Meet the Red Stars’ 2021 draft class

Four of the five players selected won’t report to training camp Feb. 1, but their rights belong to the team until the 2022 preseason.

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Channing Foster was selected 32nd overall int he 2021 NWSL draft by the Chicago Red Stars.

Petre Thomas/Ole Miss Athletics

The Red Stars welcomed a deep draft class in an unorthodox but nonetheless exciting way.

Four of the five players selected won’t report to training camp Feb. 1, but their rights belong to the team until the 2022 preseason.

Here are the players joining the Red Stars sometime in the next year:

Madison Haley, Stanford, forward

Haley was drafted with the Red Stars’ first pick and seventh overall. According to the team, the Dallas native will remain with Stanford through the spring NCAA season. In her Stanford career, Haley has 18 goals and 23 assists in 57 games (36 starts). She’s a two-time NCAA champion (2017, 2019).

Kelsey Turnbow, Santa Clara, forward

The Red Stars took Turnbow 18th overall. After being drafted, she said she won’t join the team until 2022 so she can earn her master’s degree.

Turnbow, a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, and fellow 2021 Red Stars draftee Channing Foster were texting throughout the draft. They met working out in Nashville, Tennessee, over winter break. After Turnbow was selected, Foster immediately sent a text congratulating her. Turnbow responded saying, “I hope we get to play together one day.”

Two rounds, 14 picks and 20 minutes later, it was Turnbow’s turn to congratulate Foster. “One day is sooner than I thought,” she texted.

Brianna Alger, Washington State, defender

The Red Stars selected Alger in the third round with the 25th overall pick. Alger, a native of Monument, Colorado, is the lone defender in the team’s draft class, which isn’t surprising considering the depth and experience the Red Stars have on the back line. Alger plans to return to school to complete her eligibility, so fans probably won’t see what the left-footer can do until 2022.

Channing Foster, Mississippi, forward/midfielder

Taken 32nd overall, with a pick the Red Stars acquired from the Portland Thorns, Foster has familiarity with the team and coach Rory Dames. She played with Eclipse Select for two years.

With her extra year of college eligibility, Foster wants to fine-tune her skills as a two-sided player and increase her speed of play.

After being drafted, old social-media posts from Foster surfaced that were, in her words, extremely ignorant. The posts included tweets in support of Donald Trump and an Instagram photo in which she appeared to be mocking Asian culture with a caption that read, “Asian Persuasion.”

Foster, a native of Murray, Kentucky, has shared a detailed apology on Twitter, saying her comments contributed to a racist culture.

“It broke my heart knowing my words could have an impact so big and so hurtful,” Foster told the Sun-Times.

Alissa Gorzak, Virginia, forward

After the Red Stars selected the Naperville native with their final pick, Dames sent her a text that said, “Welcome home, Gorzak.”

The 35th overall pick is another former Eclipse Select player. Gorzak will opt out of Virginia’s spring season and report to Red Stars camp. She knows she’s joining a deep, experienced roster but is confident her one-on-one abilities will help her earn a contract.

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