Growing up under a father who had played in France for third division side Grenoble and watching her younger brother Mael—now a star midfielder at the University of Maryland—play, Daphne Corboz’s passion for soccer began at an early age.
The only problem was that she wasn’t allowed to join in. Coming from France in 1992, Corboz’s father, Michel, grew up in a culture where women’s soccer was not very popular and insisted she pursue basketball or volleyball.
But after taking Mael to his first soccer tournament and seeing other girls playing, Michel gave Daphne the green light to play the sport she loved.
Now, as she departs from Georgetown University’s women’s soccer team for the third NWSL College Draft in Philadelphia, she does so as arguably the program’s greatest player.
But despite leaving Georgetown as the 2014 Big East Conference’s Midfielder of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year—the first time one player has won both in the same season—her 5-foot-2 frame has some questioning her transition to the next level with Corboz projected as a second-round pick.
It wouldn’t be the first time Corboz has dealt with adversity. Following a successful high school career at Watchung Hills where she was the school’s all-time leader in career goals (97) and assists (57), along with being a member of the New Jersey Olympic Development Program with her team PDA Tsunami, Corboz joined a Georgetown program whose women’s team was on the rise.
That rise was largely due to the play of former Hoyas midfielder Ingrid Wells. Nicknamed “the Little General”, Wells was the main catalyst in leading Georgetown to its first two ever NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007 and 2010 where it advanced all the way to the Elite Eight.
Corboz joined the team in 2011, Wells’ final season, where she played mostly out wide. She finished fourth on the team in scoring with 21 points received an All-BIG EAST Rookie selection.
Entering her sophomore year in 2012, the departure of Wells moved Corboz into her preferred attacking midfield role where she inherited the responsibilities of trying to replicate her predecessors’ success.
Instead of cracking under the pressure, Corboz exceeded expectations to deliver one of the greatest individual seasons in Hoyas history in what was a record-setting year for the team.
The Greenbrook, New Jersey native set a single-season record in points scored (44), goals scored (18) while also adding eight assists.
Corboz ranked 11th in the country that year in points per game (1.91) and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year. She was also selected as a First Team All-American by the NSCAA—the youngest player selected to the 14-player first team.
Georgetown finished that year 16-4-3 including an 8-1-1 conference record where it advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Corboz led the Hoyas to a second-straight 16 win season and second round appearance in the NCAAs the following season only this time she played provider, finishing with 13 assists to tie the school’s single-season record despite missing the first five games.
She also finished with seven goals and was named a Second Team All-American along with collecting her second-straight Big East Midfielder of the Year award.
Although 2014 brought nearly identical success for the team which earned its third consecutive NCAA appearance and a second round exit, it was a special season for Corboz.
Not only did she shatter the team’s single-season record for assists with 18 while scoring a team-high 12 goals, she also did so while playing alongside her sister Rachel, who was a freshman on the team.
It was the first time the sisters had been on the same team with Rachel attending a private high school and a three-year age gap never allowing them a chance to play together.
As Daphne prepares to move on, like Wells did before, Rachel is expected to continue the Hoyas’ success through the attacking midfield role that Daphne had excelled in for three years.
Daphne leaves the program as a three-time conference midfielder of the year winner, the all-time leading scorer in program history in points (134), goals scored (47) and second all-time in assists with 40.
Not bad for a girl who almost never got the chance to play.