Meet the Breakers: University of Florida's Jo Dragotta

All-SEC pick brings tenacity to midfield

 The University of Florida soccer program has produced some of the greatest soccer players in the history of the game - 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year Abby Wambach, Olympic gold medalist and current Breaker Heather Mitts, and 1999 World Cup winner Danielle Fotopoulos, to name a few. So it’s no surprise that four of its current seniors were selected in the 2013 NWSL Draft, including midfielder Jo Dragotta.  

The University of Florida soccer program has produced some of the greatest soccer players in the history of the game - 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year Abby Wambach, Olympic gold medalist and current Breaker Heather Mitts, and 1999 World Cup winner Danielle Fotopoulos, to name a few. So it’s no surprise that four of its current seniors were selected in the 2013 NWSL Draft, including midfielder Jo Dragotta.  

The Breakers drafted Dragotta in the third round (21st overall) of the inagural NWSL draft. Dragotta scored seven goals and had 11 assists in 82 games with the Gators. In 2012, a season in which she scored a career-high seven goals, Dragotta was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-South Region first team selection and named to the All-Southeastern Conference first team. She also appeared on SEC All-Tournament team.

Dragotta joins fellow Gator Adriana Leon in Boston. Leon, a member of the Canadian National Team, joined the Breakers as part of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico national teams allocation.

"I’m looking forward to experiencing everything there is to being a professional athlete," Dragotta said. "As a kid you grow up pretending you’re Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, or Abby Wambach. You watch them on TV, have posters of them on your wall, imagine what it’d be like if you were them. I’m not saying I’m anything close to those players or ever will be, but to get the chance to play at a professional level like they did, it’s definitely a little kid’s dream come true."

Dragotta’s senior season at Florida was by far her best in terms of offensive production. Known for her tenacity as a holding midfielder, Dragotta turned in an impressive performance going forward. Her seven goals placed the Tampa native second on the team this past season, and her total points (18) ranked her third. Six of her seven goals came in SEC play, including her first collegiate goal, a penalty shot against Georgia. She finished her career having played 4,879 minutes in 82 games, 53 of which she started. She played the most minutes as a senior (1,895 in 24 games).

When it came time for the Jan. 18 NWSL Draft, some players followed the selections on social media. Dragotta found out in a slightly different way.

"To be completely honest, I was still sleeping during the draft. My roommate, Holly King, called me and actually woke me up and told me I was drafted to Boston," Dragotta said. "I didn’t believe her at first. I thought she was joking with me, and I kept saying, ’This is messed up if you’re not serious.’ I still didn’t really believe it until I got back from brushing my teeth and saw I had 41 missed texts. I didn’t even think I had that many friends."

Dragotta said she’s very much looking forward to arriving in Boston. The team’s current roster features just one player she’s familiar with - Leon.

"I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to play with any of the current Breakers," she said. "But I definitely look forward to it."

Prior to arriving at the University of Florida, Dragotta had tremendous success playing club soccer for Hillsborough County United, which was coached by former Gator Danielle Fotopoulos. Dragotta also starred at Gaither High School in Tampa. She scored a combined 24 goals as a junior and senior.

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