BYU midfielder Mikayla Colohan got drafted by the Orlando Pride, but will stay in Provo for now

Colohan, the 14th overall pick of the NWSL Draft, will finish up her collegiate career before reporting to Orlando.

(Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics) BYU's Mikayla Colohan dribbles the ball upfield during a recent Cougar women's soccer game.

Provo • The coronavirus pandemic initially took away Mikayla Colohan’s senior season, but gave it back and then some.

Because of the pandemic, the soccer season — which usually takes place in the fall — was postponed until the spring. That left Colohan in a bit of a predicament.

Usually, the season wraps up before the NWSL Draft. So, the senior was unsure of what to do: stay and play for the Cougars, or try going pro.

Well, she’s doing both.

“We kind of went to practice one day and it was announced that [the season] was officially canceled,” Colohan said. “I think everyone was kind of caught off guard and didn’t really know what to do from there because … it felt completely stolen. It was just kind of a bummer, especially for us seniors and our last year.”

But in December, the NWSL made a change in its draft rules. Division I athletes had the options of either reporting to their NWSL club immediately or at the conclusion of the spring collegiate season.

Colohan’s decision was made even easier when the NWSL made another change shortly before the draft: all Division I players who have used up three years of eligibility were made eligible for the draft, whether they declared or not.

That’s how Colohan, who scored 15 goals and had five assists in the 2019 season, found herself selected with No. 14 overall pick by the Orlando Pride.

On Jan. 13, Ian Fleming, who just a day prior was announced as the club’s new general manager, made the call to Colohan to share the news.

“We’re excited to have you,” Fleming said in the call. “We feel like we got a bit lucky that you fell into our laps there. … We’ve heard nothing but good things, and we think you have a lot to offer. So, we look forward to have you here.”

However, the Pride will have to wait.

Colohan will take full advantage of the league’s rule to allow her to finish up her collegiate career before heading out to Florida.

Not only will the Kaysville native play this spring (the Cougars have an exhibition on Saturday and officially start the season Feb. 6), but she also plans to play next fall thanks to the NCAA rule that essentially made this year a freebie. Colohan will then report to Orlando January 2022.

“Last year we just had such a good year that I just want to go even further,” Colohan said. “I felt like there was still, for me personally, there’s still more gas left in the tank. I just love being at BYU. … I just like being here. It’s just a really fun environment and I want to take full advantage of the time I have here before I jump to the next phase.”

Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, which provided a different set of opportunities, Colohan now finds herself getting ready to play at the collegiate level while being signed on professionally.

The unique situation puts a sort of target on the senior, but it’s nothing new. The target would have already been there after Colohan’s breakout junior season.

In 2019, Colohan started in all 22 games and scored 15 goals, while making five assists. Colohan’s performance helped lead the Cougars to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Colohan will now use her pending professional career to make the best of her time left at BYU.

“I think it just motivates me to set the tone for the team,” Colohan said. “And I just expect a lot out of teammates, expect a lot of myself, so that we’re playing at the highest level possible and just hold ourselves to that standard. … I hope to just build off what we did last year and take things even further.”