The 2017 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention officially kicked off its first of four days on Thursday evening at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The convention is considered one of the largest soccer conventions in the country, gathering over 5,000 domestic and international coaches.

As part of the kick off, Cal South hosted a networking even at its booth, welcoming thousands attendees and sharing the Cal South philosophy. Coaches and organizations from all over the country came together at Cal South’s booth, sharing their experiences and soccer knowledge.

But before the evening came about, over a dozen former Cal South players were eager to learn their fate as the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) hosted its annual College Draft at the JW Marriott in Downtown Los Angeles. In just the first round, three Southern California players were selected.

Slammers FC’s Kayla Mills and Maddie Bauer, as well as Arsenal FC’s Ifeoma Onumonu were selected in the First Round in the fourth, sixth and eighth selections, respectively.

Mills, selected by Sky Blues FC from the University of Southern California, was ecstatic to hear her name called, completing a life dream of becoming a professional soccer player. But Mills credits her time in youth soccer to helping her get to where she is today.

“Always competing at the highest level during that time is an awesome experience and definitely necessary just because you have to see if you can hang and you can compete,” she said. “Putting yourself in an environment to thrive and be among the best is crucial in being in the league and being amongst the best early on.”

Like Mills, Rancho Cucamonga native Onumonu, shares the same beliefs. Competing in Cal South tournaments like State Cup and National Cup, have prepared her to compete amongst the very best in the country on a collegiate level, and now, at a professional level.

“A lot of the players, I’ve noticed, come from Southern California,” she said. “Playing in Southern California and being around clubs like Slammers, Surf, really prepared me to be in a competitive environment. The Cal South program really puts you in the competitive program you want to be in.” 

Additionally, three other Cal South alumnae were selected in the NWSL College Draft. Arsenal FC’s Katie Johnson and Real So Cal’s Arielle Ship are headed to the Reign, while former So Cal Blues goalkeeper Samantha Prudhomme is headed to the Boston Breakers.

Cal South will provide more coverage from the NSCAA Convention and will be live from the Major League Soccer (MLS) Draft when it takes place on Friday morning in Downtown Los Angeles. If you plan on coming down to the convention, stop by Booth #911 to grab your Cal South goodies and enter to win prizes!