Canadian Beckie goes eighth in NWSL draft

Janine Beckie, left, in action for Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games. (Peter Power/CP)

Janine Beckie’s first professional team is going to bring a sense of homecoming to the Canadian striker.

Beckie, 21, was selected eighth overall by the Houston Dash in Friday’s 2016 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft in Baltimore, which means she’ll remain in the same state where she recently wrapped up her impressive college career.

Beckie will join Canadian teammate Lauren Sesselmann in Houston.

Beckie had four memorable seasons at Texas Tech, putting up 57 goals and 16 assists in 90 games. She earned back-to-back Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year nods in Lubbock and was named to the All-Big 12 first team on four occasions.

In her senior year, Beckie was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Award as the top player in women’s college soccer. She suited up in 23 matches in 2015, where her 14 goals ranked 18th in the NCAA. She finished her college stint as the all-time leader in goals scored at Texas Tech.

“She was somebody that we wanted all along, and we were really happy that things played out in the draft that we could get her at eight,” Houston coach Randy Waldrum said after the draft.

“She also has that international experience,” Waldrum added. “She’ll be an allocated player from Canada and has a great chance of making their Olympic team [for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil].”

What the Dash get with Beckie is a speedy striker with a true nose for goal. She’s already shown she can score at international level. She’s scored three goals in nine appearances with Canada, most recently last month during a four-nation tournament in Brazil, where she netted twice over four contests.

Although born in Colorado, Beckie is eligible to play for Canada because both of her parents are Canadian.

Beckie’s time in the NWSL will help hone her skill set and tactical abilities, as she looks to become a mainstay on the Canadian roster. She’s currently at camp with the senior team in Vancouver, preparing for February’s CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Texas.

Beckie’s selection by Houston marks the fifth time a Canadian has been picked in the NWSL College Draft since the league’s inception in 2013.

Others include Rachel Quon (2013—Chicago, 2nd round – 9th overall), Nkem Ezurike (2014—Boston, 1st round – 8th overall), Sabrina D’Angelo (2015—Western New York, 3rd round – 21st overall) and Nicole Setterlund (2015—Chicago, 3rd round – 27th overall).

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