Iliana Hocking experienced a lot at Arizona soccer. From a coaching change to the pandemic, she had to learn to adapt. Now, she can add one more thing to that list. Hocking became the first Arizona Wildcat to ever be selected in the NWSL Draft on Thursday evening.
The fifth-year midfielder/defender was selected in the fourth round of the 2023 NWSL Draft by NJ/NY Gotham FC on Thursday. She went 44th overall. She joins other former Wildcats who have had their rights acquired after the NWSL, including Jill Aguilera, but becomes the first to ever have her name called on draft day.
“Iliana is one of the most competitive people I know,” Arizona head coach Becca Moros said in Arizona’s press release. “Her passion for the game and drive are unmatched. I’m excited to watch her continue to grow as she takes on this new challenge in the pros.”
It’s a good landing spot for Hocking in terms of familiarity. Moros came to Arizona from the NJ/NY coaching staff in 2021. It does force the native of Anaheim, Calif. to brave life on the East Coast for the first time in her life, though.
Chris Henderson of WoSoIndenpent.com wrote that Hocking “should provide some needed steel into the Gotham midfield.”
44 - GFC - Iliana Hocking - MF (DMC) - Arizona— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) January 13, 2023
Value - B
Hocking got really close to making my Big Board after a great senior year. Should add some needed steel into the Gotham midfield.
Hocking had five goals and four assists in her career at Arizona.
Hocking has company in this year’s draft class. Her twin sister, Penelope, who started her career at USC and ended at Penn State, was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars in the first round.