In Los Angeles, a room full of college soccer players waited. And waited. Hoping that they would be chosen in the 2017 NWSL Draft to join a professional women’s soccer team. For two young women, that dream came true when they were drafted by the Orlando Pride.
“It’s amazing,” Danica Evans said to the press shortly after being drafted. “I’m so glad the Orlando Pride decided to draft me today.”
Evans, a striker from the University of Colorado, was chosen in the third round, the 22nd overall pick. She was later joined by Nickolette Driesse, a Penn State midfielder, who was chosen as the 32nd overall pick.
Evans transferred to University of Colorado from the University of Portland after her sophomore year. Between both schools, she scored a total of 28 goals and earned 19 assists.
“I feel like I can bring a good work ethic. I like to think I’m good at finishing and scoring, so I hope I can bring some goals to the team this year,” Evans said. “Fans can expect to see someone with high energy, creative ability on the ball, and the ability to finish.”
“I think she’s got the potential to score goals. I think she’s a clever footballer, so I think she knows how to play the game,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “She can play well as a central striker.”
Driesse also transferred schools, coming to Penn State after winning a national championship in her sophomore year at Florida State University. The next year she won another national title, this time in Pennsylvania. She finished her college career with six goals and twenty assists, earning six of those assists in her last year.
“If she can replicate her passing game from college into the pros,” Sermanni said “She’ll be an outstanding player.”
Sermanni said that the most important thing for the girls when they arrive at training is not to be intimidated. “I think the key thing is just to come in and play with confidence,” Sermanni said. “And to make sure that we make them feel welcome, we make them feel at home, and we give them every opportunity possible to make it into the team, to make it to the squad.