“I’m not getting drafted.”
It was the morning of the National Women’s Soccer League’s inaugural college draft when senior forward Colleen Williams turned to her roommate with her decision. The first rounds had been called and as they sat, glued to Twitter, looking for 140 characters that included her name, Williams was nervous. But then, at the beginning of the fourth round, she saw her name and “we all started screaming,” she said. “That day was really fun.”
Colleen Williams is a professional soccer player, drafted by the Washington Spirit.
This is a landmark achievement not only for her, but for American women’s soccer. The National Women’s Soccer League is brand new and Williams is joining a Washington, DC, team that has never before played together. For the eight teams in the league and the women signing on the opportunity is tremendous, and Williams is handling the pressure.
“I think that makes it exciting,” she said. “Before, my only option was to play overseas, which would have been a great experience but I’m so fortunate that I’m only going to be three hours away from all my family [in New Jersey].”
There is much ahead for Williams, who has yet to sign her contract, practice with her team or meet her new coach, a Dayton native. She is also cramming to finish her coursework before the preseason starts March 11, lucky to be able to manipulate her schedule to get there on time and still graduate.
“I think that’s one thing that is awesome about UD,” she smiled. “Everyone really wants you to succeed. A lot of my professors are really accommodating.” Many from other colleges will not be reporting to practice until May, she said, because their programs will not allow for it.
Williams is living her dream: Graduating from college drafted to a professional soccer team in the United States is more than she could have hoped for as a child. However, she’s still hesitant to admit she’s “made it.”
“I don’t want to be like ‘Oh, I’m a professional athlete.’ I haven’t even gone through preseason yet!” she admitted. But as far as how it feels to be considered a pro, “I’m excited for what’s ahead. This is what I’ve wanted since I was a little girl,” she said. “It’s awesome!”