Baylor soccer’s Julie James was selected by Sky Blue FC in the second round (11th overall pick) of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft Thursday afternoon at the Skyline Ballroom at the McCormick Place in Chicago.
“The Baylor family is extremely proud of Julie and this fantastic accomplishment,” Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said. “More importantly, we are proud of who she is and the big God she serves. Sky Blue has drafted a fantastic person and player.”
James, the first student-athlete in program history to earn United Soccer Coaches All-America first team honors, added another program first to her résumé by becoming the first Baylor soccer player to be drafted.
“I am very honored to have been drafted in the NWSL by Sky Blue FC,” James said. “Today was a culmination of 17 years of hard work and sacrifice. Paul and Marci knew when I first arrived at Baylor that playing professional soccer was a goal of mine and, along with the rest of the Baylor Soccer family, they provided the environment and support that enabled me to do this.”
The NWSL, established in 2013, will begin its seventh season in 2019. James’ new team, Sky Blue FC, is based in New Jersey and has been a professional team since 2007.
James is heralded as one of the best all-around student-athletes to ever play for the Bears. The Fairview, Texas, native was a two-time team captain, a three-time All-Big 12 First Team and three-time United Soccer Coaches All-Region selection. She played more career minutes (7809) than any player in program history, finishing among the Top 10 in the program's career goal and point scorers.
James led Baylor to the program's first-ever NCAA Elite 8 in 2017 and a return trip in 2018, winning both the Big 12 tournament title in 2017 and the regular season title in 2018.
In the classroom, James garnered four Academic All-Big 12 honors, six Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selections, five Baylor Dean's List appearances, and back-to-back United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America selections in 2017 and 2018.
“I have loved my time at Baylor and will continue to pour into this program in any way I can,” James said. “I am grateful for the many people who have been pivotal in my journey - my parents, my fiancé Connor, the Baylor Soccer staff & community, all the amazing supporters of Baylor Soccer like John and Nancy Jackson, and Coach Rodney Doyle & the Full Armour Program.”
The 2019 NWSL season will begin March 4 with preseason training camp, with the regular season beginning April 13.