The Houston Dash selected defender Cari Roccaro and forwards Rachel Daly and Janine Beckie in the first round of the 2016 NWSL College Draft today at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The trio join midfielder Morgan Brian (No. 1 overall, 2015) and forward Kealia Ohai (No. 2 overall, 2014) as first-round selections in Dash history.

“I think for the three drafts that we’ve been a part of, this by far is the best draft that we’ve had,” Dash head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We’re real excited, and we got needs filled. As you start to look at our roster, we’ve got a good young roster now that’s going to be here for years to come, so we think we’ve got a great foundation now in Year Three.”

Roccaro, the No. 5 overall selection, was originally recruited to the University of Notre Dame by Waldrum and played her first two seasons under the two-time NCAA national champion coach. The East Islip, New York native appeared in five matches as the United States Under-20 national team won the 2012 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The central defender co-captained the team at the same tournament two years later, starting all four matches.

“We were really happy that she was available, because I think she was one of the best players in the draft,” Waldrum said. “We expect her to be a mainstay for us for a long time to come at a center back spot.”

Roccaro, 21, earned third team NSCAA All-America honors in 2015, transitioning to the back line to help the Fighting Irish allow just 11 goals in 20 games. She was a four-time all-conference selection (ACC and Big East) and was the 2012 Soccer America national Freshman of the Year. Roccaro started all 75 games in four seasons, tallying 13 goals and four assists while playing multiple positions and serving as captain in her last two seasons.

Daly, the No. 6 overall pick, was named first team NSCAA All-America and a MAC Hermann trophy semifinalist in 2015 after scoring 19 goals, third-most in the nation and tops in the Big East. The Harrogate, England native set St. John’s career records with 50 goals and 111 points in just three seasons, including an NCAA-leading 23 goals in 2013.

“With Rachel, we were a little surprised that she was available as well,” Waldrum said. “I think we got a player that has experience playing in the college system here and scored a ton of goals, and she’s got international experience as well, which is an added dimension that we’re excited about.”

Daly is the first English player ever selected in the NWSL college draft. Her three years at St. John’s included two NSCAA All-America and two NSCAA Scholar All-America selections as well as two Big East Offensive Player of the Year nods and three first team All-Big East picks. The striker was part of the England 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup squad that finished fourth in New Zealand. Daly played for Leeds United Ladies’ for nine seasons and was part of England’s U-15, U-17 and U-19 squads.

Beckie, the No. 8 overall selection, was a three-time NSCAA All-America honoree and is the all-time leading scorer at Texas Tech University with 57 career goals. The 21-year-old was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after scoring 14 goals and adding three assists as the Red Raiders won their first Big 12 title. Born in Littlejohn, Colorado to Canadian parents, Beckie has nine appearances for the Canada National Team after debuting at age 20. Last year, the striker spent the spring and summer quarters with Canada ahead of the 2015 FIFA World Cup.

“She was somebody that we wanted all along, and we were really happy that things played out in the draft that we could get her at eight,” Waldrum said. “She also has that international experience. She’ll be an allocated player from Canada and has a great chance of making their Olympic team [for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil].”

CARI ROCCARO
Pronunciation: CARE-e row-CARE-row
Position: Defender
Height: 5-7
DOB: July 18, 1994
Hometown: East Islip, N.Y.
College: Notre Dame
Nationality: U.S.
How Acquired: Selected in the first round (No. 5 overall) of the 2016 NWSL College Draft

RACHEL DALY
Position: Forward
Height: 5-8
DOB: December 6, 1991
Hometown: Harrogate, England
College: St. John’s University
Nationality: England
How Acquired: Selected in the first round (No. 6 overall) of the 2016 NWSL College Draft

JANINE BECKIE
Position: Forward
Height: 5-8
DOB: August 8, 1994
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colo.
College: Texas Tech University
Nationality: U.S. and Canada
How Acquired: Selected in the first round (No. 8 overall) of the 2016 NWSL College Draft