It’s not often when a fourth-round NWSL draft pick gets a healthy press scrum following her selection, but Sammy Jo Prudhomme is not a typical fourth-round draft pick.
The University of Southern California goalkeeper was the first pick of the fourth round, by the Boston Breakers, in Thursday’s 2017 NWSL draft, and after her selection, spoke to the press contingent assembled.
“I really didn’t know if I was going to get drafted or not, I had absolutely no idea what was going on today, so just honestly kind of shocked,” Prudhomme told the reporters. “I didn’t know what to say when I got up on the podium. But I’m so excited.”
Prudhomme is a local product through and through. From Aliso Viejo, she played club soccer as a youth for the So Cal Blues and high school soccer at Aliso Niguel. After playing two years at Oregon State, she transferred to USC, playing her final two seasons in Los Angeles. Last season, she helped lead the Trojans to the NCAA national championship and was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year for her stellar play.
Prudhomme also played summer soccer here in Southern California, first for the Los Angeles Strikers and then the Los Angeles Blues, of the W-League (all of which have since gone defunct). She helped the Blues win the W-League title in 2014, then helped SoCal FC reach the WPSL national final in 2015.
Despite her California bona fides, Prudhomme appeared genuinely excited to be moving across the country if she earns a contract with the Breakers.
“Well actually, I have a lot of family in upstate New York,” she said. “I’ve been back east a lot. I actually love Boston, it’s one of my favorite cities – Seattle and Boston are my two favorite. So I’m actually very excited to be back east.
“It will be interesting with the cold weather, I’m not used to it, I went up to Oregon for two years and that’s about as cold as I got, so it will be interesting with snow and stuff like that.”
Boston endured a difficult 2016 season in NWSL, finishing in last place. With six selections in the 2017 draft, including Prudhomme’s USC teammate Morgan Andrews, the expectation is that the rookies will help the Breakers come off the bottom of the table.
“I think with proper preparation and with the proper players in good areas Boston could easily make a comeback from the way that it was this year,” Prudhomme opined. She also noted the leadership skills needed in the women selected in the draft just to get to where they were on Thursday.
“I know for a fact we’ve been put into leadership roles our whole lives and I don’t think this is going to be an issue, us coming in and trying to take leadership roles or play a certain role in whatever we’re put in,” she explained. “We don’t feel uncomfortable, we don’t feel pressure, we don’t feel stressed out from that.”
Above all, goalkeepers are often in the most uncertain position heading into draft day. With most NWSL teams carrying just two ‘keepers, the numbers game is even more stressful than it is for outfield players. But Prudhomme’s journey to realizing her dream of becoming a professional took a big step forward on Thursday.
“It’s a relief just hearing my name called. I’m excited to go to Boston and get started. I had no inclination of how the day was going to go,” she said.
Now, the hard work is just beginning for Sammy Jo Prudhomme.