LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Thorns FC defender Emily Sonnett wasn't even at last year's NWSL College Draft.
This despite the fact that the University of Virginia standout knew ahead of time that she would be selected by Portland Thorns FC with the first overall pick of the draft.
But despite having much of the draft's charms demystified for her ahead of time, Sonnett now admits that she was still feeling all of the same nerves as the rest of her draft class.
“I remember I woke up and I was pretty nervous,” Sonnett recalls of that life-altering moment. “I watched it on the live stream...it was just really cool. They played my video. My parents were ecstatic and it was just great to get it done and move on to the next thing and get out to Portland.”
This year, ahead of U.S. Women's National Team camp in Carson, Calif., Sonnett stopped by the 2017 NWSL College Draft in Los Angelese to see just what she had missed the year before.
“It's been great getting my first real draft experience,” she said. “The girls [here at the draft] are all super excited and especially seeing some of my friends get picked and go to the different teams is pretty cool.”
Since last year's draft, Sonnett has grown as a player both for the Thorns and for the U.S. Women's National Team. She started 15 regular season matches for the Thorns in 2016, and helped lead a league-best defense that conceded just 19 goals in 20 matches.
Reflecting on all of her accomplishments over the last year, Sonnett credits the entire Thorns organization for helping her not only transition to life in the pros, but also for challenging her week-in and week-out both on and off the field.
“I think my first season with Portland was the best scenario that I could have been put in...I think being on one of the best teams in the league and having those world class players around [helped with] my development and was a key part for me to be back in L.A. for national team camp.
“I think everyone has their own story and their own ups and downs, and I think in the past year I've grown a lot and that's what it's about: working to get better,” she continued. “So the next week, the next week-and-a-half [at national team camp] should be huge, should be fun.”