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SJU soccer star Rachel Daly is big success in pros

Former St. John’s women’s soccer star Rachel Daly was dominant during her rookie season with the Houston Dash.
Houston Dash/Wilf Thorne
By Laura Amato

Rachel Daly was one of the most dominant soccer players in St. John’s history, so it should come as no surprise that the former Red Storm standout is just as dominant at the next level.

Daly—who was selected sixth overall by the Houston Dash in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft—was named a finalist for the league’s Rookie of the Year. While she didn’t pick up the award, Red Storm coach Ian Stone says this is only the first step for Daly.

“Rachel just continues to make us proud, not just the coaching staff, but everyone involved in the program,” Stone said. “It’s not easy to be a rookie in a professional league and that’s a very high standard of soccer—probably the best league in the world. For her to do as well as she did, have as much of an impact, is really a testament to her maturity and drive.”

Daly hit the ground running as a professional this spring, scoring a goal and assisting on another in her Dash debut April 16. It was the first time the Dash had ever defeated the Chicago Red Stars.

She earned NWSL Player of the Week honors for her debut and Daly didn’t falter once throughout her rookie campaign.

The United Kingdom native racked up four goals and four assists in 16 games this season. She finished third on the squad in goals and led the team in assists.

“She’s really dedicated herself to be as fit as she can be,” Stone said. “She looks stronger to me, she looks fitter and, as a result, I think she’s defended better this season.”

Of course, this is exactly the kind of performance Daly put on during the course of her career in Queens.

In three seasons, Daly tallied 50 goals and a whopping 111 points—both program records. She also finished in the top three nationally in scoring twice, even leading the nation with 23 goals in 2013.

Daly also got used to picking up accolades while competing for the Red Storm. By the time she graduated, Daly was a two-time NSCAA All-American, a two-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year and a three-time First Team All-Big East selection.

Those kinds of numbers—not to mention the performance Daly put on with the Dash this year—have helped reshape the entire St. John’s women’s soccer program.

“The main thing, I think, is both from a recruiting standpoint and for players who are already in the program, they see that a career like Rachel’s is a viable option out of St. John’s,” Stone said. “It’s really something where it’s an expectation and aspiration now.”

He may not be her coach anymore, but Stone is still one of Daly’s biggest fans and, he’s certain this is only the start of her soccer-playing journey.

She’s about to get used to racking up accolades at the professional level as well.

“You just take a step back though and it really does allow you to see what a great soccer player she is,” Stone said.

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