Editor's Note: Rachel Quon, the epitome of a scholar-athlete, graduated from Stanford University and currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars. While at Stanford she was named an NSCAA first-team All-American and to Soccer America MVP's second-team. She is a go-getter and when she's not playing professional soccer, she works for a venture capital firm in Palo Alto.
NWSL College Draft Day 2013
Friday, January 18: NWSL College Draft Day 2013
5:57am: My iPhone alarm goes off. Like any other day, I wake up to a text from my Mom wishing me a great day. Still half asleep in my dorm room, I click the blue bird icon on my bright screen.
Only one month before, I had just finished my final college season at Stanford University. Growing up, it was my goal to play in college. I am so fortunate I attended such a prestigious academic and athletic university that playing professionally was always just a dream. Grateful for my teammates, coaches and professors, Stanford pushed me to be better everyday. Since the beginning of my season, my plan was to finish my last two quarters as a “normal student” and then decide whether I wanted to play professionally after I graduated (if it was even possible). My only option for most of the season was to play overseas since the last women’s professional league in the US, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), folded in early 2012.
However, in November of my senior year, it was announced on Twitter that there would be a third attempt at a professional women’s soccer league in the US, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Supported by the US Soccer Federation, the Canada Soccer Association and the Mexican Football Federation, all national team players would be evenly distributed to eight teams and their federations would pay for their salaries. The season would run from April to August with each team scheduled to play 24 regular season games. There would be a college draft for graduating seniors followed by a supplemental draft for any free agents. GAMECHANGER. Eight teams: Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, New Jersey, Portland, Rochester, Seattle, and Washington DC. Gamechanger #2. I am from Lake Forest, Illinois--only 30 minutes north of the city of Chicago.
In the middle of college playoffs, I didn’t think I would have to decide this soon. I could stay in the US, play with some of the best players in the world and even have the opportunity to play in my home state after four years of being across the country? Who knows how long the league will last? The last two leagues in the US folded after three years. Abroad will always be there, right? When would I finish school? I have to try it. Why not? How does one even apply to a women’s soccer college draft? (Turns out to be a very fancy process: filling out a google doc your college coach forwards in an email- name, position, college attended, college coach’s name, and my email.)
I turn on my side lamp and then I go back to my phone. I scroll through my Twitter feed.
4:54am: @NWSL #NWSLDraft Day in Indianapolis! We'll have coverage here starting around 9 a.m. ET! Who do you want your team to select today?
Must be nice for those east coasters. Either you traveled to Indianapolis for draft day or you followed on Twitter...at 6am PT. I receive a text message making sure I was awake from my friend and Stanford teammate, Mariah Nogueira. Less than a half mile away, she’s following from her dorm room, too. I pull down the screen with my thumb: refresh the feed.
Congrats to Z! I grew up playing with her on the US youth national teams. Refresh.
Congrats, Tiff! I played with her the summer going into my junior year in LA on the Pali Blues. Refresh.
Seven tweets later, the first round of the #NWSLdraft is over. I’ve played with and/or against all first round draftees. Refresh. I run to the bathroom and then get back in bed. Refresh.
6:18am: @NWSL Second round beginning right now: @chicagoredstars on the clock…#NWSLdraft
iMessage banner comes down from the top of my iPhone screen. Text from Mariah: “Congrats!!” My heart starts to beat faster.
Refresh. (Just to make sure they didn’t make a mistake and delete the tweet. And it was sort of a habit at this point.)
I smile in disbelief. Officially a drafted professional women’s soccer player. AND I get to play at home. Thankful and amazed to have another opportunity to play the sport that has allowed me to travel around the world, challenge myself physically, mentally and emotionally, and meet some of the most unique people. Nervous and anxious as I will join a new team and play with the best in the world on a day to day basis- the likes of Christine Sinclair, Shannon Boxx, and Tobin Heath. I receive calls and texts from family, teammates and coaches. I follow the rest of the draft, refreshing every minute. Excited and proud to see fellow teammates and friends get drafted across the country. The four round, 32 selection college draft ends in one hour and 23 minutes. The NFL first round of the draft can take anywhere from four to six hours.
7:23am: @NWSL That concludes the 2013 NWSL College Draft! Thanks for following! We'll have some more reaction from players and teams throughout the day.
Well, I could try and go back to sleep, but I’m a bit amped. It’s Friday so I don’t have class today. I can’t wake up my roommate in the adjacent room because she has a water polo game later today. Stanford Women’s Soccer has winter season weight circuit training at 7:45am that I dreaded all three years prior. I’m already awake. I quickly change, hop on my bike, and walk in to the gym to start preparing for my first professional soccer preseason.