Lauded for her technical ability, speed and versatility, Emily Fox watched virtually as her name was called first by National Women’s Soccer League commissioner Lisa Baird to kick off the 2021 NWSL draft.

Fox, a Stone Bridge High School graduate, was selected by expansion side Racing Louisville FC, one of 10 clubs in the NWSL.

A senior defender/midfielder at the University of North Carolina, Fox is the first Tar Heel player to be selected No. 1 overall since Crystal Dunn was drafted first by the Washington Spirit in 2014.

“I’m super excited,” Fox said. “Since it’s a new club, I feel like it’s a very unique opportunity for me to be able to go in there and try to do as best as I can and work my way up, and do anything I can for the team.”

Fox is currently one of 27 players participating in the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team training camp in Florida. A former standout on the U-20 U.S. National Team, Fox has appeared in three matches for the senior national team since her first call-up in 2018.

The Ashburn native completed her stellar career at North Carolina in the fall. Despite suffering a pair of ACL injuries, Fox started 69 matches for the Tar Heels and played in two College Cups. She was an All-American and a semifinalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy in 2019.

Fox garnered all-state honors during her one season of playing varsity soccer at Stone Bridge. As a freshman, Fox scored 16 goals and dished six assists to help lead the Bulldogs to the 2014 Virginia 5A state final.

She also played locally for the St. James FC Virginia for more than six years.

“We are very proud of Emily for earning this opportunity to play professional soccer in the NWSL,” TSJ FC Virginia technical director Christian Cziommer said. “Emily was a long-time member of FC Virginia, playing many years for coach Terry Foley.”

“It is great to see her growth as a player from her youth career, to college at UNC, and now to being drafted by Racing Louisville FC,” Cziommer continued. “She is an inspiration to our current players, and we look forward to following her journey in the NWSL and with the U.S. women’s national team.”

The National Women’s Soccer League is scheduled to kick off its ninth season in April with the Challenge Cup.

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