“With the first pick, in the first round of the 2019 NWSL college draft, the Chicago Red Stars select Tierna Davidson from Stanford University.”
Davidson, a current junior, was quickly followed by two more first-round selections from the Cardinal women’s soccer team, senior midfielder Jordan DiBiasi and senior defender Tegan McGrady.
Stanford women’s soccer now has six first-round picks in the program’s history, and 12 total draftees. With USC and UCLA also producing first round picks, five of the first nine picks in the 2019 draft hailed from the Pac-12.
Only hours before her name was called, Davidson announced on social media that she had declared for the draft, forgoing her senior season with the Cardinal. In that message, Davidson promised to return to the university in the future to complete her degree. “I fully intend to return to achieve the highest honor I could ever earn as a Stanford student-athlete: the completion of my bachelor’s degree.”
Davidson is currently in Portugal with the USWNT in preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. At the time of her previous injury with the team, Davidson led the national team in minutes played, starting all 12 games in which she appeared. For her play last season, Davidson was named U.S. Soccer’s Young Player of the Year.
“I’m extremely honored to have been chosen number one overall by the Chicago Red Stars,” Davidson said in a taped video message that was aired for the crowd watching the NWSL college draft in Chicago. Davidson joins fellow USWNT players Morgan Brian, Danielle Colaprico, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher and Casey Short on a Red Stars side that finished fourth out of nine NWSL teams at the end of the 2018 regular season.
“I’m very excited to start my club career at Chicago,” said Davidson. “It’s my kind of town.”
Davidson had been sidelined since the sixth game of the 2018 collegiate season, when she fractured her left ankle against North Carolina. In her absence, Stanford won the Pac-12 and made the trip to the College Cup, where they were eliminated by the eventual champion, Florida State.
“I thank the Stanford family for the love you have shown me,” said Davidson. “I am Cardinal for life.”
Davidson is the second consecutive number one pick from Stanford after Andi Sullivan was selected first overall by Washington a year ago. In this year’s draft, the Spirit traded to obtain the third draft slot, and with it selected Stanford’s Jordan DiBiasi.
“Andi has been a role model to me since college and even before that, and to have been able to play with her for three years at Stanford was so awesome, I learned so much,” said DiBiasi. “And now, to get the opportunity to play with her again, I couldn’t be happier.”
DiBiasi co-captained the Cardinal to a Pac-12 conference title, was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy that was eventually awarded to teammate Catarina Macario, and was the Pac-12 midfielder of the year. She played in 92 of 93 games in her college career, with 91 starts, 31 goals (including 15 game winners), 23 assists and 85 total points.
DiBiasi, who was present for the draft in Chicago, addressed the draft audience from a podium.
“To my coaches, Paul [Ratcliffe], Hideki [Nakada], Margueritte [Aozasa], Kayley [Sullivan], the rest of the Stanford staff, [thank you] for helping me grow as both a soccer player and a person,” DiBiasi said. “Thank you to my teammates, Tegan [McGrady] who is over there, you guys are my best friends.”
McGrady did not have to wait long before her own name was called. With the seventh selection, The Spirit reunited her with Sullivan and DiBiasi. “Those two are people that I’ve now played with for the past three years, and it’s amazing to get to back to them,” said McGrady. “I’m so comfortable with them, they’re amazing people.”
“It has been a childhood dream of mine to be playing professional soccer,” McGrady said, draped in the scarf of her new team.
In her 72 appearances, including 61 starts, over four seasons at Stanford, she netted four goals and tallied 13 more assists. McGrady has also had made an international appearance with the USWNT.
Stanford, however, does not rebuild, it reloads, and the Class of 2023 has already been announced. Madison Ayson, Emily Chiao, Maya Doms, Paige Rubinstein and Kennedy Wesley will look to become the next Cardinal student athletes to hear their names called in the first round.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu