The Houston Dash’s Newest Addition – NWSL College Draft Round 1, Pick #6
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a ten-team women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation.
With the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft, the Houston Dash selected Rachel Daly, first team NSCAA All-America and a MAC Hermann trophy semifinalist in 2015 after scoring 19 goals, third-most in the nation. The Harrogate, England native set St. John’s career records with 50 goals and 111 points in just three seasons, including an NCAA-leading 23 goals in 2013.
Daly is the first English player ever selected in the NWSL college draft. Her three years at St. John’s included two NSCAA All-America and two NSCAA Scholar All-America selections as well as two Big East Offensive Player of the Year nods and three first team All-Big East picks. The striker was part of the England 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup squad that finished fourth in New Zealand. Daly played for Leeds United Ladies’ for nine seasons and was part of England’s U-15, U-17 and U-19 squads.
SoccerToday and other media outlets spoke with Daly following the exciting news at the NWSL Draft:
Question: Congratulations. How do you feel?
Rachel Daly: Houston’s a great team and I’m so happy to be playing with them. Taking it to the next level and playing in the NWSL is so important to me because I feel like it is the next challenge for me.
Question: You spoke with Randy Waldrum yesterday, what are you looking forward to learning from him?
Rachel Daly: Obviously getting a new coach is a different experience, but having spoke to people around the league, he seems really passionate about soccer, which is a huge deal for me because it’s all I live and breath for. Getting to know him and his philosophy is going to be a big deal for me.
Question: How long have you been playing soccer?
Rachel Daly: Ever since I can remember. I played with my elder brother and my dad when I was younger.
Question: So came to the United States to become a professional woman soccer player instead of staying in England?
Rachel Daly: Yes, I came to the USA to play college soccer. You can’t do a four-year education program and play at the same time in England. They don’t have the accommodation to do that, which is why I came to the United States. I has been a great decision to do so.
Question: When did you first decide you wanted to come to the United States?
Rachel Daly: When I was a kid. I think it was after I watched Bend It Like Beckham. That was it, I wanted to go. I played in the WSL, which is a professional league in England, it sort of took me away from my dream of coming to America and I was happy, but then it sort of clicked, that I was meant to come out here, to St. John’s and play.
Question: Was it a hard transition to come to the United States?
Rachel Daly: It was, I was ineligible to play my first year because I came in late and that was a really difficult decision to only have three years to play, but it was a good decision.
Question: Was it a difficult decision to start your professional career here rather than England?
Rachel Daly: Yes, it was a tough decision, but I spoke with my family, my coaches and all the people who I respect and value their opinion. It was up and down for several months and I think towards the end of my college season I decided it was the right thing to do.
Question: Do you see yourself going to play in Europe during the off-season?
Rachel Daly: Yes, it is definitely something I would consider. I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point.
Question: What do you think of the comparison to Kellie Smith and being now the second English player in the league?
Rachel Daly: It’s phenomenal, Kellie Smith is my hero. She has been since I was a child; I used to go watch her play all the time. She is an absolute phenomenal role model and player. To be a quarter of what she is and have that comparison is huge for me.
Question: You’ve played multiple positions throughout your career. Is there a position that you prefer?
Rachel Daly: Personally, I don’t mind that position I play. I think that is what I have on my side. A lot of coaches have told me I’m versatile so it helps with signing for teams. I think that will help Randy make a decision if he wants a left back or a forward. I don’t really have a preference, whatever I fit into in that specific team I’ll give my 100 percent.
Question: Do you think America is a better place for Women in Soccer?
Rachel Daly: It was a long time ago. It was all about U.S. women’s soccer and then England took a big leap with the WSL.