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JMU soccer’s Sam Lofton drafted by NWSL’s Boston Breakers

jmu logoWith the second pick in the third round of the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, defender Sam Lofton (Lock Haven, Pa./Central Mountain) of the James Madison women’s soccer team was selected by the Boston Breakers. The pick is the 20th overall selection in the draft.

“This is all kind of indescribable,” Lofton said of being drafted. “When I heard my name I was really surprised, threw my phone down and tried not to run too fast to the stage. It was all so surreal. But I’m very excited for the opportunity to keep playing soccer and thankful for all of my coaches and teammates who have helped me get to this point. This has all hit me so hard but it’s a dream come true.”

Lofton becomes the first player to be drafted by a NWSL team from JMU. The league, which began play in Spring 2013, is the highest level of professional women’s soccer league in the United States. Overall, Lofton is the second player picked in the primary draft by a professional team in the U.S., as midfielder Teresa Rynier (’11) was taken in the fourth round of the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer College Draft by the Philadelphia Independence.

In her final season with JMU in 2014, Lofton posted career highs in goals (3), game-winning goals (3), assists (7) and points (13) while starting all 20 games for the Dukes. With 12 career assists, Lofton finished her career tied for 25th on the program’s all-time chart.

Following her highly-successful senior season, Lofton was named a First Team All-CAA performer, Second Team NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region honoree, First Team ECAC All-Star honoree and First Team VaSID All-State performer. Throughout the season, Lofton climbed the ranks on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Top 20 in the Colonial Athletic Association. She started the season unranked, only to check in at No. 16 midway through the season and finish the campaign as the No. 6 player in the conference.

One of three team captains for the second season in a row, Lofton also led by example in the classroom, as she was named JMU’s representative on the CAA All-Academic Team each of the last two seasons. She majored in health science with a pre-med concentration while minoring in biology.

“We are so happy and excited for Sam being drafted by the Boston Breakers. This is a tremendous opportunity for her and a longtime dream come true,” JMU head coachDave Lombardo said. “Sam is one of the most talented players to ever play at JMU and has so many special talents that make her very attractive for the pro level. She is left-footed, very skillful, very smart, a good athlete and as a defender, loves to get into the attack. That is a rare commodity. I think Boston is lucky to get her.

“This is the pinnacle for Sam to be recognized for all her talent and hard work,” Lombardo continued. “Being told that you are good enough to play at a pro level is very special. We are all very proud of her.”

Other players drafted by the Breakers in the 2015 College Draft were Santa Clara forward Sofia Huerta (No. 11 overall), Florida State forward Jamia Fields (No. 14 overall), Texas A&M forward Bianca Brinson (No. 24 overall), Seattle forward Stephanie Verdoia (No. 29 overall) and Northeastern defender Bianca Calderone (No. 33 overall). Only 36 players were taken in the draft with UCLA having six players drafted. Virginia’s Morgan Brian went first overall to the Houston Dash.

The NWSL begins play in the 2015 season on Friday, April 10, with the Breakers opening their season on Saturday, April 11, on the road against Portland Thorns FC. Lofton is looking to become the third player to appear in a game for a professional women’s team in the United States. Carrie Proost (’94) was drafted by the New York Power of the Women’s United Soccer Association, the first women’s league in the world to pay women as professional soccer players, and Beth McNamara (’02) was taken by the San Diego Spirit. Both selections came in the 2003 WUSA Supplemental Draft.

JMU will start the 2015 season on Aug. 21 in the JMU Invitational against Georgetown. The match is set for 7 p.m.and is the second game of the day at University Park with Seton Hall taking on William & Mary at 4:30 p.m.

 
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