Photo by ISIphotos.com
By J.J. DUKE
Early on Friday morning in Indianapolis, the National Women’s Soccer League held their first college draft. For four rounds, each team had the opportunity to add players to their rosters before the inagural season commences in April.
Coming into draft day, the odd-on favorites for the No. 1 draft pick were MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Christine Nairn from Penn State and Boston College midfielder Kristie Mewis. But when the Chicago Red Stars revealed their choice, it was neither Nairn or Mewis.
Instead, it was Zakiya Bywaters, a first team All-American forward from UCLA.
“I’m very surprised. I was really excited when [head coach] Rory [Dames] gave me the call to let me know. I’m still kind of in shock about the whole experience,” said Bywaters. “But I’m really looking forward to playing in a professional environment. I’m very excited and honored.”
Washington Spirit went second and selected Tiffany McCarty from Florida State, leaving FC Kansas City to land Mewis with the third overall pick.
“I was really excited. I don’t know too much about Kansas City,” said Mewis. “It’s going to be a change, it’s going to be new, and I think it’s going to be really good for me.”
Other notable picks in the first round included Western New York Flash drafting U.S. women’s national team pool goalkeeper A.D. Franch sixth overall. Franch played her college soccer at Oklahoma State.
Seattle Reign F.C. picked Nairn at No. 7, which was a great pick for the Reign, as Nairn will be a big asset in a Seattle midfield that will be without U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe until her contract with French club Lyon runs out in May.
One of the bigger surprises in the later rounds came from Portland Thorns F.C., as they chose Amber Brooks from North Carolinan with their third-round pick. The midfielder, who starred on the Tar Heels run to their National Championship this past fall, signed a contract with Bayern Munich recently. With allocated players Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair and former Tar Heel Tobin Heath already lining up for Thorns F.C., head coach Cindy Parlow Cone is hoping Brooks will follow as well.
Here are the full results of the draft:
1. Chicago Red Stars- Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA)
2. Washington Spirit- Tiffany McCarty (Florida State)
3. FC Kansas City- Kristie Mewis (Boston College)
4. Sky Blue FC- Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall (BYU)
5. Boston Breakers- Casey Short (Florida State)
6. Western New York Flash- AD Franch (Oklahoma State)
7. Seattle Reign FC- Christine Nairn (Penn State)
8. Portland Thorns FC- Kathryn Williamson (Florida)
9. Chicago Red Stars- Rachel Quon (Stanford)
10. Washington Spirit- Caroline Miller (Virginia)
11. FC Kansas City- Erica Tymrak (Florida)
12. Sky Blue FC- Kendall Johnson (Portland)
13. Boston Breakers- Mariah Nogueira (Stanford)
14. Western New York Flash- Amy Barczuk (Colorado)
15. Seattle Reign FC- Mallory Schaeffer (William and Mary)
16. Portland Thorns FC- Nicolette Radovic (Central Florida)
17. Chicago Red Stars- Taylor Vancil (Florida State)
18. Washington Spirit- Holly King (Florida)
19. FC Kansas City- Whitney Berry (Kansas)
20. Sky Blue FC- Ashley Baker (Georgia)
21. Boston Breakers- Jo Dragotta (Florida)
22. Western New York Flash- Vicki DiMartino (Boston College)
23. Seattle Reign FC- Kristen Meier (Wake Forest)
24. Portland Thorns FC- Amber Brooks (North Carolina)
25. Chicago Red Stars- Jen Hoy (Princeton)
26. Washington Spirit- Colleen Williams (Dayton)
27. FC Kansas City- Nia Williams (Missouri State)
28. Sky Blue FC- Rebecca Kaplan (Maryland) f
29. Boston Breakers- Maddy Evans (Penn State)
30. Western New York Flash- Jacyln Logue (Wake Forest)
31. Seattle Reign FC- Haley Kopmeyer (Michigan)
32. Portland Thorns FC- Roxanne Barker (Pepperdine)
What are your thoughts on the NWSL College Draft? Was there a clear winner from today’s results? Any surprising picks as well?
Please leave your thoughts below