Pao Drafted by NWSL's Sky Blue FC in Third Round
Jan. 17, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. - Michelle Pao of the Pepperdine women's soccer program was selected by Sky Blue FC in the third round of today's National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft.
Pao (Cupertino, Calif./Monta Vista HS) earned NSCAA All-American second team honors in 2011 for the Waves. She was also a three-time NSCAA All-West Region pick (first team in 2013 and second team in 2011 and 2012), and became the first player in school history to earn All-West Coast Conference first team honors all four years. Pao was also named to the WCC All-Freshman team in 2010.
The NWSL, heading into its second year of existence, is the top women's professional league in the United States. Sky Blue FC, based in New Jersey, was fourth out of eight teams in the 2013 standings.
"This is an awesome honor for Michelle and a great recognition of all the hard work she put in over her four years," Pepperdine Coach Tim Ward said. "It's a special day for her and I expect her to do great things as a pro. I think it's also a great compliment to our program and the culture we've built, where we're producing some of the best players in the country. The WCC had six women picked, which also shows the strength of the conference we play in."
As a 2013 senior, Pao was fourth on the team with seven points (two goals and three assists) while largely playing defender. She had 18 career assists, good for a tie for fifth place all-time at Pepperdine. In 78 career games (70 starts), Pao also scored six goals (three game-winners) and accumulated 30 points.
With Pao's help, Pepperdine went to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2012 and won the WCC title in 2011. The Waves ended the 2013 campaign with a 10-7-2 overall record (the third year in a row with at least 10 wins and 14th time in the program's 21-year history) and in a tie for fourth place in the WCC at 5-4.
This is the second straight year that Pepperdine has had a player selected. In 2013's inaugural draft, goalkeeper Roxanne Barker was taken by Portland Thorns FC in the fourth round.