Forward Michelle Enyeart grew up in a small town that isn't exactly known to be a soccer hotbed.
In fact, Hemet, CA is hardly known at all.
But this small "city" located roughly between Palm Springs and San Diego has produced a name that is known to soccer experts and soccer fans across the country.
Enyeart has a soccer resume that is both extensive and impressive.
Some of the major points in her career include playing with the nationally-ranked Laguna Hills Eclipse Soccer Club, competing with the youth national teams (U-23, U-20, U-19, U-16), and participating in a full national team training camp.
She recently completed her collegiate career at the University of Portland and on Jan. 15, Enyeart was drafted to the Los Angeles Sol.
There is no doubt that Enyeart will continue to elevate her game during her professional career. She has certainly come a long way from the small-town soccer scene.
Not all has been fun and games for Enyeart, as injuries have hampered her a few times in her career. Most recently, there was a knee injury suffered in the WCC Championship against San Diego in December.
With the WPS draft only a month away, media experts predicted that her draft stock would drop dramatically. I spoke with Enyeart about her feelings before and after the draft, where she was selected 14th overall by the Sol.
You graduated early from the University of Portland to enter the WPS draft. How was that last semester of school?
Enyeart: My last semester at school was similar to any of my previous semesters except that I was taking a few more extra credits than usual so I could graduate early while working on my senior thesis.
When you injured your knee against San Diego, were you afraid your draft hopes would be affected?
ME: When I [was] initially laying on the ground after the collision, all I knew was that the pain was really bad. But because it was a collision, the issue of tearing any ligaments didn't really cross my mind. Since it was halftime, I thought, oh, just give me 10, 15 minutes. I'll be fine to play in the second half.
However, when I got up to walk off the field with two people supporting me and my knee gave out, that's when I knew something was wrong. It wasn't until the next day that I actually knew what was wrong with my knee.
That's when I realized that my draft position would be affected.
What was the extent of your injury?
ME: I tore my ACL, LCL, and chipped my femur—which was why I had so much pain.
When you found out that you were drafted, what was your reaction?
ME: Well, at the moment, my therapist was working on my knee so my mom was in charge of the computer. When she told me I had been drafted to L.A. I was so excited and couldn't been happier.
How's rehab going?
ME: Rehab is going really well, as good as can be expected at this stage.
Are you excited to be playing close to home?
ME: Yes, I am extremely excited to be playing close to home. I'm happy that my family will be able to attend most of the games and it is great to be back in Southern California.
One of your bios said that one of your favorite players is Marta. Now you're teammates. How do you feel about that?
ME: I played against her in the Pan American Games in 2007, and all I can say is that I would have rather been playing with her than against her. She is an unbelievable player and I am very excited to have the opportunity to not only play and compete with her but learn from her as well.
Did you think there wouldn't be a pro league after the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) folded?
ME: It was a very sad time when the WUSA folded as everyone had thought that soccer was finally becoming more popular. For me, however, it wasn't really if there was going to be a league again, but when would women's professional soccer return.
How does the WPS compare to the WUSA?
ME: I couldn't be more excited that the league is back in action and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to play at such as high level.
Catch Enyeart and the Los Angeles Sol this spring at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.