PALO ALTO (AP) — Defender Tierna Davidson, who decided to skip her senior season at Stanford to play professionally in the National Women’s Soccer League, went to the Chicago Red Stars with the No. 1 pick in the league’s draft Thursday.

Davidson, named U.S. Soccer’s Young Player of the Year for her play last season, is also a hopeful for the team that will represent the United States at this year’s World Cup in France.

“I’m very excited to start my club career in Chicago — it’s my kind of town,” Davidson said in a recorded message that was played at the draft in Chicago.

Davidson, 19, is currently training with the U.S. team in Portugal ahead of two European exhibition games. The defending World Cup champions play France on Jan. 19 and Spain on Jan. 22.

Sky Blue selected Hailie Mace out of UCLA with the second pick in the draft.

Davidson played mostly at center back in her 12 appearances last year with the national team, all starts, and she belied her age with her composure on the ball and technical savvy. She scored her first goal, a header off a corner kick, against Chile.

Davidson’s junior season with Stanford was cut short when she fractured her ankle in a game against North Carolina in September.

Davidson told The Associated Press last month that she was focused on making the U.S. roster and was concerned about how to juggle that with Stanford’s rigorous academic requirements.

The league adopted rules that allow players who are 18 to enter the draft with college eligibility remaining.

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