"It wasn’t until halfway through my junior year of college that I decided I wanted to make playing soccer professionally a reality. Growing up I always loved playing all kinds of sports. I played basketball and did track and field throughout high school, as well as soccer of course. When I got to college, that was the first time I put all my focus into soccer.
My first two years at the University of Connecticut (Uconn) I was always living in the moment, loving every minute I got to be with the team whether it was playing or just hanging out. I felt like I was living the best life. The older girls would always say how fast the 4 years go by and how it’ll be over before you know it. This didn’t hit me until after my junior season when I realized I only had one left. I could not imagine myself doing anything other than playing soccer once my time at UConn was up.
The women’s league at the time wasn’t a very realistic option in my mind for a few reasons, one major reason being the rookie salary that was way below even minimum wage.
After talking to one of my former teammates, and seeing how happy she was as she continued her soccer career, I decided I too should continue doing something I love and that’s soccer.
Shortly after making the decision, spring semester junior year, I met with my academic advisor to figure out if there was any way I’d be able to graduate in December and be ready for the NWSL college draft in January. In the end that wasn’t going to be possible. Finishing college and receiving my degree was important to me, and I decided first and foremost that is what I needed to do.
I didn’t know much about the draft process, but as January approached I figured I would submit my name and see what happens. Preseason started in March, so I made it clear going into the draft that I would be staying at UConn until I graduate in May.
I ended up getting drafted by the Portland Thorns with the 14th pick. I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to pursue a professional career. I quickly learned that not only was I playing soccer as a career, but I was now part of a business. Three days after the draft, I got a call from the Portland coach telling me I’m getting traded to Orlando.
I played 3 seasons in Orlando, and 2 seasons in Perth, Australia. I’m now on the Chicago Red Stars and currently on loan in Sweden with Linköping. I have played a total of 93 matches while scoring 27 goals. I hope to continue my success while I am in loan in Sweden."
You can follow Rachel's Professional Football career on Instagram: @R_hill3