Four seasons’ worth of playing some of the best soccer in the country, and the ultimate by-product was a dream come true for two former senior members of the UCLA women’s soccer team.
Midfielder Kylie Wright and defender Lauren Barnes will soon begin their professional careers in Women’s Professional Soccer after being selected in the 2011 draft on Friday.
Wright was drafted in the first round as the No. 7 overall pick by the Atlanta Beat, while Barnes was selected No. 15 overall in the third round by the Philadelphia Independence.
For Barnes, the result was unexpected, considering she was projected to be the second-best defender available in the draft class, according to a WPS pre-draft survey.
“A lot of people said I would go higher, and I was hoping to, but I was just happy that I was drafted,” Barnes said.
Nevertheless, it marks a promising new phase for Barnes and Wright, who have been two of the most outstanding Bruins over the past four seasons.
Both players were first-team All-Pac-10 selections in November, with Barnes also earning third-team All-American honors a month later.
“I was absolutely thrilled; this has been a dream for me for quite some time,” Wright said. “My body got the chills, and my whole family and I were just screaming. It was awesome.”
Although the two friends will be playing for different teams in different states ““ Barnes was one pick shy of being selected by Atlanta, which also held the 14th pick in the draft ““ they still plan on keeping in touch.
“The first thing we said (on the phone) was, “˜How far away are we?’” Barnes said with a laugh. “We’re both excited and shocked; we can’t believe we’re professional athletes now. We’re going to try and get the same (jersey) numbers.”
Compiled by Min Kang, Bruin Sports senior staff.