Three Soccer Alumni Sign Professional Contracts
TEMPE – Three Sun Devil Soccer alumni, all graduates under head coach Graham Winkworth's tutelage, signed international professional contracts in recent weeks. Natalie Stephens and Adriana Orozco hail from the Phoenix Valley and played their entire careers at Arizona State.
The Sun Devils for Life turned Pro Devils include two 2018 graduates, Jemma Purfield and Stephens, and 2019 redshirt senior Orozco.
"It's really awesome to see these young women chase their dreams and fulfill them. We take a lot of pride in them - it's no different than making it to the NFL or NBA - it is that big for our players, and it does feel amazing because that's part of our job, and we take a lot of pride in it," said head coach Graham Winkworth.
"The type of legacy that our alumni have left is fantastic, and it really drives on our current players to follow in their footsteps. Our 2018 and 2019 graduates played around and with elite players and looked up to them as role models and fortunately have gone on to have success themselves," Winkworth continued. "It's exciting for these three players to go on and do big things in the professional world, to keep building on the legacy that our Sun Devils for Life left."
— Sun Devil Soccer (@SunDevilSoccer) July 7, 2020
Purfield leaped to the highest level of women's soccer in England this summer, signing a two-year deal with Bristol City Women's Football Club in July. In two years as a Sun Devil, the forward/defender totaled eight goals and nine assists in 37 games. The England native started her collegiate career with Winkworth at South Alabama, ultimately following her coach to the desert as a transfer. Purfield proved flexible and adaptable to her new environment and school colors, immediately making her mark in her junior campaign by leading the team in points (16) and goals (6). As a senior, Purfield doubled her three recorded assists from the previous year, leading the team with six assists on the year.
— Sun Devil Soccer (@SunDevilSoccer) August 28, 2020
Arizona native Orozco followed suit shortly after, agreeing to terms with Querétaro Futbol Club in the Liga MX Femenil of Mexico. Despite missing her senior season due to injury, the midfielder returned stronger than ever in 2019 as a redshirt senior, scoring three goals in 16 games played. She finished her Sun Devil career with seven goals, including two game-winners, in 61 games.
Grateful for my new team MTK Hungariá and the opportunity to play in the beautiful city of Budapest. Thank you @SunDevilSoccer @sereno97ecnl @SCdelSol @ArizonaSportsCo and my agent for helping me get to where I am. Excited for what is ahead. #prodevil pic.twitter.com/qgtHc9hzly
— Natalie Stephens (@NinjaNat97) September 17, 2020
Last week, 2018 graduate, Natalie Stephens signed with MTK Hungária FC out of Budapest, Hungary. Stephens flourished at ASU, earning Pac-12 Second-Team All-Academic recognition in 2016. On the pitch the next season, the forward came in clutch, scoring a goal in an overtime thriller against San Diego State. She wore the maroon and gold in 65 games, putting up three goals and three assists.