The Chicago Red Stars announced that they have signed recent National Women's Soccer League College Draft picks Arin Gilliland, Danielle Colaprico and Sofia Huerta to contracts for the upcoming season.
Gilliland is a former West Jessamine High School and University of Kentucky star who was the No. 8 overall pick in the draft.
"It's a dream that I've had since I was little and now it's finally a real-life thing," the 23-year-old Gilliland said, according to a report on the Red Stars' website. "This preseason has been awesome because we've seen this group get completely transformed. Comparing the first week to now is like night and day. ... I think this team has the potential to be very successful."
Red Stars Coach Rory Dames said the team drafted with the intent to add a player to each line of the field.
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"In Arin, we were able to pick up an extremely athletic and tenacious defender who has the ability to go end-line to end-line," Dames said. "She's very difficult to beat one-on-one, she's two-footed and she's fearless. Those qualities were important to us."
Gilliland, the 2014 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time All-SEC honoree, played more than 7,000 minutes at UK. She had 30 goals and 25 assists career assists. Gilliland set UK records with 278 shots — with 81 of them coming on goal — and eight game-winning goals.
Chicago's season starts Saturday, April 18, at home against Seattle. The Reign, with stars Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe, finished with the best record in the regular season in 2014.