Texas Soccer alum signs professional contract with Houston Dash

Isa Almeida, General News Reporter

Months after her last game for Texas, goalkeeper Savannah Madden signed her first professional contract with the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League. 

Unlike college recruiting, coaches only tend to reach out to players when inviting them to pre-NWSL draft training. Madden was invited to two of those with the San Diego Wave, her hometown team. 

“Anything can happen on draft day,” Madden said. “You don’t know if you’ll get selected unless you’re a round one pick.”

Throughout her college career, teams reached out to Texas coach Angela Kelly expressing interest in the goalkeeper. But despite the former interest and good stats, Madden was not picked in the draft. However, she was called upon by the Dash to join their preseason camp. Two weeks before the end of pre-season, which started on Jan. 27, Madden was offered a contract. 

“Typically they won’t hold you for longer than a month if they’re not interested in you because they want you to have other opportunities,” Madden said. “So I kind of had a feeling early on that they were trying to take me into consideration.”

The Dash announced the signing of Madden, USC’s Jylissa Harris, national champion UCLA’s Madelyn Desiano and Harvard’s Sophie Hirst on March 25.

While at Texas, the San Diego native took both a COVID year and a redshirt year to get more game experience as a starter before heading into her professional career. Madden’s extended stay allowed her to feel more confident in her time at the camp.

“I felt like I was excelling,” Madden said. “I was meant to be there, and I showed it, and that’s what they saw, and that’s why I made the team.”

Former Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who debuted for the United States Women’s National Team in 2017 and won a bronze medal with the team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, currently holds the spot as starting goalkeeper in Houston. 

Madden is training under Campbell and focusing on developing her skills. As a rookie in her position, game time is not expected, but she is enjoying her time and fighting for the second-string position. She traveled to Chicago with her team as the backup goalkeeper in their 2-1 win against the Red Stars.

“One thing about Savannah is, whenever her time is called she will be ready,” Coach Kelly said. “And until it’s called, she’s going to be a fantastic teammate.”

Kelly said her passion for coaching comes from watching these young women grow and graduate with options, whether that is going professional, continuing their education or going into the workplace with their degree. 

“Savannah’s dream was to play professionally in the U.S., which is the NWSL,” Kelly said. “And to see that come to fruition for her, it just makes you feel really happy.”