Lillie Toaspern pursues pro career with the Chicago Red Stars
|Lillie Toaspern in preseason action for the Chicago Red Stars.|
While the women's national team grabbed the spotlight in capturing the World Cup, recent Washington University graduate Lillie Toaspern quietly continued her quest to carve out a professional soccer career for herself. In March, the two-time D3soccer.com and NSCAA All-American was one of ten undrafted college players brought into the Chicago Red Stars' preseason camp in search of a spot on the team's 20-woman roster. Toaspern would appear in four of five pre-season contests, but in the end was not offered a contract with the senior squad which competes in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the top women's league in the United States. She was, however, offered an amateur spot in their reserve squad that competes in the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL).
Toaspern accepted the offer with the agreement that she could first return to school to finish her course work and earn her degree in Global Health and Environment. She rejoined the team after her final class on April 24 knowing that with Chicago starters Julie Johnston, Christen Press, Shannon Boxx, and Lori Chalupny off on national team duty from the start of May, the door would be open for reserve team members to be called into the senior squad over the next two months. On May 9, Toaspern dressed for the Red Stars' senior team for the first time when she was among the side's seven substitutes for their match verus the Boston Breakers. Though she was not called into action in the 3-0 win, it was another milestone moment for the 2014 D3soccer.com Midfielder of the Year. As the national team kicked-off their World Cup run, Toaspern was again named in the Red Stars' gameday squad, but remained an unused substitute.
|Toaspern pursuing her passion in a Chicago Red Stars jersey.|
Toaspern knows that it is not going to be easy and that it is going to take a lot of hard work, but she is following her passion, not ready to see her playing days end. It was only after the completion of her senior season with the Washington University Bears that Toaspern, realizing she was not ready for life without soccer, began to pursue a playing career beyond college. A highlight video was compiled and she entered the 2015 NWSL draft. Though unselected, invitations to tryouts were extended by Houston Dash, Western New York Flash and Chicago. Opting for the latter, Toaspern set off on the next phase of her playing career after a decorated collegiate career.
Beyond the aforementioned honors, Toaspern was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Most Valuable Player as a senior, leading the Bears with 9 goals and a personal best 11 assists, both team highs which also ranked third and second in the conference, respectively. Her quality as both provider and finisher resulted in a UAA-best 29 points as she got her name on the score sheet in 14 of 19 games. Consistently dependable and productive over four seasons, the four-time All-UAA award winner finished her collegiate career with 41 goals (11 game-winners) and 31 assists.
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