Just a few months ago she was lending a hand in Red Bull Arena’s Interactive Zone on game days. Now, she’s living out her dream.
Nicolette Radovcic, a former New York Red Bulls marketing intern and Rockaway, NJ native, was selected by the Portland Thorns FC in the second round of the NWSL College Draft, 16th overall, on January 18.
The 22-year-old midfielder/forward, who has watched countless soccer matches in person and on TV, will join the likes of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, two players who have undoubtedly helped shape the international soccer scene for the U.S. Women’s National Team and Canadian Women's National Team, respectively.
“It’s a dream come true,” Radovcic said. “You play soccer, you go through college, and you’re like, ‘I really want to play after college,’ but only a few people are fortunate enough to be able to play after college. So to be selected in the draft, to that team, I am just so speechless and so grateful.”
The dream started when she was just six years old, playing on fields in Rockaway. The Morris Knolls high school graduate went on to have a prolific college career at the University of Central Florida, tallying 30 goals and 16 assists in four seasons. Radovcic was the Knights’ leading goal scorer in 2011 and 2012, burying eight game-winning goals in that span. Closing out her collegiate career as MVP in the Conference USA Tournament was just icing on the cake.
And now she’s gone pro, to a new city, in a new state, in a new league that’s set to make history during its inaugural 2013 season.
"This draft not only signifies a huge opportunity for Nicolette, but a tremendous moment for the future of women's soccer,” said Red Bulls General Manager Jerome de Bontin. “We wish her and the league all the best, in this season and beyond."
With so much going on in such a short span of time, Radovcic admitted she’s still trying to digest all the information amidst the excitement stemming from Draft Day.
“I was on my phone checking Twitter, and I saw the first round went by already and I didn’t get picked,” she said, looking back on the draft. “So I put the phone down, starting doing some stuff to get ready for the morning, and then I got a text from my assistant coach and he’s like, ‘You just got drafted to Portland.’ And I started freaking out, I ran to the computer, on Twitter, and I saw it with my own eyes and I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do.”
Maybe she didn’t know what to do then, but she definitely knows what to do now as she looks to up the fitness in preparation for training alongside her new teammates.
“Without the support of my teammates, and the UCF coaching staff, I don’t think any of this would have been possible,” she said. “I’m just so excited and grateful.”