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Penn State

Greensburg Central Catholic grad Frannie Crouse picked 10th in NWSL draft

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, 4:24 p.m.
Penn State's Frannie Crouse (9) during the game with Rutgers. The Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights played to a 2-2 tie Thursday evening October 13, 2016 at Jeffrey Field.

Photo by Mark Selders
Penn State's Frannie Crouse (9) during the game with Rutgers. The Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights played to a 2-2 tie Thursday evening October 13, 2016 at Jeffrey Field. Photo by Mark Selders
Frannie Crouse's 31 goals rank 10th in Penn State history.
Penn State athletics
Frannie Crouse's 31 goals rank 10th in Penn State history.

Frannie Crouse crammed and “credit-loaded” so she could graduate from Penn State in December, just in case her name was called in the National Women's Soccer League Draft.

Call it a veteran move — by someone who suddenly is a professional rookie.

“It's an amazing feeling,” Crouse said. “It's all pretty surreal. From the moment my name was called, it's been unbelievable.”

A Greensburg Central Catholic graduate, Crouse was the 10th player drafted into the NWSL Thursday as the North Carolina Courage selected the star forward with the final pick of the first round.

Crouse said she will join the team in mid-February and will have to endure preseason tryouts before she signs a contract.

She has been waiting for draft day since she was an up-and-coming scoring phenom at the youngest levels.

“It's always been a dream (to play professionally),” Crouse said. “But sometimes dreams are far-fetched. I am just going to keep working hard and hopefully it pays off in the end.”

Crouse, who scored a then-state-record 230 goals in high school, finished her college career at Penn State with 37 scores and 17 assists. She had 91 points in 92 games.

Her goal total ranks 10th in program history, and she is 12th in points (91).

She is sixth in shots on goal (111).

Crouse began this past season on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch list. The Hermann essentially is college soccer's Heisman Trophy.

She was an All-Big Ten first-teamer in 2016, when she led the league with 12 goals, and she made the conference's all-freshman team in 2014.

Crouse made the U.S. U-23 Women's National Team camp in Seattle in July, a move that likely contributed to her stock rising in the draft.

She also was a member of the 2015 NCAA Women's College Cup All-Tournament Team.

“Frannie's combination of speed and skill will certainly propel her in the next level,” Penn State coach Erica Dambach said. “We're proud of her and excited to see her play with the 2016 NWSL Champions.”

North Carolina won the NWSL title two years ago and was the runner-up last year.

The NWSL minimum salary is around $15,000, the highest nearing $40,000.

Fellow WPIAL alum Veronica Latsko, who played at Peters Township and Virginia, was taken 28th by the Houston Dash.

Crouse's Penn State teammate, Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.), was selected at No. 31 by the Washington Spirit.

A pair of West Virginia players also were selected. Michaela Abam and Amandine Pierre-Louis were drafted with the No. 4 and No. 6 overall picks by Sky Blue FC.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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