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Courtesy: Shane Lardinois
Gibbons, Payne & Raben Set for NWSL Draft
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/11/2017
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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University women’s soccer standouts Christina Gibbons, Toni Payne and Lizzy Raben are set for the 2017 NWSL College Draft, which will take place Thursday, Jan. 12 at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Los Angeles, Calif.

The NWSL will live stream the draft via Facebook and YouTube kicking off at 3 p.m. (ET).  The 10 NWSL teams will take turns picking over four rounds.  Fans can watch the draft live by visiting: and

Host Mark Rogondino, analyst Aly Wagner, analyst Jen Cooper and reporter Ashleigh Ignelzi will call the College Draft live from the JW Marriott, providing fans will the latest news, information and insight on each selection. They will also be joined on the live stream by the draft picks, NWSL head coaches, and NWSL general managers as well as several special guests.

The draft will be held at the JW Marriott and will be open to the public and media.

The draft order for the first round will be this order – Boston Breakers (1), North Carolina Courage (2), Boston Breakers (3), Sky Blue FC (4), FC Kansas City (5), Seattle Reign FC (6), North Carolina Courage (7), Boston Breakers (8), Boston Breakers (9) and Sky Blue FC (10).  

One of the most decorated Duke women’s soccer standouts in school history, Gibbons was just the third Blue Devil to earn NSCAA First Team All-America honors and one of two Duke alumnae to be named a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy.  The 5-6 defender/midfielder earned First Team All-ACC honors in each of her final three years and concluded her career starting 87-of-88 contests, including the final 73 in a row.  

She totaled 10 goals, 19 assists and 39 points, while also helping lead Duke to 38 shutouts on the defensive end over her career.  The 2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Gibbons finished her career with a Duke-record seven penalty kick goals and was a two-time captain.  Gibbons logged 7,794 minutes, which was the second-most by a field player in Blue Devil history.  She was selected the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and CoSIDA Academic All-America as well as a senior.  

Payne, a native of Birmingham, Ala., is coming off a standout career with the Blue Devils where she tallied 23 goals, 21 assists and 67 points over four years.  She started 86-of-90 matches at both the midfield and forward positions.  Payne’s 21 assists ranked tied seventh on the Duke record books and finished her career with six game-winning goals. She became just the sixth Blue Devil to register 20 goals and 20 assists over her career.  

A 2016 All-ACC first team and 2015 NCAA College Cup All-Tournament team honoree, Payne helped lead the U.S. U-23 squad to the Women’s Nordic Tournament championship in England this past June.  She also was a part of the U.S. U-23 team to the Istria Cup title in Croatia in March of 2016.

Raben, who hails from Greenwood Village, Colo., started 82-of-89 matches in a Blue Devil uniform.  A mainstay in the back on defense for Duke, Raben helped the back line to a total of 38 shutouts over the last four years.  The 2016 co-captain finished her Duke career competing in 6,964 minutes and was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District III selection. 

The trio led Duke to the 2015 NCAA Championship match prior to falling to Penn State, 1-0.