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Fox, Rodman selected with the top picks in the NWSL draft

North Carolina defender-midfielder Emily Fox was the first player taken in the National Women’s Soccer League draft Wednesday night, going to expansion team Racing Louisville.

With the second pick, the Washington Spirit selected 18-year-old forward Trinity Rodman, daughter of former NBA player Dennis Rodman and a standout on the U.S. youth national teams.

Fox is taking part January training camp with the U.S. women’s national team in Florida. She was applauded by her teammates at dinner after the selection was announced.

“I feel like its a very unique opportunity for me to go on there and try to do as best that I can and work my way up, and do anything I can for the team,” said Fox, one of three college players who were invited to take part in the national team’s camp.

Rodman was a freshman at Washington State, but the coronavirus outbreak postponed the fall season in the Pac-12. Because of an NCAA waiver, she could play for the Cougars this spring and join the Spirit afterward, but she said Wednesday she had decided to forgo her college career.

“He was an amazing athlete and I got those genes from him,“ Rodman said about her famous dad. ”But I am excited to be known as Trinity Rodman and not just Dennis Rodman’s daughter.”

Midfielder Brianna Pinto out of North Carolina went to Sky Blue with the third pick. Pinto announced on Twitter on Tuesday that she was going to pursue a pro career, but said she would play this spring with the Tar Heels.

Stanford’s Kiki Pickett was selected by Kansas City with the fourth pick. Kansas City sent $175,000 in allocation money to Sky Blue in exchange for the pick.

Midfielder Emina Ekic went to her hometown team, Racing Louisville, with the fifth selection. Ekic, a senior at Louisville, was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.

Also drafted in the opening round was TCU midfielder Yazmeen Ryan, the No. 6 pick by Portland Thorns; Stanford forward Madison Haley, the No. 7 pick by the Chicago Red Stars; USC forward Tara McKeown, the No. 8 pick by the Spirit; UCLA midfielder Viviana Villacorta, the No. 9 pick by the Orlando Pride; and Florida forward and Canadian national Deanne Rose, the 10th pick by the North Carolina Courage.

A new draft rule made all college players who had used three years of eligibility available in the draft, whether or not they had formally declared.

The NWSL also received a waiver that allows drafted college players still play for their teams in the spring season before joining their club teams. The players have until Jan. 22 to decide.

One of the nation’s top college players, Stanford’s Catarina Macario, announced on Tuesday that she had signed a professional contract with French powerhouse Lyon, and wasn’t among the players available for the NWSL draft.
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