The Chicago Red Stars added three players in the 2014 College Draft, selecting midfielders Julie Johnston and Vanessa DiBernardo and forward Hayley Brock.
“We are really thrilled with how our roster has shaped up for 2014,” said Red Stars General Manager Alyse LaHue in a press release. “These three draft picks are tremendous additions and will help us toward our championship goal. Chicago fans are in for an exciting year ahead.”
With the 3rd pick, the Red Stars selected Johnston, 22, out of the University of Santa Clara, playing in 22 games and leading her team with 8 assists and 4 game-winning goals as a senior, earning WCC Player of the Year and was named a First Team All-American. In 2012, she led the Broncos in scoring with 8 goals and 21 points, was named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy for the second year in a row and was named U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Athlete of the Year. Johnston is currently a member of the United States Women’s National Team player pool and captained the U.S. U20 National Team in the 2012 U20 Women’s World Cup, winning the Bronze Ball as the tournaments third leading scorer.
“I’m extremely honored to be selected in the draft, and more importantly by a team like Chicago,” Johnston said. “I spoke with Coach Dames and he is exactly the type of coach I want to play for – he wants to win and he wants to develop his players. I’m so excited to be part of the Red Stars organization.”
“In Julie and Vanessa, we picked up the best holding midfielder and the best attacking midfielder in the draft,” said Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. “They will form the spine of our team down the middle for years to come. With both of them having the experience of winning the U20 World Cup, they are both proven winners at the highest level.”
With the 4th pick, the Red Stars selected a local product in DiBernardo, 22, out of the University of Illinois. DiBernardo, who previously played for the Red Stars in the WPSL in 2012, a three-time All-Big Ten selection, and finished third all-time on the Fighting Illini with 43 goals, leading her team in goal scoring her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, setting a career high with 17 goals her sophomore year. As a senior, she scored 7 goals and 7 assists in 15 games and was named to several pre- and post-season All-American teams. She is also currently a member of the U.S. U23 National Team
“I’m excited and honored to be drafted by the Chicago Red Stars, especially because it’s my hometown,” DiBernardo said on FightingIllini.com. “It means a lot to play for Chicago and I’m looking forward to being able to stay close to home. I appreciate everything coach Rayfield and all the coaches at Illinois did for me to prepare me for this moment. I also want to thank my teammates for supporting me during my great four years as an Illini.”
“I am so proud of Vanessa and our program,” Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. “Every player is created and forged from their own dedication and from the environment in which they develop. Vanessa is a class act and a tremendous player who will have a long, successful career and represent us well. Congrats to her and her teammates that helped her long the way.”
With their final pick, 22nd overall, the Red Stars selected Brock, 22, out of the University of Maryland. A 2013 All-ACC Second Team selection, Brock led the Terrapins in points scoring the past three seasons, finishing her senior year with 29 points from 12 goals and 5 assists in 18 appearances. As a junior, she scored 13 goals and 6 assists and was named to the All-ACC Second Team and ACC All-Tournament Team. She finished her collegiate career with 38 goals and 19 assists for 95 points between Maryland and Penn State University.
“I’m really excited to play for the Red Stars,“ said Brock. “I actually grew up playing against Coach Dames and his club teams so it’ll be an amazing experience to play for him at the professional level. I’m looking forward to my experience at Chicago.”