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By Larissa Campos
After nearly two months of traveling to different tryouts across the country, former soccer players Lisa Sliwinski and Hanna Gilmore may have found a new home playing professional soccer.
Sliwinski and Gilmore finished their senior seasons with 10 and seven goals respectively.
The newly formed National Women’s Soccer League was founded after the fold of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2012. The league has eight teams spread out through the United States and is expected to begin this season sometime towards the end of spring.
Sliwinski was invited to attend the preseason of four different professional women’s soccer teams, the Chicago Red Stars, the Washington Spirit, FC Kansas City and Portland Thorns FC.
After thinking about it, Sliwinski pursued the offer from FC Kansas City over the other teams.
“I think Kansas City really liked Lisa’s ability to be versatile,” head coach Marci Jobson said. “But I think they are looking to play her as a strong post-up forward.”
Sliwinski said she is excited to pursue the opportunity but is more excited for the reputation it’s building for the soccer program at Baylor.
“Hopefully now future players will see Baylor as a place to prepare you for the next level,” Sliwinski said. “It was perfect timing for us that the league started right after our senior year season. I just hope it motivates other players to take their careers beyond college soccer.”
Although the invitation to the preseason practices is a big step towards playing professionally, it does not solidify a place on the final roster for the girls. Teams release final rosters after preseason practices.
“This invite is pretty much a foot in the door,” Sliwinski said. “We are all really excited about the opportunity but now is when the real work starts.”
Gilmore was also asked to attend the Chicago Red Stars preseason practices.
After spending the last two summers training in Chicago, Gilmore said she couldn’t have picked a better place to begin a new chapter in her life.
“There isn’t really a player that works harder than Hanna does day in and day out,” teammate Kate Beaudoin said. “I don’t think anyone deserves this opportunity more and I’m looking forward to seeing her do big things.”
At the beginning of February, senior Carlie Davis was also invited to preseason practices with Portland Thorns FC and said she is glad her former teammates are joining her on the road to professional soccer.
“Lisa and Hanna have been my training partners and the two that inspired me to pursue a dream,” Davis said. “I am so happy we are doing this together but will also be on separate journeys in three different cities.”