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unc_tarheelsIf you want to play women’s professional soccer,  there is one collegiate programs that seems to do a particularly good job prepping players for the big show.  In the recent 2010 Women’s Pro Soccer Draft,  seven Tar Heels were selected, including four of the first eight picks.

Tobin Heath was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Beat. Defender Whitney Engen was selected fourth by the Chicago Red Stars.

Two teammates will stick together. Midfielder Nikki Washington will once again set goals up for forward Casey Nogueria. The two were drafted by my local team – the Los Angeles Sol.

Forward Jessica McDonald was chosen in the second round. She’ll join Engen with the Chicago Red Stars. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was also taken in the second round by the St. Louis team, Athletica.

On top of that, defender Kristi Eveland was taken in the fourth round by the DC Freedom.

Led by legendary coach Anson Dorrance this graduating Tar Heel class won three national championships in four years. Dorrance has been the head coach of the North Carolina women’s soccer program since its inception in 1979 and has won 20 NCAA titles.

Following North Carolina, Santa Clara had the next largest group of players picked in the recent draft with five players selected.

Defender Jordan Angeli was picked by Boston in the second round. In the third round, forward Kiki Bosio was picked by the LA Sol and midfielder Amanda Poach went to the St.  Louis Athletica.

Defender Katherine Reynolds will join Santa Clara teammate Angeli in Boston and forward Meagan Snell is heading to Sky Blue FC.

Other college programs that are sending multiple players to the WPS include UCLA (Lauren Cheney, Kristina Larsen, Lauren Wilmoth), Wake Forest (Kaley Fountain, Jill Hutchinson, Caitlin Farrell) and Boston College, Boston University, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Portland, Rutgers, Stanford,  Washington State and West Florida.

Playing in college isn’t a prerequisite for a WPS career, but it certainly provides a great opportunity to develop as a player and be seen by the pro coaches and managers.  If your goal is playing professionally, be sure to check out the colleges mentioned here to see if any are a good athletic and academic match.

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