Harrogate duo Rachel Daly and Leah Galton earn historic draft selection in United States

Rachel Daly scored more than 50 goals for St John's University
Rachel Daly scored more than 50 goals for St John's University

Rising stars Rachel Daly and Leah Galton have made history by becoming the first English women to earn a draft selection into the professional game in America.

The footballers, both from Harrogate, have been plucked out of the United States college system and will play in the National Women’s Soccer League – the female equivalent of the MLS - next season.

More than 200 women footballers were vying for selection by the professional clubs, with only 40 places on offer in the draft.

Sharp shooter Daly was the sixth pick of the draft process and will team up with Texas outfit Houston Dash in March.

"She is obviously absolutely thrilled, it’s a dream come true." said proud dad Martyn Daly.

Fellow striker Galton was snapped up by New Jersey side Sky Blue FC as the 13th pick in the draft process.

Leah Galton broke a university all-time record with her 48 goals in four years at Hofstra University

Leah Galton broke a university all-time record with her 48 goals in four years at Hofstra University

Since joining Hofstra University she has been a lethal presence up front and broken the university’s all-time goalscoring record.

The 21-year-old scored 48 goals and made 26 assists in her four years at the Long Island University.

The former St. John Fishers pupil said: “It has been a dream of mine to play professional soccer.

"I am grateful that coach (Christy) Holly and the rest of the organisation is giving me that opportunity.

"I have had a wonderful career at Hofstra and I thank my coaches and teammates for helping me reach this point. I could not have come this far without them.”

The Harrogate pair will follow in the footsteps of former England captain Kelly Smith by playing in the top level in the States.

Both strikers began their careers at Leeds United Ladies but looked elsewhere when the Yorkshire club missed out on becoming a Women’s Super League franchise.

Daly left Leeds to play professionally at Lincoln Ladies as a left-back but was reverted to a striking role when she relocated to St John’s University in New York City.

In three years at the university, the former Rossett School pupil scored more than 50 times – including a record breaking tally of 28 goals in 2013.

Her dad said the experience playing in a more “physical” league in America has been an “eye opener” for his daughter.

He said: "Going to America was a no-brainer for her.

"She had done two years at professional level but wanted to further her education and it fitted perfectly.

"She has come out with a great degree, and won two All-American honours."

Both Daly and Galton have represented England at youth level but neither have yet earned a senior cap.

Martyn was hoping his daughter's growing presence in American football would point her in the direction of Mark Sampson’s England squad.

He added: "I'm hoping she can become a house hold name throughout America. She has already established quite a following over there with her performances at St John’s and I hope she goes on and makes it better.

"I would obviously love to see her score the winning goal for England in the World Cup, but career-wise, I would like to see her be the most feared striker in America."