old Acton, Massachusetts native. Brock, who led the University of Maryland in points scored for three straight seasons, finished her final season in 2013 with 29 points on 12 goals and five assists. In 2012, Brock was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team and All-ACC Second Team.
Brock was also a member of the U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team pool, and a member of the U.S. U-17 National Team that finished second at the 2008 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.
“We’re excited about the draft class this year,” Red Stars head coach Rory Dames said. “Just like last year, all 3 players will be members of the team, and I expect them all to be members of the starting eleven. Our younger players are the foundation we’ve decided to build our club around.”
The Red Stars open their 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) regular season schedule on April 19 against Abby Wambach and Western NY Flash in a Toyota Park doubleheader with the MLS-side Chicago Fire at 5pm CT. For tickets, please visit chicagoredstars.com or call 773.697.8699.
Born: April 6, 1992
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
College: Santa Clara University
Born: May 15, 1992
Hometown: Naperville, IL
College: University of Illinois
Born: August 3, 1992
Hometown: Acton, MA
College: University of Maryland
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Photo courtesy of Chicago Red Stars.