Los Angeles, California (January 12, 2017)- The North Carolina Courage selected four players in its first National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, the club announced today. The NC Courage selected F Ashley Hatch (Brigham Young University), F Darian Jenkins (UCLA), D Claire Wagner (Clemson), and F Jaycie Johnson (Nebraska) as the second, seventh, 20th and 27th picks respectively.
“We’re excited about our selections,” said North Carolina Courage President and General Manager Curt Johnson. “We got a lot of attacking fire power and we were able to solidify our defense with the addition of Cary native Claire Wagner so we are pleased.”
The Courage originally had three selections going into the draft, however a trade with the Portland Thorns during the second round gave the club an additional pick.
Hatch played collegiately at Brigham Young University. The forward has scored 47 goals and recorded 21 assists for the Cougars in her four years on the team, earning her All-WCC First Team honors. Her senior year, Hatch was the first player in the nation to score 10 and 15 goals in the 2016 NCAA Season. She was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy Award and scored two hat tricks in 2016. The Gilbert, Arizona native was also invited to the U.S. Women’s National Team Soccer camp on October 15, 2016. She is currently on the U-23 USWNT training camp roster.
“I’m super honored and excited,” said Hatch. “I’ve heard lots of great things about North Carolina. I’ve never been so it’ll be an adventure. I feel like I’m an aggressive forward that likes to work hard on defense. I’m excited to learn and develop as a player.”
Jenkins, a forward from Riverton, Utah, was a standout striker at the University of California - Los Angeles. She totaled 29 goals in four seasons and earned Second Team NSCAA All-Pacific Region honors. Jenkins was selected to the U-20 National Team’s final camp prior to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and started for the U.S. U-18 National Team at the 2014 10 Nations Tournament. She also represented the U.S. National Team in the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Championship to qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
“There are no words for it,” said Jenkins. “I’m so happy that North Carolina had faith in me. I have a few teammates from UCLA on the team, so I’m excited and I can’t wait to be with them. I’m hoping for lots of goals and some good soccer for our fans next season.”
Wagner, a Cary, NC native, comes to the NC Courage from Clemson University. In 2016, Wagner played in 23 games and scored four goals for the Tigers. The year before, she started 15 games where she scored 11 points as a defender including three goals. Wagner played locally for Capital Area Soccer League and graduated from Panther Creek High School in Cary. She was also a member of the U-17 Women’s National Team that competed in the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2012.
"I can't even describe the feeling of being drafted to the NC Courage," said Wagner. "It seems surreal to get the opportunity to be able to play in my hometown and I can't thank the organization enough for believing in me. I'm truly humbled by this and excited for the future."
A native of Kansas City, MS, Johnson played collegiately for the University of Nebraska for four seasons. The forward scored 42 goals in 73 games played. Johnson was named to First Team NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region and Third Team NSCAA All-American in 2016. She also earned All-Big Ten First Team honors in 2016. Johnson was a member of the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team in 2015. As a freshman, she was a standout as she was the first freshman in NCAA Tournament history to score four goals in a match.
“I’m honored and humbled that North Carolina Courage is allowing me to continue my playing career,” said Johnson. “I’m very excited to rehab and get back with the team to show them what I am capable of doing. I saw pictures of the great facility the Courage will be playing in and am fired up to come and experience it first-hand.”
Season tickets for the North Carolina Courage are currently on sale. Priority seating will be given to North Carolina FC Season Ticket Members, Flex Members and individual membership holders. Please contact the North Carolina Football Club box office at 919-459-8144 to secure your spot.
About the NWSL
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a ten-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. The clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, and the Washington Spirit. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.
About North Carolina Courage
The North Carolina Courage is a professional women’s soccer team that plays in the NWSL. NC Courage, the reigning NWSL champion, plays their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. For more information, please visit www.NCCourage.com or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.