The Wright Stuff

Kylie Wright and her Grandma Peggy

By David Bayer

Okay, I’m sure many of you are referring to me as a draft genius. Of all the 900 eligible draftees I could have chosen for my “Chasing the Dream” article, I picked one who was drafted in the first round AND ended up with my local team, the Atlanta Beat…Kylie Wright.

Genius? No. (Although my wife sometimes calls me that.) Fate? Perhaps.  Actually, all I did was reach out to a dear friend (thanks MZ) for the name of a college player who might talk to me.

Since things turned out the way they did, I’ve decided with Kylie’s assistance, to do a series of articles following her from college to the pros (thus the cheesy title) I’m hoping it will mirror a typical player’s progression.

“Chaos” is how Kylie described her parents’ (Karen and Todd) home on draft day. After some technical difficulties with the WPS web site, family and  friends settled in with bagels and tea to follow the proceedings.

In the week prior to the draft, Kylie had heard from a few coaches expressing interest in her outstanding talents. Atlanta mentioned they were “very interested.” But even with that knowledge, she was still nervous. As she heard the first few names called, she felt excited for those she knew. The Atlanta trade of pick number three put a question in her mind, but she knew they had two other picks. Their next one, pick seven, was the magic number. As WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas called out Kylie’s name, the house erupted in screams and shouting, and her Grandma Peggy wept with excitement. (I must admit that I got pretty excited myself, sitting in front of my computer in Georgia.) Minutes later, Beat Coach James Galanis called to welcome Kylie to the team.

And then, of course, a barrage of calls came from sports agents looking to represent Kylie, right? Uh … no. This isn’t the NFL where the agents scramble for their newest “cash cow.” For young women like Kylie, passion for the sport trumps everything else. With advice from her parents, Kylie represented herself in her contract negotiations. She felt “comfortable” going into it, and a few phone calls and faxes later, she was an official Atlanta Beat member.

Kylie told me that she watched some WPS games last season, but didn’t follow it too closely. But now she’s gotten very involved, checking out the Beat roster to see who she’ll be playing alongside. She was happy to see some old friends listed including Kristina Larsen, Katherine Reynolds, and Megan Jesolva.

Kylie’s report date to Atlanta is March 1. So, in the meantime, it looks like a great chance to kick back, relax, and rest for the rigors of training camp. Not for Kylie. Working out, playing soccer, and a graduation from UCLA are in the plans. Her parents have been busy, too. They’ve already ordered Beat apparel and planned their trip to see the opening game on April 9.

Dream chased … dream caught.

In the next installment .. Making the Move

(Photo courtesy Kylie Wright and may not be replicated, reproduced, distributed, or downloaded.)