Former Loyola women’s soccer player Jenna Szczesny is set to play professional soccer for the Chicago Red Stars next year, it was announced Thursday.
Szczesny was selected as the 35th overall pick of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Draft. She’s the first NWSL draft pick in Loyola’s history and the program’s first professional draft pick since Cynthia Morote-Ariza, who was selected by the Boston Breakers in the fifth round of the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer draft.
Szczesny, a native of northwestern suburb Hoffman Estates, will remain close to home to begin her professional career. The selection comes after a four-year career at Loyola which saw her finish second all-time with 84 points and 32 goals scored. During her senior season in 2018, Szczesny led the Ramblers with 11 goals and seven assists as they made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007.
“What a way for to cap off a banner year for both Jenna and our program,” Loyola head coach Barry Bimbi said in a statement. “I know she will work hard to help the Red Stars bring home a championship.”
The Red Stars, who play at SeatGeek Stadium in southern suburb Bridgeview, are one of nine teams in the NWSL. They’re coming off a season in which they finished in fourth place with a 9-10-5 record before falling to the North Carolina Courage — the eventual champions — 2-0.
The Red Stars’ season start date for the 2019 season hadn’t been released at the time of publication.