Two Pilots drafted to the Seattle Reign

By The Beacon | January 30, 2014 1:25am
Senior midfielder Ellen Parker started every game this season after an injury last season.
Photo by Kristen Garcia

By Cassie Sheridan |

At some point in all young athletes’ lives they say, “I am going to go pro in _________.” Whether it was basketball, baseball, rhythmic gymnastics, reading or swimming, they all said it. Two weeks ago, that statement became reality for women’s soccer players Amanda Frisbie, defense/forward, and Ellen Parker, midfield. Seattle Reign FC drafted the senior pair in the 2014 NWSL draft as the seventh and thirtieth picks respectively.

Frisbie and Parker will be joining the Seattle team with five other UP soccer legends such as Stephanie Cox and Megan Rapinoe. Not only have they both been drafted,  but the pair, who have played together the past four years at UP, will continue this play professionally.

“The whole situation is just unreal,” Frisbie said. “When Ellen got drafted to Seattle as well, I was just like ‘what are the odds! What an incredible opportunity.’ I just feel that it’s so lucky.”

“It’s definitely comforting to know we have each other through this process,” Parker said. “The support we can give each other is going to be a great asset.”

In March, they will head up to Seattle to begin preseason work for the Seattle Reign.

Amanda Frisbie

A draft of the 21st century involves Skyping and refreshing Twitter, while simultaneously talking on the phone. This electronics quagmire is exactly where Amanda Frisbie found herself Friday morning.

“I was Skyping with my family and I was on the phone with someone at the draft,” Frisbie said. “When they announced the news I could hear it over the phone and I just started to scream, which made my family start to scream and then my Twitter started to blow up. It was a lot of chaos.”

Frisbie’s journey to having her name called out by a professional team began as a little girl that had too much energy living in McKinney, Texas.

“I always was super active and my parents wanted me to play a sport,” Frisbie said. “I actually remember my first ever soccer game. I was 4 at the time and scored like seven goals.”

This original soccer performance would become prophecy as Frisbie established herself as a power forward with big scoring potential on her club team, the Dallas Texans, and at the University of Portland, where she played forward and defense and logged 31 career goals.

“I always dreamt of playing professionally,” Frisbie said. “Granted, there was no pro team at the time, so I was completely focused on playing for the women’s national team. They were so talented and well respected. That is still ultimately my goal, to get to that level of play. However, this is an incredible first step towards that. There are really no words for how I am feeling beyond just excited, it doesn’t really feel real yet.”

As excited as Frisbie is for the next phase in her soccer career she will always treasure her experience as a Pilot.

“There are memories from UP soccer that I know will never be eclipsed,” Frisbie said. “The uniqueness of this program and the fans is something that I feel so lucky to have been a part of.  There is no place like this one to play soccer.”

Frisbie doesn’t know exactly when her soccer dreams became a little more serious than just playing soccer in the yard, but she thinks it’s when she was around 10 years old.

“I think it really hit me when I started playing club, that soccer was going to be something that I did forever. It was going to be something that could change my entire future,” Frisbie said. “I am just so thankful for my family, especially my dad; for the unbelievable support and investment they’ve had in my dreams. All of this feels like a lot of hard work truly coming together.”

Ellen Parker

Parker was pacing while her parents sat nearby when the news was announced.

“I was getting really antsy and couldn’t sit anymore,” Parker said. “My parents had flown into town and so we were all sitting when the news came up. I just like fell over, I had been pacing so hard and my parents and everyone was crying.”

Immediately following the announcement, Parker had her Twitter and inboxes overfilled with messages of support and congratulations.

“I realized pretty quickly that I needed to gather myself so I could respond,” Parker said while laughing. “I managed to send out a tweet and then I just kind of sat with my parents and let myself soak up the moment.”

Parker’s love for soccer was developed through a lot of time spent with her grandparents who are from Uruguay, a soccer mecca.

“I grew up with soccer just always on the TV,” Parker said. “My earliest memory playing is being out in the backyard with my grandpa, him teaching me to juggle and trap the ball. My passion and love for the game definitely grew out of those soccer beginnings.”

Parker started to dream of playing professionally when she was 8 years old and then when she was 12 she asked her parents to help make this a reality.

“I sat them down and asked if they could help me because it was something I was very serious about,” Parker said. “I started doing my classes online so I could train and travel and so this moment is the result of a lot of sacrifice and dedication to keeping that dream going.”

Parker’s role as a midfielder for the Pilots resulted in six career goals and eight assists along with an incredible bond to the Pilot family.

“The Pilot soccer program is so close knit,” Parker said. “There have already been alums that aren’t playing that live in Seattle that have reached out to us and shown us support. I am so excited to have an opportunity to play with them and joining a team with so many other Pilots on it is just going to be really fun.”

Fulfilling what is essentially a life-long dream is a difficult thing to express but Parker simply remarked that she felt full.

“It’s all becoming more real but I still feel right now as if I am in a dream,” Parker said. “I just feel completely fulfilled, no matter what happens after, this makes everything I’ve done to get here very worth it.”