Professional women’s soccer player Lauren Milliet of Durango is on the move.
The National Women’s Soccer League held an expansion draft Thursday night for new franchise Racing Louisville FC. Milliet, a 2015 graduate of Durango High School and 2019 graduate of Colorado College, was selected by Racing Louisville FC with its seventh pick in the expansion draft.
“It’s been a crazy day, “ Milliet said. “I think, ultimately, I am really excited. It’s really cool to have an expansion team coming into the league. I am excited to be part of that growing culture with a new team and new environment. I am very excited and ready to start a new journey.”
Racing Louisville will be the 10th NWSL team. In 2022, Angel City FC in Los Angeles will bring the league to 11 teams.
Milliet will depart the North Carolina Courage after two seasons. The Courage drafted Milliet in the second round, 14th overall, in the NWSL draft in 2019.
“I am extremely grateful and thankful for my time at North Carolina,” Milliet said. “I have grown so much under the tutelage of coach (Paul Riley) and my teammates there. I am sad to leave my teammates and the staff there. They have become such a big part of my pro career. I have nothing but good things to say about North Carolina, and I wish them all the best, except when our paths cross.”
The 24-year-old from Durango earned her first career start during the summer Challenge Cup tournament held in Utah. During the NWSL fall series, she played and started in all four games, earning 278 minutes. She picked up her first professional assist Oct. 17 in a 3-3 draw against Orlando.
“Lauren has the potential to run any midfield in the NWSL,” said North Carolina coach Paul Riley in a team news release. “She has developed tremendously well and improved in so many departments. She will be sorely missed in Courage Country both on and off the field, but we know she will be a huge success in her new home. She is a quality player with the desire and soccer IQ to be a major piece in Louisville’s midfield. We wish her all the best and I’m excited to see where she can reach.”
Each NWSL team was able to protect 11 players from being selected in the expansion draft. The Courage also lost defender Addisyn Merrick to Louisville.
Milliet will join 13 other players on the move to Racing Louisville, including U.S. Women’s National Team stars Christen Press and Tobin Heath.
“The consistent theme would be that we have very hungry people coming in here with a really desire to prove their point within the NWSL,” Racing Louisville head coach Christy Holly said in a team news release. “As you’ll see with many picks, there’s a high caliber of player. Some are unproven but we have quite a level of confidence in them in terms of the homework and the background digging that we’ve done, so that they can come here and contribute on the field to help us be competitive in everything that we do.”
Racing Louisville FC will play in the new Lynn Family Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium with first rate training facilities.
“They have put in a ton of work and really put an emphasis on putting players first, which I was drawn to,” Milliet said. “They have put a lot of hard work and effort to make a top-notch pro environment.”
Milliet is enjoying an offseason home in Durango. She expects to report to her new team sometime in 2021. No date is set for the start of the 2021 NWSL season.