By Joseph Staszewski
Rachel Daly followed up her record-breaking career at St. John’s with a historic first as a professional.
She became the first English player ever selected in the National Women’s Soccer League college draft when she was picked No. 6 overall by the Houston Dash. The Harrogate, England native set St. John’s career records with 50 goals and 111 points in just three seasons, and she led the nation with 23 goals in 2013.
Daly was the second part of a three-person draft class for the Dash, which plays from April to September.
“With Rachel, we were a little surprised that she was available,” Dash coach Randy Waldrum told the team’s official site. “I think we got a player that has experience playing in the college system here and scored a ton of goals, and she’s got international experience as well, which is an added dimension that we’re excited about.”
Daly feels a bond with Waldrum building already, and was flattered by his praise and the faith he showed in her.
“It’s huge for me,” Daly told the team’s official website. “I spoke to Randy a few times. He’s spoken highly of me and I’ve heard a lot of great things about him. Just the mutual connection we have for the love of soccer was huge. To be picked by him is obviously fantastic for me.”
Daly was a NSCAA All-America and a MAC Hermann trophy semifinalist in 2015, after scoring 19 goals—third-most in the nation and tops in the Big East. Waldrum is excited to put her skill set to use.
“Technically, Rachel fits better the style we want to play. Even though she is a little bit shorter, she has that same toughness,” he said. “A lot of the goals she scored, if you have seen her play, she is getting her body thrown in there into the mix. She can do that, but she is technically clean enough to come back and get the ball and distribute.”
The Red Storm made the NCAA tournament twice during Daly’s tenure and enjoyed unprecedented success. In 2015, she helped St. John’s set a program record for wins with 15 and the team won its first-ever Big East regular season title.
Daly played defense when she was away from Queens, playing internationally and with the L.A. Blues of the pro-am W-League, where she was an All-Conference selection last summer. That versatility is something she believes will also help her at the next level.
“With me being able to play multiple positions, I think that helps [Waldrum], with picking me,” Daly said. “
She is eager to get started with a team that features U.S. Women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd.
“I can’t wait,” Daly said. “It’s been a couple of months since I finished college. I just can’t wait to get playing and be amongst a team again and meet everyone.”