Sky Blue FC selected UCLA midfielder Sarah Killion with its first pick (Photo courtesy of NWSL).
UCLA Midfielder Sarah Killion Taken with 2nd Overall Pick
Sky Blue FC selected six players in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft on Friday, beginning with UCLA midfielder Sarah Killion as the 2nd overall pick. The New Jersey side then further strengthened its roster by selecting defender Kristin Grubka (Florida State, No. 10 overall), midfielder Daphne Corboz (Georgetown, No. 22 overall), defender Shade Pratt (Maryland, No. 25 overall), forward Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford, No. 28 overall) and midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta (Stanford, No. 34 overall).
“We had a very good pick at number two overall and had time to plan for who were going to take,” Sky Blue FC technical director and head coach Jim Gabarra stated. “We had been locked in on Sarah Killion since September. All of the moves that we have made during the offseason have been done with that in mind.
“At our second pick, it was no secret that we wanted Danielle Colaprico, and it looked like we had her until Boston traded their pick. We then went with the best player on the board in Kristin Grubka, who is a great player in the air and a real weapon on set plays. The remaining four picks, we were looking for players with unique skill sets that would give them a chance to make our roster.”
Killion, 22, started 77 matches over 88 total appearances during her collegiate career at UCLA. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native had her best campaign this past fall as a senior, registering 30 points on nine goals and 12 assists while taking 45 shots. All marks were career highs, with the 12 assists matching her 2013 tally and equaling a school record. The 2014 NSCAA 3rd Team All-American was also selected to Top Drawer Soccer’s Best XI and named to her third consecutive All-Pac-12 Team in 2014.
On the international level, Killion played for the U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team and started for a U-20 side that won the FIFA World Championship in 2012. The crafty midfielder then made the next step in her career by being selected to the U.S. U-23 National Team, which won the 2013 Four Nations Tournament. In 2014, Killion received her first call-up to the full U.S. Women’s National Team.
With its second pick (No. 10 overall), Sky Blue FC selected defender Kristin Grubka, who is fresh off a NCAA College Cup Championship this past fall at Florida State University. Grubka started all 26 matches during her senior season at FSU, anchoring a defense that finished the season with a 24-1-1 record and allowed opponents a meager 0.341 goals per game. The 5-foot-11 Florida native accumulated 11 points on three goals and five assists, helping her school to a program record 19 shutouts during 2014.
For her college career, Grubka made 90 starts in 104 matches played, recording 44 points on 15 goals and 14 assists. Her Florida State side also made four consecutive NCAA College Cup appearances during her time in Tallahassee.
In the third round, Sky Blue FC first added New Jersey native Daphne Corboz (No. 22 overall), who had one of the most decorated careers in the history of Georgetown University. The explosive playmaker registered a total of 134 points over four seasons, scoring 47 goals and adding an additional 41 assists. Corboz, who attended Watchung Hills High School, made 80 starts in 82 matches while playing at Georgetown.
Sky Blue FC was then on the clock again in the third round when it selected Maryland defender Shade Pratt (No. 25 overall). A dual-athlete with exceptionable speed, Pratt is also a standout for the Terrapins’ track and field team. The Minnesota native is a hard-nosed defender who also has a knack for finding space on the offensive end, as was evidenced in her tallying three goals during her senior campaign this past fall.
Sky Blue FC once again had a pair of picks in the fourth round of the NWSL College Draft, with the first selection coming at No. 28 overall. At that spot, the New Jersey side opted for Stanford forward Chioma Ubogagu. The Texas native was named to the All-Pac-12 Team each season she played at Stanford, finishing her collegiate career as 4th all-time in assists (35), 10th all-time in points (89) and fourth all-time in post-season goals (4) for the Cardinal. Ubogagu also contributed 35 assists and 327 shots while at Stanford.
With its final selection (No. 34 overall), Sky Blue FC turned in the name of Stanford midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta. The California native was a NSCAA All-America and Top Drawer Soccer Best XI Second Team honoree following her senior season in the fall, recording 31 points on 13 goals and five assists. For her four-year career, LaBonta tallied 51 points on 22 goals and seven assists while accumulating 178 total shots.
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