Abi Kim, who grew up on Vashon and attended McMurray Middle School, poses with an Orlando Pride banner at the National Women’s Soccer League draft in Baltimore, Md. on Thursday, Jan. 16 (ISI Photos)

Abi Kim, who grew up on Vashon and attended McMurray Middle School, poses with an Orlando Pride banner at the National Women’s Soccer League draft in Baltimore, Md. on Thursday, Jan. 16 (ISI Photos)

Abi Kim drafted to Orlando Pride

Former McMurray Middle School student has played in the FIFA under-18 and under-20 Women’s World Cups

Vashon’s own Abi Kim has been drafted to the Orlando Pride, a women’s professional soccer team.

The Orlando City Soccer Club, a team affiliated with the Pride, made the announcement via news release on its website stating that Kim was one of five women the Pride picked from the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft held in Baltimore. Kim was the draft’s No. 26 overall pick.

“Time to get to work,” Kim tweeted after the Pride announced the news.

Kim, who attended McMurray Middle School before attending Seattle Christian, recently graduated from the University of California-Berkeley, where she played as a forward for the soccer team. The Pride’s news release stated that while on the Bears team, she totaled 80 appearances, scoring 18 goals and adding 10 assists. During her senior year, Kim served as a team captain, earning numerous honors.

But Kim is not just a star athlete in her state or the United States — she’s taken her abilities internationally. The 5-foot-8, 21-year-old native of Liberia has represented the U.S. in the FIFA under-18 and under-20 Women’s World Cups.

Kim spoke with The Beachcomber last Friday over the phone in between flights from Baltimore to Seattle.

“When I got my name called, it was just excitement,” she said, referring to her experience at the draft. “It was just an amazing feeling.”

In a video posted on the Orlando Soccer Club’s website, Kim described her pick as “a dream come true. I get to have so much experience with such good players. It’s going to be great.”

Kim was asked how she describes herself as a player.

“I play to the nine,” she said. “I think I bring some speed, some athleticism — I have really high hops, so I can jump pretty high; maybe not as high as Taylor, but I can get some airball, too.”

Kim was referring to Taylor Kornieck, who played for the University of Colorado and was also drafted to the Pride on Jan. 16. The two players tweeted one another after learning about the league’s decision.

“Me and @abi_kim17 dream team,” Kornieck tweeted on Jan. 16.

Kim tweeted back, “Can’t believe this really happened!!! Somethin’ special coming for sure tho.”

In selecting Kim and four other women out of the draft, Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said in a press release he considered those who could “technically [and] physically play, but also … see if they can mentally step up.”

“We ended up getting players that I’m really happy with,” Skinner said. “I think they’ll add a new dynamic to an Orlando team that needed to be revitalized and re-energized. I’m really happy with the work we’ve done today and hopefully, you’ll see that very soon.”

Kim said last Friday she was headed home for a few days to Vashon, where her parents still live. But soon, she’ll get back to Nevada to train for pro soccer life. Later, she’ll do some personal training in Seattle. Kim starts with the Pride at the beginning of March.

“I’m super excited, but now I’m more focused on having to get in shape, working on my technical ability … because I’m going to be playing in front of the best people in the country and the world, so I have to be at my best game,” Kim said.

She also talked about how given the chance to play for the Pride stacks up with her other athletic achievements.

“I’d say this is the biggest thing,” Kim said. “I want to become the best player I can be and then hopefully work hard and be in the World Cup.”

In the taped interview from the Orlando City Soccer Club’s website, Kim noted she had not been to the east coast that much, but has played in Florida.

“I’m … not too familiar, but I’m really excited for a new journey, to learn new things; be under the wing of really prominent, important players,” she said. “It’s a dream.”

Upon hearing the news of Kim being drafted to the Pride, Berkeley’s head soccer coach Neil McGuire tweeted his well-wishes.

“Congrats to Abi Kim on being drafted,” he wrote. “She came to Cal with a dream and today she realized it.”

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