By Matt Bradshaw —
From pro sports to the Olympics, the University of Louisville cultivates an impressive array of skilled athletes who move forward to play at the next level. Here are the Cardinals who competed in fall sports and now take their talents beyond the Ville.
Following their second straight Elite Eight appearance in 2017, the men’s soccer program had two players selected in the 2018 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
Senior defender Tim Kubel went 28th overall to Toronto FC and senior forward Mohamed Thiaw was selected 35th by the San Jose Earthquakes.
Kubel finished his collegiate career as a standout defender and playmaker. The German native scored 21 goals and had a school record 26 assists in 82 matches during his four seasons, including six goals and seven assists in 2017. He was a two-time All-American and is Louisville’s single-season assists record holder with 11 in 2016.
Thiaw finished his second and final year as a Cardinal with eight goals and two assists in 19 matches. A two-time All-ACC selection, Thiaw totaled 20 goals and four assists in 41 games overall at Louisville.
The forward from Lexington is known for his clutch goals under pressure during his time at U of L. Ten of his 20 overall goals were game-winners, while his hat trick in Oct. 2017 against Florida Atlantic was the first for a Louisville player since 2012.
Since 2012, men’s soccer has produced six first round selections in the MLS SuperDraft, including Andrew Farrell as the No. 1 overall pick in 2013.
Women’s soccer features a pair of freshmen who represent their countries by playing for their respective national teams.
Nadege L’Esperance was called up the Canadian Soccer Women’s U-20 team for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 championship. The tournament features eight nations, with the top three finishers earning berths to the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France.
L’Esperance is no stranger to national teams, already playing for Canada in the U17 World Cup. The freshman midfielder has a bright future ahead as a Cardinal after 11 games played in the 2017 season and the opportunity to play at the national level.
Fellow freshmen and midfielder Millie Rouse was called up by the England U-20 national team to compete in the 2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies that took place in Florida. Like L’Esperance, Rouse already has national team experience in excess after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2016 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
Field Hockey’s Nicole Woods and Erin McCrudden were recently selected to the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team roster. They both competed in a four-game series against the Netherlands from Jan. 25-30 in California.
As senior co-captains in 2017, Woods and McCrudden lead the Cardinals to the finals of the ACC championship for the first time since Louisville joined the conference in 2014.
Woods tallied 19 points and earned 2017 National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association All-America honors. She finished her career ranked ninth on Louisville’s list for career points (71) and assists (25).
McCrudden led the ACC and was second in the nation with 18 assists during her senior season, and went on to be named to the All-ACC second team.
The field hockey program features Katie Walsh as well, as she was recently named to the USA Field Hockey’s Women’s National Development Squad. The junior from Louisville started every game for the Cardinals the 2017 season and scored in the 3-2 win at No. 5 UNC.
Louisville had three underclassmen (quarterback Lamar Jackson, cornerback Jaire Alexander and offensive tackle Geron Christian) declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.
All three are expected to be drafted as well as receive an invite to the NFL combine.
Linebacker James Hearns has stock as a late round pick.
The NFL Draft is held from Apr. 26-28.
You can follow Matt Bradshaw on Twitter @BradMatt8.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal