Spirit Sign 2021 Draft Pick Tara McKeown to Rookie Contract

Washington Spirit  |   May 15, 2021
Spirit Sign 2021 Draft Pick Tara McKeown to Rookie Contract Featured Image

Ian Decker

Leesburg, Va., (05/15/21) – The Washington Spirit have signed 2021 draftee Tara McKeown (Pronunciation) to a two-year contract with an option for the third year. McKeown has been playing with the University of Southern California after she elected to finish her final spring season with the Trojans.

McKeown, selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, signed a two-year contract that carries a third-year option with the club. Due to Covid-19, USC and the Pac-12 did not play in the fall of 2020, instead opting to push the season to this spring. 

Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke said the following regarding Mckeown’s signing. We’ve been eagerly awaiting her arrival and she’s hit the ground running at the club in spectacular fashion. It’s easy to see why she was regarded as one of the top players in the college game and I believe she’ll adjust to the professional game very well on recent evidence. Getting her on a multiyear contract was important for me as we expand our roster with an eye on the future. Tara is a player that fits our style of play and one that I expect to thrive in our environment. Welcome to the Spirit Family, Tara.” 

The NWSL granted drafted players the option to either leave school and join their teams for preseason or return for the spring college season; of the Spirit’s five drafted players, McKeown was the only one who opted for the latter. In her final season at USC, she started all 14 games for the Trojans, racking up eight goals and eight assists in the process.

The forward played four seasons for USC and appeared 75 times, 66 of which were starts. Throughout her career, McKeown scored 32 goals and contributed 27 assists. In her junior year with USC, McKeown was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America first team, Pac-12 Forward of the Year, All-Pac-12 first team and All-Pacific Region first team. 

Spirit Chief Soccer Officer and President of Sporting Operations Larry Best had this to say about McKeown: “Getting Tara signed completed our 2021 draft class so we’re excited to have her officially joining the Spirit Family as she begins her professional career.  She has adapted well in her short turnaround from college soccer to the NWSL and we look forward to her continued growth as part of this talented draft class that is growing into the professional game every day both on and off the field.

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