USWNT stars applauded as they watched one of the team's youngest members get picked first in the NWSL draft

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Meredith Cash
·3 min read
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emily fox
Emily Fox has three caps for the USWNT. Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images
  • Emily Fox became a professional soccer player Wednesday night.

  • Racing Louisville FC selected the North Carolina Tar Heels defender first overall in the 2021 NWSL Draft.

  • Fox was in Orlando, Florida, at January camp with the USWNT at the time, and her national team teammates celebrated the feat with a heartwarming celebration.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Emily Fox is officially a professional soccer player, and she had quite an accomplished group with her to celebrate the feat.

The North Carolina Tar Heels defender was at the US Women's National Team's January camp in Orlando, Florida, during Wednesday's night's broadcast of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League Draft. When she heard her name called as the first overall pick of the evening, her USWNT teammates were on hand to applaud and relish the feat alongside her.

Fellow USWNT players Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett, Rose Lavelle, and Jaelin Howell can be seen sitting around Fox - while observing proper social distancing - as she learns that she'll be starting her professional career with Racing Louisville FC, the newest of the NWSL's 10 current franchises.

After Fox finished her obligatory sessions with the media - which she completed while wearing a USWNT jersey - she rejoined the rest of her teammates in the dining area to a cacophony of cheers. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, a fellow North Carolina alumna, walked up to her with her arms outstretched before wrapping her up in a big hug.

ashlyn harris
Ashlyn Harris. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

"Congrats, buddy," Harris can be heard saying through the cheers. "I'm proud of you. I'm really happy for you. That's awesome."

The cheers then grew louder, and as Fox walked towards the group, Sonnett threw her hands into a Vanna White gesture to further honor "the woman of the hour."

Fox is no stranger to the limelight. A starter with the powerhouse Tar Heels program from her first year in North Carolina, Fox led Anson Dorrance's squad to back-to-back College Cup finals in her sophomore and junior years, earning a Hermann Trophy semifinalist nod for the latter effort.

During her time in Chapel Hill, Fox also earned multiple call-ups to the USWNT. As of Wednesday, she has three caps for the national team, and she may add to that tally with the USWNT's upcoming friendlies against Colombia.

emily fox
Emily Fox (left) dribbles during a January 2019 USWNT game against France. AP Photo/David Vincent

Still, Fox was not technically a professional athlete until NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird called her name Wednesday night. And she's pumped to get started and help Louisville make a statement in its first season in the league.

"I'm super excited," Fox said. "Especially since it's a new club, I feel like it's a very unique opportunity for me to be able to go in there and try to do as best as I can and work my way up and do anything I can for the team."

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