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These 5 FSU Women’s Soccer Seniors Are Going Pro

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

As their college careers end, many student-athletes face the tough decision of entering the professional stage of their sport or continuing onto a different path in life. As some of the seniors on FSU’s women’s soccer team graduated this past fall, for many, the decision became clear: their soccer journey would not end now.

FSU’s soccer program is a highly esteemed one, producing many athletes who go on to become professional soccer players. For example, FSU soccer alumna Jenna Nighswonger was drafted to Gotham City FC last season, whose team would go on to win the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship.

With the amount of talent FSU brings to professional soccer, it’s no wonder that some of these Noles are taking the steps to continue their career. Here are the five players joining the pros after their collegiate careers (so far).

Lelanni Nesbeth, Chicago Red Stars

On Jan. 12, the 2024 NWSL draft took place, and Lelanni Nesbeth was drafted to the Chicago Red Stars. As one of only three Noles selected at the draft, Nesbeth was selected 10th overall. She follows Jaelin Howell, Jenna Nighswonger, Clara Robbins, and Emily Madril as fellow FSU soccer alumni to be selected in the first round of their respective NWSL draft.

Lauren Flynn, Utah Royals

As the second pick in the second round of the 2024 NWSL draft, Flynn was drafted to the Utah Royals. The defender, originally from Arlington, Virginia, was also a part of winning two National Championships. Flynn ended her career with the Seminoles by playing in 79 games and making 70 starts. As the 16th pick overall and second Nole picked of the night, Flynn will enter her first season in the NWSL.

Christina Roque, Utah Royals

Joining Flynn in Salt Lake City is Roque, the ninth pick of the third round of the 2024 NWSL draft. She was the second goalie selected at the draft. Across her career at FSU, she recorded 145 saves with a save percentage of 76.3.

In an interview with KSL Sports, Roque said, “[Lauren Flynn and I] had four seasons together, and having that connection is something to look forward to. Just going through this experience together brings us closer even though we’re already close.”

Onyi Echegini, Juventus

On Jan. 4, Echegini signed with the Italian Football Club, Juventus. Her contract lasts until June 2026. The decision came just a day before Echegini won the MAC Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious award given in college soccer. Echegini’s win makes her the third Seminole in the past four years to win this award.

Beata Olsson, AIK Fotboll

Olsson, originally from Enkoping, Sweden, has returned to her home country to play for one of Sweden’s premier pro soccer clubs, AIK, this upcoming season. Olsson was a huge contributor to the Nole’s success this season, not only starting in all 23 games her senior year but also tallying seven goals and nine assists.

There is no question that, given their success at the college level, these five FSU all-stars will make a difference as they enter into these new teams. While the transition from college to professional does represent a shift in the way they play soccer, it also marks an exciting transitional period for these athletes.

While no longer wearing the garnet and gold, these players’ accomplishments are a testament to how valuable FSU’s soccer program is. It makes FSU a team to watch when it comes time for more of their athletes to become professionals!

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Avery Ranum is Media/Communication Studies and Marketing double major at Florida State University, pursuing a minor in Film Studies as well. She aspires to work in the entertainment industry in the future, hopefully for a commercial broadcast network or film studio! She is currently a first-year staff writer and video social team member for Her Campus at FSU.