Oklahoma State goalkeeper AD Franch was selected by the Western New York Flash with the sixth overall pick of today's National Women's Soccer League College Draft.
Franch becomes the highest-ever Cowgirl draft pick in women's professional soccer. In 2012, Melinda Mercado was the 16th overall pick (third round) by the Boston Breakers of the now defunct Women's Professional Soccer League. Kasey Langdon was a sixth-round pick of the Atlanta Beat in the 2010 WPS Draft.
"It's unbelievable; I was nervous before (the draft) started and then when it started the heart was really pounding," Franch said. "When the number six pick came up, I was excited, jumped up and gave Colin (Carmichael) and Justin (Elkington) hugs and texted a group message. It's very exciting."
OSU head coach Colin Carmichael said the sky is the limit for Franch in professional soccer and in her goal of earning a spot on the United States Women's National Team.
"We're really proud and excited for AD and can't wait to watch her play," Carmichael said. "This is the next step in her development. She's been an elite youth player and an elite college player and now she's going to be playing with elite professional women's soccer players. That's only going to make her better, probably improve her training habits and just her mentality in how she views the game. It's the next natural step in her progression, and the opportunity is there for her pursuit of playing for the National Team."
The NWSL is a new professional league that was created last November by the U.S. Soccer Federation and includes eight teams. The league, which is set to begin play in April, is being subsidized by the USSF, the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). The three federations are paying the salaries of their national team players (24 from the United States, 16 from Canada and 12 to 16 from Mexico) to aid the teams in creating world-class rosters. Earlier this month, 55 players were distributed among the eight teams in an allocation process.
"I'm gonna go do the best I can and see what happens," Franch said. "Everybody has expectations, but I think mine are always a little higher than everyone else's. That's what allows me to continue to push how I have. I'm gonna go and train as hard as I can to get a spot.
"Playing in this league, even just being able to practice against such great players all the time and being able to experience that and learn, can only make me better. When you're at a level higher than what you're used to, of course you're going to learn from it and grow, and that's only going to help me hopefully achieve my goals."
A three-time All-American at OSU, Franch capped her record-setting career this fall, starting all 20 games for the Cowgirls and recording six shutouts, 79 saves and a 1.07 goals against average. She was named to the All-Big 12 Conference First Team for the fourth time, becoming only the seventh player in Big 12 Conference history to achieve that distinction.
One of the most decorated players in Big 12 and OSU soccer history, Franch owns the OSU career record for shutouts with 38 and led the Big 12 in that category in three of her four seasons. She finished her career with 325 saves to rank second on OSU's all-time list. Franch's 38 shutouts rank sixth all time in NCAA history, and her 8,064:02 minutes in goal rank ninth on the NCAA list.