2017 NWSL College Draft Recap
The top talent in women’s college soccer gathered in Los Angeles for the 2017 NWSL College Draft during a defining moment in their career under the bright lights. Clubs look to the future as they reload their squads for the fifth NWSL campaign with new ownerships also highlighting a busy week for the league.
NWSL Soccer News: The 2017 NWSL College Draft came to a close in Los Angeles on Thursday with some of the top talent in the game taking their skills to the professional level.
The Boston Breakers look to the future as they welcome four of the first nine picks of the draft, including the No. 1 overall selection, midfielder Rose Lavelle.
“I’m really pleased. We had a plan in place. We watched a lot of games, watched a lot of footage on players, and the important thing for me was to make sure we come out of today with strength and depth in the squad, players that could create competition for places. To me, that was really, really important,” Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard said. “We worked really hard to get the amount of first-round picks we did to enable us to pick some of the best young players in the country.”
Lavelle is one of 29 players called up by head coach Jill Ellis for the first U.S. Women’s National Team training camp of 2017. During her senior season at the University of Wisconsin, Lavelle became the program’s first three-time All-American. She recorded a team-leading 16 points, six goals, 74 shots, 31 shots on goal and two game-winning goals during her senior season.
“It’s such an honor. There’s such a talented pool of players registered for the draft. It’s just an honor to be picked so high,” Lavelle said. “I’m super excited for this new journey.”
With the No. 3 pick in the draft, the Breakers selected University of Southern California midfielder Morgan Andrews. USC is coming off its second NCAA College Cup Championship as the Breakers reload with tested competitors for the 2017 campaign.
“It’s a great honor, especially to go to Boston,” said Andrews. I’m a New England girl through and through. It’s exciting to head back east and play in front of a home crowd.”
The Breakers also selected University of California forward Ifeoma Onumonu as the No. 8 selection and Margaret Purce of Harvard with the 9th overall pick.
North Carolina Courage bolstered their roster with the second overall pick as they add Ashley Hatch to its strong front line that led the former WNY Flash to its first NWSL Championship in 2016. Hatch remains optimistic about the franchise’s first season in North Carolina after a new ownership was announced this week.
“It sounds like an amazing area,” said Hatch. “I’ve only heard good things about it. I’m excited to go experience it for myself and to be part of that community.”
Hatch was invited to her first USWNT training camp last October. The Courage capped off the round with forward Darian Jenkins as the 7th overall pick.
Sky Blue FC was the next big winner of the draft, selecting a pair of defenders from USC in Kayla Mills at No. 4 overall and Mandy Freeman at No. 10.
“First of all, I’m so so so blessed to be selected by a team,” said Mills. “This is my dream to play professional soccer.”
The New Jersey club concluded the draft with four more selections over the remaining three rounds, where it selected Clemson goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan (No. 23 overall), Rutgers forward Madison Tiernan (No. 24 overall), Clemson midfielder Catrina Atanda (No. 30 overall) and Boston College forward McKenzie Meehan (No. 34 overall).
With the fifth pick, FC Kansas City brings Christina Gibbons to the two-time NWSL champions as the club looks to regain prominence during the 2017 season.
Serving as co-captain during her senior season with Duke, Gibbons received NSCAA First Team All-America honors and became only the third Blue Devil to receive the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award.
Seattle Reign FC selected Maddie Bauer with the No. 6 overall pick as the final club participating in the first round. The Stanford product was named to the 2016 NSCAA All-America first team and also received NSCAA All-Pacific Region first team honors on three occasions (2013, 2015, 2016).
1st Pick: Rose Lavelle – Midfielder – University of Wisconsin (Boston Breakers)
2nd Pick: Ashley Hatch – Forward – BYU (NC Courage)
3rd Pick: Morgan Andrews – Midfielder – USC (Boston Breakers)
4th Pick: Kayla Mills – Defender – USC (Sky Blue FC)
5th Pick: Christina Gibbons – Defender/Midfielder – Duke (FC Kansas City)
6th Pick: Maddie Bauer – Defender – Stanford (Seattle Reign FC)
7th Pick: Darian Jenkins – Midfielder/Forward – UCLA (NC Courage)
8th Pick: Ifeoma Onumonu – Forward – Cal (Boston Breakers)
9th Pick: Margaret Purce – Forward – Harvard (Boston Breakers)
10th Pick: Miranda Freeman – Defender – USC (Sky Blue FC)
*Chicago acquire No. 11 overall pick from Boston for a second round rick in the 2018 NWSL Draft and a 2017 international roster spot.
11th Pick: Michele Vasconcelos – Midfielder/Forward – BYU (Chicago Red Stars)
12th Pick: Morgan Proffitt – Defender/Midfielder – Marquette University (Chicago Red Stars)
13th Pick: Toni Payne – Midfielder – Duke (FC Kansas City)
14th Pick: Rachel Hill – Forward – UCONN (Portland Thorns)
15th Pick: Jane Campbell – Goalkeeper – Stanford (Houston Dash)
*Seattle Reign acquire No. 16 overall pick in 2017 NWSL Draft from Chicago for a first round pick in the 2018 NWSL Draft.
16th Pick: Katie Johnson – Forward – USC (Seattle Reign)
17th Pick: Stephanie Ribeiro – Forward – UCONN (FC Kansas City)
*Portland Thorns acquire the 18th overall pick. TheNC Courage acquires the 20th and 27th overall picks.
18th Pick: Savannah Jordan – Forward – Florida (Portland Thorns FC)
19th Pick: Lindsay Agnew – Forward – Ohio State (Washington Spirit)
20th Pick: Claire Wagner – Defender – Clemson (NC Courage)
21st Pick: Tyler Lussi – Forward – Princeton (Portland Thorns FC)
22nd Pick: Danica Evans – Forward – Colorado University (Orlando Pride)
23rd Pick: Kailen Sheridan – Goalkeeper – Clemson (Sky Blue FC)
24th Pick: Madison Tiernan – Midfielder/Forward – Rutgers University (Sky Blue FC)
25th Pick: Alexis Shaffer – Midfielder – University of Virginia (FC Kansas City)
26th Pick: Arielle Ship – Forward – University of California (Seattle Reign)
27th Pick: Jaycie Johnson – Defender – University of Nebraska (NC Courage)
*Houston acquires the 28th overall pick. Chicago Red Stars acquire Round 2 pick in 2018.
28th Pick: Nichelle Prince – Forward – Ohio State (Houston Dash)
29th Pick: Megan Dougherty-Howard – Midfielder – University of Florida (Washington Spirit)
30th Pick: Catrina Atanda – Midfielder – Clemson (Sky Blue FC)
31st Pick: Sammy Jo Prudhomme – Goalkeeper – USC (Boston Breakers)
32nd Pick: Nickolette Driesse – Defender/Midfielder – Penn State (Orlando Pride)
33rd Pick: Erin Smith – Defender – Rutgers (Houston Dash)
34th Pick: McKenzie Meehan – Forward – Boston College (Sky Blue FC)
35th Pick: Rashida Beal – Defender – Minnesota (FC Kansas City)
36th Pick: Cameron Castleberry – Midfielder – North Carolina (Washington Spirit)
37th Pick: Kristen McNabb – Defender – Virginia (Seattle Reign FC)
38th Pick: Hayley Dowd – Forward – Boston College (Boston Breakers)
39th Pick: Lauren Kaskie – Midfielder – UCLA (Chicago Red Stars)
40th Pick: Caroline Flynn – Midfielder/Forward – Nebraska (Portland Thorns FC)