Jan. 17, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame three-time all-conference and two-time all-region senior midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) took the next step in her soccer career on Friday, as she was chosen by her hometown franchise, FC Kansas City in the third round (No. 20 overall pick) of the 2014 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft that was held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) convention.
"I'm very honored to be welcomed as a new member of the talented FC Kansas City team," Laddish said. "I couldn't be more excited to represent my hometown!"
Laddish is the first Fighting Irish player selected in the NWSL Draft since the league debuted last year, and the first Notre Dame player chosen in an American pro soccer league draft since 2012, when Melissa Henderson ('12) was the No. 2 overall choice in the final Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft before that league folded months later.
Ironically, Laddish and Henderson, who were part of the foundation of Notre Dame's 2010 NCAA national championship squad, will be reunited in Kansas City, where Henderson signed as a free agent prior to the NWSL's inaugural season in 2013. Along with another former Fighting Irish All-American, midfielder Jen Buczkowski ('07), Henderson helped lead the Blues to a share of the NWSL regular season title and a spot in the league championship semifinals before FC Kansas City fell 3-2 to eventual champion, Portland Thorns FC.
Laddish started all 85 matches she suited up for at Notre Dame from 2010-13, missing only seven contests early in her junior year (2012) while helping the United States Under-20 Women's National Team win the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan. Laddish was a three-time all-conference choice (a second-team all-BIG EAST pick in 2011 and 2012, before earning third-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference plaudits this past year), and also garnered NSCAA third-team all-region citations in 2010 and 2012. In addition, as a rookie in 2010, she earned a spot on the Soccer America Freshman All-America Team and the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team before ending up with a place on the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.
It was at that latter event where one of Laddish's greatest college moments occurred, when she scored with 7:38 left to give Notre Dame a 1-0 semifinal win over Ohio State and pave the way for the program's third national championship two days later with an identical 1-0 win over Stanford.
Laddish ended her college career with six goals and 17 assists, logging a career-high nine points as both a sophomore (one goal, career-best seven assists) and again as a senior tri-captain in 2013 (career-high two goals, five assists).
Dating back to the start of the now-defunct WPS in 2008, Notre Dame now has had 11 players chosen in American pro soccer leagues. Currently, there are six Fighting Irish alumnae on NWSL rosters, led by Laddish, Henderson, Buczkowski and Brittany Bock ('09), who was chosen with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft by the Houston Dash, which will be led by recently-departed Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum.
Another of Waldrum's former Fighting Irish players, current Canadian National Team standout Melissa Tancredi ('04) will debut in the league this year with the Chicago Red Stars after taking last year off to continue her studies at chiropractic school. Tancredi initially was selected by Houston in this month's NWSL Expansion Draft, but subsequently was traded to Chicago, where she will be a teammate of former Fighting Irish and current U.S. Women's National Team midfielder Shannon Boxx ('99). However, Boxx presently is on maternity leave, awaiting the birth of her first child.
Defender Candace Chapman ('05) also could return to NWSL action this year after playing eight matches last year with the Washington Spirit.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director