Yale Athletics

Forward Aerial Chavarin ’20 will trade Yale for the Chicago Red Stars following graduation, after the club drafted her in the fourth round of the National Women’s Soccer League College Draft on Thursday.

Chavarin shone as a striker during her four years with the Bulldogs, playing in 63 games and scoring 25 goals. She will now take her merits to Chicago to compete in the NWSL with the team that finished second in last year’s standings. As she takes her first professional steps, she can be proud of all she has accomplished with Yale women’s soccer.

“This feeling is so incredibly surreal,” Chavarin said. “My parents have sacrificed so much to put me in positions for me to succeed and have supported me the entire time. My coaches, teammates and friends have all pushed me to always work hard. I am so appreciative of the journey that has brought me to this point today and I am beyond excited for the next chapter of my life to begin.”

Throughout her Yale career, Chavarin constantly pushed the boundaries of the game. She was the team’s highest scorer three out of four seasons, including acquiring 10 game-winning goals across her four years. Her commitment was widely recognized and she earned All-Ivy selection in 2016, 2018 and 2019. In an incredible final season, Chavarin earned the title of Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year — even though she plays as a forward for the Bulldogs. This impressive season, in which she started every game and played 1,377 total minutes, also earned her United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team selection. She is the first Bulldog to achieve All-America recognition since 2005, and only the third in history. To top it off, Chavarin also played on Yale’s women’s basketball team in her sophomore and junior years.

Beyond her athletic talents, Chavarin’s coaches and teammates remark on her kindness and contagious attitude on and off the field. Head coach Sarah Martinez noted that while her explosiveness and athleticism separate her as a player, it is her eagerness to learn and grow that has truly contributed to her success. Chavarin also expressed how much she will miss the community of her Yale team; from handshakes to dance parties in the locker room, the rituals of the squad hold a special place in her heart.

“Aerial is one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever met,” captain Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “She is also incredibly hard-working and determined. I cannot think of anybody more deserving of this opportunity, and I can’t wait to watch her play at the next level.”

The Red Stars boasted an impressive 14–8–2 record in the 2019 season — second only to the North Carolina Courage. The roster includes Sam Kerr, the league’s all-time leading scorer and last year’s league MVP. In 2019, Kerr bested her previous record, scoring 18 season goals and netting at least one goal against each NWSL opponent.

Moving to Chicago is an added bonus for Chavarin, who fell in love with the city after visiting this past summer on a work trip with Under Armour. From the moment she arrived at the airport, she remembered thinking how much she wanted to live there. So when she entered this year’s draft, she had her eyes set on the Red Stars.

“That desire [to live in Chicago] grew even more as we traveled around the city for work and ate at different restaurants throughout the day,” Chavarin said. “Not only that, but the Red Stars are an incredible team. From the coaching staff to the players, everyone has been so welcoming and supportive — I am excited to get to Chicago to train, learn and grow with this group.”

Former Bulldog Michelle Alozie ’19 also received good news last week. After graduating this spring, Alozie used her final year of NCAA eligibility as a graduate transfer to the University of Tennessee.

On Thursday, Alozie signed with BIIK Kazygurt, a team based in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. The club is the 13-time national champion of Kazakhstan and will compete this year in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. After years of watching the men’s Champions League, Alozie is exhilarated to compete in the women’s side herself.

“The coaching staff and team at Yale, past and present, all played a part of this journey,” she said. “In my three years playing at Yale, my teammates have not only aided and pushed me to develop into the soccer player I am today, but have also taught me valuable lessons that span further than the dimensions of being an athlete. Forever grateful for being a YWS alum.”

At Yale, Alozie was a star player. In her junior year, she was the team’s highest scorer, earned the title of Co-Offensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection. In her only season at Tennessee, she scored three goals in 17 games — enough to be the team’s highest scorer for the year.

Both Chavarin and Alozie reflect the great potential of Yale women’s soccer, and serve as role models for their younger teammates. The program has thrived in recent years, finishing this past season in third place in the Ivy League.

“It has been an exciting time for our program and Aerial’s accomplishments this year have set a standard for Yale women’s soccer,” Martinez said. “We have many players with aspirations to play professionally and this is a time where those are very realistic goals for us to have.”

Chavarin will begin preseason training with the Chicago Red Stars in March.

Alessa Kim-Panero | alessa.kim-panero@yale.edu