The Chicago Red Stars selected Stanford and United States women’s national team defender Tierna Davidson with the first overall pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft, which is taking place Thursday afternoon at McCormick Place.
The team acquired the rights to the selection (along with the No. 7 overall pick, which it traded to the Washington Spirit) last year by trading star player Christen Press to Utah Royals FC.
Davidson, 20, has been one of the top players in the country since her arrival at Stanford. In 2017, she earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and led the Cardinal to the national championship.
The defender has also made 12 appearances for the United States senior national team. She scored her first international goal in a friendly against Chile on Aug. 31, 2018.
The Red Stars last had the first overall pick in 2013, which they used used to pick Zakiya Bywaters out of UCLA. Bywaters played three seasons for the team before being waived in 2016.
The Stars have five more picks in Thursday’s draft: No. 15, No. 20, No. 24, No. 26 and No. 33. They acquired the No. 20 pick and a 2020 first-round pick from the Spirit for the seventh pick.
The NWSL also announced Thursday that roster sizes had been set to a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 22. The salary cap for each team has been increased to $421,500, with a max salary of $46,200.