Cary is Iowa's First NWSL Draftee

IOWA CITY, Iowa — On Friday night, Samantha Cary became the first University of Iowa women’s soccer player selected in the NWSL Draft. Iowa’s all-time minutes leader was selected 48th overall in Round Four by Racing Louisville.

“Samantha Cary is the hardest worker and lover of the game whom I have ever coached,” said Head Coach Dave DiIanni. “It is great to see her return to Louisville where she spent a summer training and developing.”

Cary was one of nine Big Ten players selected in the draft from five schools (Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin).

At the defender position, Cary led Iowa to a program single-season record 13 shutouts in 2023, the most in the Big Ten and tied for fifth nationally. Iowa also set a new program-best for goals against average (0.76). Both records had stood since DiIanni’s first season  in 2014.

A second-year team captain, Cary anchored Iowa this season with a position player best 1,957 minutes in the backfield. Iowa outscored opponents 36-17 and dominated margins in shots (307-164) and shots on goal (149-75).

Cary was a three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in 2023 and was named Defensive Player of the Big Ten Tournament.

Cary is Iowa’s all-time leader in games played (97), starts (96) and minutes (8,322). She made things happen on both sides of the pitch, tallying five goals and 11 assists as a Hawkeye.

In five seasons, Cary helped the Hawkeyes to 42 shutouts at a 0.433 shutout percentage.

Iowa allowed 0.92 goals against during that span and reached historic heights; the Hawkeyes won the first two Big Ten Tournament Championships in program history and made two NCAA Tournament appearances (four in program history) with Cary as a starter.

Since 2019, Iowa has knocked off six ranked opponents, won 10 postseason games and achieved the highest rankings in program history on multiple occasions. This fall, the Hawkeyes finished No 24 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, making their first appearance in the final rankings, and set a home attendance record (2,369) in Cary’s final game at the Iowa Soccer Complex.

Cary is Iowa’s first United Soccer Coaches All-American and fourth First Team All-North Region honoree. Cary was named Second Team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten this season.