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Julia Dorsey

Tar Heels Lacrosse/Soccer Defender Julia Dorsey Selected in NWSL Draft

January 15, 2024
Matt DaSilva
UNC Athletics

Julia Dorsey came to North Carolina as a lacrosse recruit. She leaves as a soccer pro.

A two-sport star for the Tar Heels, Dorsey was selected by the North Carolina Courage in the third round (40th overall) of the National Women’s Soccer League draft Friday despite missing the 2023 season due to a knee injury that also cut short her senior year in lacrosse.

“Julia was one of the hidden gems in this draft,” UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance said in an article posted on the school’s website. “I had spoken to several coaches and I was dying for them to pick her.”

An elite defender on the soccer pitch, Dorsey was a key part of North Carolina’s College Cup run in 2022. She played 528 of a possible 560 minutes during the NCAA tournament that season, including every minute of the last four games, and scored the game-winning goal in the national semifinals.

Also a skilled defender on the lacrosse field, Dorsey was an integral member of the Tar Heels’ undefeated NCAA championship team that year. In 56 career games (28 starts), she had three goals, six assists, 45 ground balls, 25 caused turnovers and 22 draw controls. 

The Baltimore Sun’s 2018-19 Female Athlete of the Year at McDonogh School, Dorsey received a lacrosse scholarship but always intended to play both sports no matter where she landed. She chose North Carolina over Georgetown, Maryland, Penn and Virginia. Considering the championship pedigree of both programs, only six players have ever played both women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse at North Carolina. The others were Sarah Dacey, Aubrey Falk, Elizabeth Lancaster, Katie Brooks and Maggie Bill. 

“Given her lacrosse background, she is an expert at staying between the ball and the middle of the goal, which is her best quality. She is nearly impossible to beat off the dribble. She is such a talented athlete that she was within 16 seconds against UCLA in 2022 of being a two-sport national champion.”

Dorsey started 11 games as a senior defender at North Carolina last season before she tore her ACL in a 16-12 loss at Notre Dame on April 1. She had two caused turnovers in the game before going down with the injury.