Two members of the Virginia women’s soccer team were taken in the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League Draft Wednesday night. Senior midfielder Taryn Torres was taken in the third round as she was selected by Sky Blue FC with the 23rd overall pick. Senior forward Alissa Gorzak was selected in the fourth round by the Chicago Red Stars with the 35th overall pick.
Since the NWSL Draft began nine years ago, Virginia has had 18 players drafted into the league, including at least one player each year. Notable picks include current U.S. Women’s National Team players Morgan Brian and Emily Sonnett as well as 2020 graduates Courtney Petersen, Phoebe McClernon and Zoe Morse, each selected in last year’s draft.
Frisco, Texas native Torres joins Sky Blue FC after four successful seasons at Virginia. The midfielder started 60-of-67 matches as a Cavalier and was an All-ACC selection three times. Torres saw success on the pitch early in her college career as she was named a United Soccer Coaches All-Region third-team selection and an All-ACC third team and All-Freshman selections in her first season with Virginia.
Called up to play on the U20 USWNT in the 2018 FIFA U20 World Cup, Torres missed the season-opener her sophomore year but went on to start 19 matches and record two goals with six assists in the 2018-2019 season. In total, Torres has recorded 11 goals and 10 assists as a Cavalier, guiding Virginia to victory with three game-winning goals and four assists. Off the pitch, Torres was also named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll and the All-ACC Academic Team.
In her five seasons as a Cavalier, redshirt senior Gorzak has played in 82 games and recorded five goals and 13 assists. Gorzak was named a Third Team All-ACC selection and ACC All-Freshman Team selection in 2016, but sustained an injury just six matches into her sophomore year, sidelining her for the remainder of the season. Returning in 2018, the forward played in all 22 matches for 772 minutes and had eight points on the year — coming from two goals and four assists. Since her return in 2018, Gorzak played in 54 of the team’s 56 matches, tallying five points, one goal and three assists in 2019 as well as being named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll.
Both Sky Blue FC and the Chicago Red Stars added five players to their rosters in Wednesday night’s draft. Notably, Torres joins third-overall pick Brianna Pinto, a breakout star at the midfield position for North Carolina and the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. With the seventh overall pick the Chicago Red Stars selected Stanford’s Madison Haley, who will join Gorzak on the attacking front.
Torres and Gorzak will report to their respective team camps Feb. 1 to begin preseason training in preparation for the 2021 Challenge Cup. The tournament is scheduled to begin in mid-April, taking place in multiple bubble locations. The regular season begins in mid-May and each of the league’s 10 teams are set to play 24 matches prior to the start of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in July 2021.