BALTIMORE - Canadian forward Evelyne Viens went fifth overall to Sky Blue FC in Thursday's National Women's Soccer League draft.

A prolific sniper at the University of South Florida, the native of L'Ancienne-Lorette, Que., scored 73 goals in 77 career games to set school and American Athletic Conference all-time records. Her 25 goals as a senior also set school and conference single-season marks.

Viens, who finished her collegiate career with 169 points, is a three-time All-American and 2019 Scholar All-American.

"I was just so happy to go to New Jersey (with Sky Blue) and just get back closer to home and just have a chance to play in this amazing league," Viens said in an interview at the draft.

Viens, who spoke almost no English when she started school in Florida, has been selected for Canada's provisional roster for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament that starts later this month in Texas and California.

Defender-midfielder Rebecca Quinn is the highest Canadian ever taken in the NWSL draft, taken third overall in 2018 from Duke by the Washington Spirit.

The Portland Thorns had the first two picks Thursday, taking Stanford forward Sophia Smith and then trading for the second selection to get Washington State forward Morgan Weaver.

The Orlando Pride traded up to get the third pick, selecting University of Colorado midfielder Taylor Kornieck. Another trade netted the Washington Spirit UCLA forward Ashley Sanchez with the fourth pick.

Canadian international Jessie Fleming did not make herself eligible for the draft. A UCLA spokeswoman said the 21-year-old senior from London, Ont., had opted to forgo the draft to focus on the Canadian national team and finishing her degree.

Fleming, a star midfielder, has already won 70 caps for Canada. A club in Europe remains an option with the Canadian likely in demand, if willing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2020.

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