One of the greatest players in Colorado women’s soccer history didn’t have to wait long to hear her name called during the National Women’s Soccer League draft on Thursday.
Taylor Kornieck, who graduated as CU’s all-time leader in points, was selected third overall, by the Orlando Pride. Orlando, which finished ninth in the nine-team league last season, traded up in the first round to get Kornieck, a 6-foot-1 midfielder from Henderson, Nev.
“It’s surreal,” she said during an interview on the NWSL’s draft broadcast. “I am just so grateful to be here, I’m so humbled to be here. I’m speechless, honestly.”
This is the fourth year in a row that CU has had a player selected in the NWSL draft, and she is the fifth player drafted in the eight-year history of the league.
Kornieck is the first Buffs player taken in the first round. CU’s last first-round pick in a pro league was Nikki Marshall, who was the seventh pick in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer draft.
“I want to thank the Orlando Pride organization for drafting me and allowing me to live out my dream as a professional soccer player,” Kornieck said at the draft podium on Thursday.
Kornieck also thanked her family and coaches and “my teammates and everybody at the University of Colorado for everything they’ve done for me and allowing me to become the person and the player that I am today.”
Orlando has made a habit of drafting Buffs. In 2017, the Pride selected Danica Evans in the third round. Last year, Erin Greening was a third-round pick of the Pride. Both played with the Pride last season, but Evans recently announced she will play overseas. Kornieck will be reunited with Greening.
“I’m real excited,” Kornieck said. “She was one of my closest friends back in Colorado, so I’m really excited to play with her.”
Kornieck graduated as CU’s all-time leader in points (102), assists (24) and points per game (1.24). Her 39 goals rank second in CU history.
As a senior, Kornieck had career highs of 30 points and 12 goals. Kornieck is the second player in CU history to earn All-American honors twice.
Each of the first four picks on Thursday were from the Pac-12.
CU’s NWSL draft picks:
2013 – Amy Barczuk, 2nd round (14th overall), New York
2017 – Danica Evans, 3rd round (22nd overall), Orlando
2018 – Becca Rasmussen, 2nd round (20th overall), North Carolina
2019 – Erin Greening, 3rd round (25th overall), Orlando
2020 – Taylor Kornieck, 1st round (3rd overall), Orlando