West Virginia University women's soccer forward Frances Silva was selected by FC Kansas City today with the 19th overall pick at the 2014 National Women's Soccer League College Draft in Philadelphia.
The first selection in the third round, Silva, an Overland Park, Kan., native, was selected by her hometown team.
"This is a huge opportunity for me," says the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year. "I'm excited to go home. My parents have had to travel so far over my four-year WVU career, so to have the chance to play in front of my friends and family is very exciting. I think this is a good fit, and I'm excited to see what happens."
Silva is the second Mountaineer to advance to the league, as Bry McCarthy was assigned to the Western New York Flash last January at the onset of the league's inaugural season.
"Today was nerve-wracking, but I am thrilled for Frances," says Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, who joined Silva at the draft. "With Bry's assignment last year, we weren't really a part of the draft and the excitement. Today had a different feel, and the anticipation was thrilling.
"I think this is a good fit for Frances. I have talked to some of the team's staff, and they're high on her. She is such a technical player, and she'll be able to do all the things they want her to do. I was hoping she would end up in Kansas, and I think both parties are going to be pleased with this pairing and will see success."
The Blues finished the 2013 regular season with an 11-6-5 record, good enough for second place, and earned a playoff invitation. The squad dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Portland Thorns FC in the championship semifinal match on Aug. 24; Portland went on to win the inaugural NWSL Championship.
Today's selection caps off an incredibly successful senior season for Silva. A member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire All-America Second Team, Silva was one of 15 semifinalists for the 2013 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy. She led the Big 12 Conference in goals (15), assists (13) and points (43) and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. Silva also was named to the 2013 Soccer America MVP Second Team.
Just as strong in the classroom, the sport management graduate student was named the Big 12 Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year earlier this month. Additionally, she was named the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year and to the NSCAA Women's Scholar All-America First Team.
Silva led the Mountaineers to two Big 12 titles this season, as the team won its second straight regular-season championship and its first Big 12 Soccer Tournament. The Mountaineers (16-4-3, 7-1 Big 12) finished the year ranked No. 12 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire College Rankings and advanced to their 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. WVU finished its season with a 1-0 loss at No. 1-seed Virginia Tech in the second round on Nov. 22.