Courtney Raetzman Selected 32rd Overall by Chicago Red Stars

LEXINGTON, Ky. – With the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League draft, the Chicago Red Stars selected University of Kentucky standout Courtney Raetzman, who becomes the second UK player drafted in the last two years to the Red Stars. 

“I’m overjoyed to be starting my professional career off with the Red Stars,” Raetzman said. “They were a team that I had my eye on all day and I’m excited that Rory (Dames) and the organization had the belief in me to select me. I want to thank everyone at Kentucky for the last four helping me reach the point that I’m at today. It’s exciting to be able play so close to home, and obviously with Arin Gilliland, who I played with for two years at UK. I’m anxious to get started, and can’t wait to get to work.”

Raetzman, a native of Elk Grove, Ill., started all 70 games that she appeared in during her four years in Lexington, playing over 6,000 minutes on the pitch, good for a top-10 spot all-time at UK in minutes played. She scored 12 goals, had 16 assists, and registered over 100 shots in her time in the Bluegrass. 

She was named to the Southeastern Conference’s All-Freshman Team in her rookie campaign in 2012, before an MCL injury sidelined her for the second half of the 2013 season, where she was on pace to set multiple career highs. She returned to full force in 2014 to become First Team All-SEC for the first time in her career, joining Gilliland and three others as UK’s five representatives on the SEC postseason teams that season. 

In 2015, Raetzman was named First Team All-SEC for the first time in her career after scoring three goals, including the game-winner against No. 20 Washington in the season opening match, assisting on seven goals and tallying a total of 13 points on 24 shots. She started all 20 games of her senior campaign and drew the eye of many of the nation’s best soccer minds along the way. 

“I could not be more excited for Courtney to begin her career in Chicago.” Lipsitz said. “Rory Dames is an incredible coach and a great soccer mind that will help to mold Courtney into the player we all know she can and will be. She is a player that gives unbelievable effort every day in training and plays her best on the biggest stages under the most pressure. Courtney is a testament to what kind of development can happen when you have the heart and passion of a champion. The entire coaching staff, as well as our team, former players and the Big Blue Nation will always hold a special place in our hearts for Courtney and we can’t wait to see her play at the next level this spring. I also want to thank her for helping take Kentucky to the next level in her time here, and I look forward to following her every step of the way.” 

Raetzman joins 2014 graduate Arin Gilliland, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2015 NSWL Draft and is a starting defender for the Red Stars, headed by Rory Dames. The NWSL schedule for 2016 will be released at a later date. 

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