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Smith Drafted by Racing Louisville FC

Jan 14, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. After three standout seasons with the Golden Bears, Emily Smith enters her senior season with her professional goals achieved. The defender from Los Gatos, Calif. was selected by expansion team Racing Louisville FC with the 31st overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft Wednesday evening via video conference. Smith becomes the sixth Golden Bear drafted in the last five years and the ninth Golden Bear to be drafted into the National Women's Soccer League. 

The full results from the 2021 NWSL Draft can be found here

The U.S. domestic league made adjustments to the 2021 draft in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the league allowed Division I players to enter the draft and still play their spring season before reporting to their club, so long as they do not hire an agent or sign a pro-contract.  Draft eligible student-athletes may choose whether they will report to their NWSL club immediately or at the conclusion of the spring collegiate season, which allows Smith to finish her final season with the Golden Bears this spring. 

"We are very happy for and proud of Emily in being drafted to play in the NWSL for Racing Louisville," said Cal head coach Neil McGuire. "Coach Holly has signed an outstanding player and person who has led our team with great distinction both athletically and academically. She embodies all that is good in a Cal student-athlete in the most impressive ways."

A team captain for the Bears since her sophomore season, Smith has collected multiple accolades throughout her time at Cal. As a freshman, she received Pac-12 All-Freshman honors and third team All-Pac-12 recognition. A key element in the Cal backline, Smith helped lead the Bears to 10 total shutouts both her freshman and her junior seasons. She became the first player in conference history to be named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week three times in a single season. Her junior year concluded with First-Team All-Pac-12 and First-Team All-Region honors. 

In addition to her athletic success, Smith has been a standout academically. A double major in applied mathematics and data science, she holds a GPA of 3.92. In 2018, Smith was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team and received Cal's Golden Bear Award for having the highest GPA on the team. She collected Academic All-American honors at the end of the 2019 season. 

"I am both honored and excited to be drafted by Racing Louisville FC." said Smith on draft night. "I'm so grateful for the wonderful Cal coaching that has allowed me to get to this point, and for the support of my amazing teammates."

Smith joins a newly formed Louisville team, headed by coach Christy Holly, that will enter its first season in 2021. Competition begins with the NWSL challenge cup in mid-April. The regular season will then begin in mid-May with a 24-match schedule. 

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