NWSL draft grades: Kansas City Current gets an “A”;  Washington Spirit makes a confusing gesture

NWSL draft grades: Kansas City Current gets an “A”; Washington Spirit makes a confusing gesture

NWSL draft grades: Kansas City Current gets an “A”;  Washington Spirit makes a confusing gesture

PHILADELPHIA CREAM – The National Women’s Soccer League welcomed 48 new players to the league in the 2023 draft on Thursday. A wild first round full of rallies with player movement and positions swapped set the tone for the evening. Angel City F.C. selected 18-year-old striker Alyssa Thompson with the No. 1 selection overall, while the Kansas City Current forward traded Lynn Williams to move up to second, taking Duke forward Michelle Cooper. The project also closed the evening with an exchange by the Houston Dash. It was a deep draft class, and many teams come away with great additions to their rosters and a ton of positive vibes.

With the 2023 draft officially on the books, note the teams on their overall draft night:

Angel City: B-

The Los Angeles team made headlines the day before the draft when they participated in a four-team trade to move up to No. 1. The move was reported to Thompson’s draft. Here’s how Angel City acquired the top pick:

  • Angel City FC received the rights to forward Yazmeen Ryan from the Portland Thorns in exchange for $200,000 in stipend money, along with the 2023 RAC first-round pick and 2024 second-round pick.
  • Angel City FC then traded the rights to Ryan and $250,000 for FC Gotham in exchange for the No. 1 draft pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft.

The club ultimately spent $450,000 to get to No. 1 and selected Thompson. A young prospect with a high ceiling, Thompson could play along the front line depending on the team’s plans to use him. It was a bold decision to make and could probably pay off sooner than expected. The club also needed to bolster its goalie core and did so by selecting another California native – Angelina Anderson from California-Berkely.

Chicago Red Stars: C+

A team that lost several players in the offseason to free agency and retirement, the club entered the draft needing to sign players in all areas. They started with three caps in total but finished with four players. Penn State forward Penelope Hocking was considered one of the top forwards in the draft class and was Chicago’s first selection at No. 7.

The additions of Grace Yochum (Oklahoma), Ally Schlegel (Penn State) and Sophie Jones (Duke) are all offensive-minded players who can come in and compete for starting roles for the club. But no defender added for depth gives them a lower rating.

Houston Dash: B+

Houston traded the first round but made it worth it in a trade with North Carolina Courage. They received forward Diana Ordonez and the 30th overall pick. Ordonez is coming off a stellar season where she broke the record for most goals scored by a rookie with 12. They also needed depth in defense and midfield. They achieved this by selecting players like Jyllissa Harris (University of South Carolina) and Lindsi Jennings (Louisiana State University).

Kansas City Current: A

The Current continued their streak of big moves on draft day when they struck a deal with NJ/NY Gotham FC to move up to second place. They selected top prospect and Mac Hermann Cooper Trophy winner with the pick and closed the first round with Alexa Spaanstra, a versatile striker who can also play in midfield.

NJ/NY Gotham FC: A-

The team started the day with the No. 2 pick, made a massive amount of moves with the current, Racing Louisville and San Diego Wave FC – and always with a selection among the first five. The club acquired USWNT forward Lynn Williams from Kansas City Current in a trade for the No. 2 spot, then selected Jenna Nighswonger in the No. 4 spot after a trade to Louisville. The clubs’ decision earlier in the week to acquire Yazmeen Ryan also sets them up well for 2023.

North Carolina Courage: C-

They lost Debinha in free agency and now Ordonez in a trade and for available first-round talent have made somewhat confusing selections for their picks. They won last year’s draft, but not this one, unfortunately. But Clara Robbins (FSU) at No. 9 could be a steal.

Reign of OL:B-

OL Reign has an above average roster and comes away with a somewhat average rating. They left the day with just two picks but swung for the closes with a trade. Laura Harvey picked up another star player in a trade with Washington’s Spirit for USWNT defender Emily Sonnett.

Orlando Pride: A-

The team participated in the multi-team deal before draft day and earned a bunch of allocation money in the process. They ultimately lost the free agency race for Brazil international Debinha, but made strong selections with their draft picks. Defender Emily Madril was the highest-rated defender in the draft and Pride needed to target the baseline. They also walk away with Messiah Bright, a top TCU forward who scored 49 goals in his college career.

Portland Thorns FC:B

The defending champions landed another first-round pick in a trade with Angel City FC and opted to select Reyna Reyes from Alabama – a player who can slot into the backline and midfield and become a long-term solution for their defence. .

Race Louisville F.C.: C+

Racing Louisville pulled out of the first round and acquired Paige Monaghan in a trade with Gotham FC for the No. 4 spot. She was their biggest pick of the night, alongside allowance money, which gives them the average rating.

San Diego Wave FC: C+

The California club jumped up the draft order for the first pick in the second round, but didn’t have to really flesh out the major parts of their roster with this draft. They hit the jackpot with Naomi Girma in last year’s draft, made strong free agency signings this offseason and had minor use in this year’s draft. However, midfielder Sierra Enge stood out at Stanford and choosing an additional goalkeeper in Lauren Brzykcy was a smart move.

Spirit of Washington: D+

The Spirit needed to expand their roster, so they traded USWNT defenseman Sonnett. Make sense. If Riley Tanner — an Alabama forward/midfielder — can have a breakout year and help out on offense, maybe the team will outplay the opposition on the field.

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