Three Virginia women’s soccer players were drafted in the 2020 NWSL Draft Thursday. The defending trio of Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon and Zoe Morse were all taken in the first three rounds.
Petersen was drafted in the first round with the seventh overall pick, McClernon in the second round with the 14th overall pick and Morse in the third round with the 19th overall pick. Historically, Virginia has had at least one player selected in each NWSL Draft and 16 total in the event’s eight-year history. With three picks, the Cavaliers tied UCLA with the most players drafted of any college soccer team this year.
Defender Courtney Petersen
Petersen was selected by the Orlando Pride with the seventh overall pick after an incredible season with Virginia. During her career with the Cavaliers, Petersen had 58 starts in 78 games, scoring five goals and assisting 12 others. The defender was a crucial playmaker for Virginia, serving assists on three game-winning goals and guiding the team to 52 shutouts during her four years in Charlottesville.
"Being drafted is a dream come true,” Petersen said. “I am so thankful for my teammates and coaches at U.Va. pushing me to be the best I can be. Playing at U.Va. was one dream of mine, and now it's very exciting to be playing in the NWSL."
Defender Phoebe McClernon
McClernon joins Petersen in Orlando, drafted by the Pride in the second round with the 14th overall pick.
"It means the world to have been drafted by Orlando,” McClernon said. “I am so excited to see girls I have played with the last four years get this opportunity and especially that I will be playing with Courtney down in Florida. I am so grateful to our coaching staff for all of the support.”
Another star defender for Virginia, McClernon was a key contributor to the Cavaliers’ back line in her four-year career. A three-time All-ACC selection and an All-American in 2018, McClernon had 69 career starts and played in 88 games total, helping Virginia post 48 shutouts and recording one goal against No. 5 Penn State her sophomore season.
Defender Zoe Morse
The Chicago Red Stars selected Morse in the third round with the 19th overall pick.
"I am so honored to be given this opportunity by Chicago to follow my dreams,” Morse said. “There is no way I would have gotten to this point without all of the incredible people here at U.Va. I am so grateful for every single person who has helped me along the way — from our tremendous staff to my loving teammates.”
Morse, a captain for Virginia her junior and senior year, started 85 of 86 games in her four seasons with the Cavaliers. The defender made her mark in the classroom in addition to on the field, as she was a two-time selection to the ACC Women’s Soccer All-Academic Team as well as a CoSIDA Academic All-District player.
Morse was similarly a key force on Virginia’s defense, helping the team post 48 shutouts and scoring four goals and three assists during her college career.