The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team has opened a pipeline to Chicago.
Former Wildcat Courtney Raetzman, a fourth-round draft pick of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars in January, made the team’s final roster for the 2016 regular season, which was announced Monday.
Raetzman will become a pro teammate of former UK teammate Arin Gilliland, who was a first-round draft pick and rookie standout for the Red Stars last season.
Raetzman, a native of Elk Grove, Ill., who played club soccer in Chicago for Sockers FC, is one of seven midfielders on the 19-player Chicago roster.
Raetzman, who stands 4-foot-11, started all 70 games that she appeared in during her four years in Lexington, playing more than 6,000 minutes, good for a top-10 spot all-time at UK. She scored 12 goals, had 16 assists, and took more than 100 shots.
She was named to the Southeastern Conference’s All-Freshman Team in 2012, before an injury to a knee ligament sidelined her for the second half of the 2013 season. She returned to full force in 2014 to become second team All-SEC , joining Gilliland and three other UK players on SEC postseason teams that season.
In 2015, Raetzman was named first team All-SEC after scoring three goals and getting seven assists.
“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 (head coach) Rory (Dames) and the organization had the belief in me to select me. ... It’s exciting to be able play so close to home, and obviously with Arin Gilliland.”
The Red Stars finished 8-3-9 in 2015 and return 12 players, including four players from the U.S. women’s national team: Christen Press, Julie Johnston, Alyssa Naeher and Danielle Colaprico.