On January 10, a dream came true for FC WI alum Kate Del Fava as she was drafted 12th overall in the 2020 NWSL Draft by the Utah Royals. Del Fava became the 2nd FC WI player drafted in the last 5 years, and the 4th club player to move on to the NWSL in the past 5 years.
Even after setting almost every possible record in the Missouri Valley Conference and at Illinois State, being drafted is never a certainty when you are being evaluated against every single player in the country - and when there are only a few roster spots available in the 9 teams in the NWSL.
"My first reaction to being drafted was shock, and then I just fel so grateful and excited for the journey and opportunity ahead," said Del Fava. "I thinking looking back on my youth career, I now realize that the path I took and the experiences I had set me up to potentially play professionally, but at the time it was only a dream. I didn't know it would become a reality, so I am so thankful for the youth experience I had that helped me get here."
Del Fava will head into pre-season in Salt Lake City in a few weeks. "I'm really excited to meet the team and learn so much in my first pre-season. Hopefully I will just keep improving as a soccer player and a person."
Del Fava also reflected back on her time as a youth player. "The relationships I've made are what stand out to me most looking back at my time at FC Wisconsin. The coaching staff and my teammates are people that still mean so much to me, and I know this wouldn't be possible without their guidance and support."
"Kate was an exceptional young player, but not only because of her performance on the field," said Director Christian Lavers. "She was most exceptional because we never had to talk to her about work rate, commitment, or focus. It sounds cliche, but she always showed up ready to push herself, she was eager for feedback, and she consistently tried to apply the information we gave. You can never really say 'we saw this coming,' but we can very easily say that very, very few players in the country are as humble, and listen as intently to the information and recommendations they are given, as she did. Those characteristics set her foundation, and they are certainly what helped her go on to Illinois State and continue to improve every day. We are really happy for her."