NWSL Draft Preview: Team Needs and Players to Watch
On Friday at 9am EST, the National Women’s Soccer League will host their first ever College Draft at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis. Each team will have the opportunity to select four players from the draft to add to their roster. While the list of players who are entered in the draft has not been released, OGM has put together a big board of players to keep an eye on, ranging from the projected first pick to some players that you may have not heard of but has the potential to make an impact in the NWSL. Also, we will take a look at what types of players each team will be looking for come Friday morning.
The Draft Order: 4 rounds and the order will remain the same for each round with Chicago picking first:
1. Chicago Red Stars
2. Washington Spirit
3. FC Kansas City
4. Sky Blue FC
5. Boston Breakers
6. Western New York Flash
7. Seattle Reign FC
8. Portland Thorns FC
Our Game Magazine’s Big Board: NSWL College Draft
(Editors note: The list of players below are not placed in any specific ranking order or has every player eligible for the draft. If there is a list of players entered for the draft revealed between now and Friday, we will update our list)
1st- NSCAA 1st Team All-American R- NSCAA All-Region Only
2nd- NSCAA 2nd Team All-American MAC- Hermann Trophy Semifinalist
3rd- NSCAA 3rd Team All-American MAC Finalist- Hermann Trophy Finalist
(note: all stats are from 2012 season only)
- Caroline Miller (Virginia)(1st , MAC Finalist)- 20 goals, 7 assists
- Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA) (1st, MAC)- 15 goals, 4 assists
- Tiffany Cameron (Ohio St.) (2nd) -21 goals, 5 assists
- Colleen Williams (Dayton) (2nd)- 17 goals, 14 assists
- Erika Tymrak (Florida) (1st, MAC)- 9 goals, 12 assists
- Jen Hoy (Princeton) (2nd)- 18 goals, 4 assists
- Tiffany McCarty (Florida St.) (3rd)- 17 goals, 5 assists
- Dana Larsen (Baylor) (3rd)- 11 goals, 9 assists
- Nadia Link (Long Beach) (3rd)- 8 goals, 9 assists
Breaking it down: This is one of the two deeper positions in this years draft. While there are some teams that did benefit in the allocation with a plethora of strikers, there were other teams who only received one forward. Look to those teams to dive into the forwards pool early in the draft, especially towards Miller and Cameron, who each hit the back of the net for 20-plus goals this season. Though don’t be surprised if a playmaker forward like Tymrak gets chosen in the first round either.
- Christine Nairn (Penn State) (1st, MAC Finalist)- 17 goals, 12 assists
- Kristie Mewis (Boston College) (1st, MAC)- 16 goals, 12 assists
- Megan Jurado (San Diego State) (2nd), 15 goals, 9 assists
- *Kylie Louw (Stephen F. Austin) (2nd)- 7 goals, 13 assists
- Jess Kodiak (Miami (OH)) (3rd)- 12 goals, 12 assists
- Mariah Nogueira (Stanford) (2nd)- 7 goals, 1 assist
- Mallory Schaffer (William & Mary) (2nd)- 10 goals, 3 assists
- *Amelia Pereira (Hartford) (3rd)- 13 goals, 7 assists
Breaking it down: Unless the teams with the two highest picks are not in need of midfielders, Nairn and Mewis will go as the number one and two picks in the draft. Nairn had a great senior year and led Penn State to the College Cup final, while Mewis has been called up to a couple of national team camps and played a two game stint for Canberra United in the W-League recently. Outside of those two, there is a good mix of players in this group that can add depth for some teams in the midfield.
- Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall (BYU) (1st, MAC)- 3 goals, 2 assists, 13 team clean-sheets
- Rachel Quon (Stanford) (1st, MAC)- 2 goals, 7 assists, 11 team clean-sheets
- *Ines Jaurena (Florida St.) (1st, MAC)- 4 goals, 3 assists, 6 team clean-sheets
- Ally Miller (Marquette) (2nd)- 7 goals, 1 assist, 17 team clean-sheets
- Holly King (Florida) (3rd)- 5 goals, 4 assists, 4 team clean-sheets
- Jessica Morrow (Boston University) (3rd)- 5 assists, 8 team clean-sheets
- Jo Dragotta (Florida) (R) – 7 goals, 4 assists, 10 team clean-sheets
Breaking it down: When the list was originally made, it included Alina Garciamendez of Stanford and Bryana McCarthy of West Virginia. Now after those two were chosen by their national teams to be allocated, the list of defenders became really thin in this year’s class. The top five in this group are quality defenders but after that, teams will have needed to do some good scouting to find some diamonds in the rough.
Goalkeepers (key: record, G.A.A., saves, clean-sheets)
- AD Franch (Oklahoma St.) (1st)- 11-6-3, 1.07 GAA, 79 saves, 6 clean-sheets
- Haley Kopmeyer (Michigan) (2nd)- 16-5-3, 0.68 GAA, 95 saves, 13 clean-sheets
- *Erin McNulty (Penn St.) (R)- 16-4-2, 1.04 GAA, 94 saves, 6 clean-sheets
- Amy Howard (Auburn) (R)- 13-11-1, 1.14 GAA, 130 saves, 7 clean-sheets
- Cynthia Jacobo (CSU-Northridge) (R)- 11-5-6, 0.58, 106 saves, 3 clean-sheets
- Stefanie Turner (Central Michigan) (R)- 12-6-1, 0.79 GAA, 62 saves, 11 clean-sheets
- *Roxanne Barker (Pepperdine) (R)- 12-7-0, 1.20 GAA, 89 saves, 7 clean-sheets
- Lacey Brockhaus (Southeastern Louisiana) (R)- 12-7-1, 0.99 GAA, 100 saves, 10 clean-sheets
Breaking it down: This is another position that will be a wild card in the draft. Franch and Kopmeyer have proven themselves over their college careers as good goalkeepers, but this position will be loaded with players in the next couple of years. If teams are looking for goalies, expect that they would be picked in the later rounds of the draft.
Boston Breakers (picks: 5, 13, 21, 29): Boston is set in the forward position with three young strikers in Sydney Leroux, Adriana Leon and Anisa Guajardo. With the fifth pick in the first round, you would have to figure Mewis and Nairn will be gone by then. So look for Boston to possibly look for a defender early and then try to stack the midfield depth. The Breakers have an interesting goalkeeping situation with they have Cecilia Santiago, who is experienced but lacks consistency. But the Breakers will probably look to sign a veteran goalkeeper to help bring the young Mexican international along. So don’t expect them to look to draft another young GK.
Chicago Red Stars (picks: 1, 9, 17, 25): Chicago will be the very happy with the number one pick for sure, because they will have the opportunity to land a creative play-making midfielder in either Nairn or Mewis. That will balance well with having Shannon Boxx in a holding midfield role. Plus it will add great depth in the midfield as Wednesday afternoon, veteran midfielder Leslie Osborne announced she will be signing for the team once free agency begins. Chicago is fairly set in the defense with Amy LePeilbet and Carmelina Moscato, but could add depth in the back in the late rounds. After that, the Red Stars could use some firepower in the forward position to go with Maribel Dominguez and they should still find a couple good forwards in the second and third round.
FC Kansas City (picks: 3, 11, 19, 27): If Nairn or Mewis doesn’t get picked at one or two, expect FC Kansas City to snap them up. Outside of that happening, FCKC could use some wingers, and Rachel Quon could be one of those players that might fulfill that spot for the Blues on the flanks. Through the middle of the field FCKC is fine, with Nicole Barnhart in goal, Lauren Sesselmann and Becky Sauerbrunn in central defense, Lauren Cheney as a playmaker and a young Renae Cuellar up front. Midfielders and depth up front will be other keys for Kansas City to look for through the draft as well as through free agency.
Portland Thorns FC (picks: 8, 16, 24, 32): I don’t know if giving Portland the last pick in each round will offset the strong allocation (Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath, etc) they received last week. But either way, Cindy Parlow Cone will have to do some scouting for the later rounds. They do need a holding midfielder, which one of those players like a Mariah Nogueira could be available when they choose. Also they could choose to add depth in defense to play alongside Rachel Buehler in centreback or maybe take a goalie to challenge Karina LeBlanc.
Seattle Reign FC (picks: 7, 15, 23, 31): The places that Seattle is solid is in the goalkeeping, with Hope Solo, and midfield positions. Though replacing Megan Rapinoe in midfield might be a small concern while she finishes her six-month deal with Lyon in France. But the Reign can take care of that through free agency so during the draft, expect them to look to pick up forwards later in the draft and try and land a defender in the first round, preferably Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall or Quon if available.
Sky Blue FC (picks: 4, 12, 20, 28): Sky Blue is pretty much set up in the defense with Christie Rampone, Kelley O’Hara and Melanie Booth, plus Jill Loyden in goal. But Sky Blue is thin at midfield and even thinner up front. With Sophie Schmidt in the midfield and only Monica Ocampo up front, they will need to add to these positions. It’s not likely that Nairn or Mewis will drop to number four in the first round, so a strong possibility for Sky Blue is taking Caroline Miller, who had a big season for Virginia this year. They could also go for a playmaker in midfield to go alongside of Schmidt so possibly a Erica Tymrak could be a candidate.
Washington Spirit (picks: 2, 10, 18, 26): Washington has the luxury of a no-brainer decision. They will have either Nairn or Mewis at their pick in the first round. The pressure goes to Chicago at number one because they have to choose between the two. The two other major thinking points for Washington is that they will have to consider is getting a goalkeeper, because Ashlyn Harris won’t be back until the Bundesliga season is over. But they might wait until free agency to sign a ‘keeper or pick one up in the later rounds if a good player is still there. The Spirit is set with defenders for now with Ali Krieger and Alina Garciamendez among others. And their midfield allocation gave them Diana Matheson and Lori Lindsey, which isn’t too bad either. With their second round pick, the Spirit weren’t allocated a true forward so possibly a Tiffany McCarty or a Colleen Williams, both who had 17 goals this past year, could be available at this time.
Western New York Flash (picks: 6, 14, 22, 30): The Flash are solid offensively for a start with Abby Wambach, Jodi-Ann Robinson and Veronica Perez at forward plus Carli Lloyd as an attacking midfielder, so they are good in that aspect. What they need is defense, and at many positions including in net. It wouldnt be a shock if with their first pick they go for a center back or AD Franch in net. Their allocated ‘keeper is Pamela Tajonar, who returns to the Flash after playing with them in the W-League, but hasn’t gotten much playing time since so Franch might be the Flash’s answer in net. After the first round, they should continue to go after defenders and maybe if there is a good winger in the last round, that is another possibility.
You can follow the draft through JJ Duke on Twitter @jjduke21 as he will tweet the draft results as they come out.
JJ Duke graduated from Rider University in New Jersey with a degree in Digital Media Studies. While his playing days may have ended back in high school, he still prides himself of being a decent shot-stopper and an all-around fanatic of the beautiful game (fervent supporter of Manchester United and the founder of a Rider supporters group, the 206 Ultras). He is the Student General Manager at 107.7 The Bronc at Rider and has contributed to various local newspaper and Web sites in the Trenton, NJ area of high school and collegiate sports including The Rider News and Fish4Scores.com. He became involved with Our Game Magazine early in 2012 when upon following OGM on Twitter, he was contacted within minutes (which caught him by surprise) by Tiffany about working with the team. After spending the summer covering the USL W-League and the WPSL-Elite league as an intern, he is looking forward to continue working with the OGM team, especially on games in the US.