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Viens drafted with No. 5 pick in NWSL Draft

Evelyne Viens was drafted by Sky Blue FC on Thursday. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

Evelyne Viens is heading to the Garden State.

The now-former USF women’s soccer striker was drafted in the first round of Thursday’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft with the No. 5 overall pick by Sky Blue FC.

Viens is the highest ever draft pick in program history and the program’s first since the formation of the NWSL in 2013. Her selection is also tied for the second-highest draft pick in USF Athletics history, tied with women’s basketball’s Wanda Guyton (1997 WNBA Draft). Her selection is also the highest NWSL pick in AAC history.

“I was just so happy to go to New Jersey and just get back closer to home and have a chance to play in this amazing league,” Viens said in a statement. “I think I’m going to bring good speed and just be able to create chances for scoring. Scoring goals will be my goal this year and just help the team win. I’m super grateful that USF gave me this opportunity four years ago. Without my teammates and coaches’ support, I wouldn’t have been here today. I’m excited to represent USF in the next chapter of my career.”

The L’ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, native finished her collegiate career as the all-time leading goal scorer in both AAC history and USF program history with 73 in 77 games. In 2019, she broke the AAC program record for single-season goals (25), goals per game (1.25) and points per game (2.65). She led USF in both points and goals for all four of her seasons in Tampa.

Her 25 goals in 2019 set new program and conference records. Viens holds the top three spots in single-season goals in program history.

“For Ev, it was a great event. We’re very excited for her,” USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown said in a statement. “It’s a great organization. Sky Blue is exceptional. Evelyne gets to move a little closer to home. I think it’s a win-win for Evelyne and the organization. She earned it. She was one of those kids that came in and got better every year. It was fun to be a part of her growth and evolution and I think the next step in her life will be very exciting to watch.”

Sky Blue FC, which plays at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, a suburb of Newark, was founded in 2007 and began play in the NWSL in 2013. It is coming off an eighth-place finish in 2019 in the nine-team league.