On episode #3 of the WoSo Independent Podcast, Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) & Jon Lipsitz (@jonlipsitz) briefly touch on the USWNT scheduling a friendly with Norway in June (2:00), preview the SheBelieves Cup for the U.S. (3:30), Germany (8:30), France (12:45), and England (18:07). They close out the show with an hour of discussion on the Top 27 prospects for the 2020 NWSL Draft (24:50).
In Episode #2 of the WoSo Independent, All White Kit & HERO Sports’ Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) and Jon Lipsitz (@jonlipsitz) discuss the latest news with the NWSL’s TV deals and departing players, the USWNT’s latest camp roster, and the latest NCAA WoSo transfer news.
The NWSL’s TV deal with A+E Networks (1:25)
The USWNT Camp Roster for the SheBelieves Cup (31:02)
-Is Megan Rapinoe’s USWNT Career Over? (37:00)
Carli Lloyd’s Move to Manchester City (45:50)
-Who Is The Face of The NWSL Given the Exodus of USWNT Players? (51:45)
Michelle Betos’ Move to Norway (55:37)
-Ramifications for Portland & AD Franch (1:00:16)
English Star Jemma Purfield’s Transfer from South Alabama to Arizona State (1:04:10)
In Episode #1 of the WoSo Independent, All White Kit & HERO Sports’ Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) sits down with former college women’s soccer coach Jon Lipsitz (@jonlipsitz) to provide a detailed review of the 2017 NWSL Draft, including views on the big stories and a team-by-team analysis of picks and trades in the weeks following the draft.
Show Intro (0:20)
General 2017 NWSL Draft Thoughts (2:15)
Boston Breakers (10:20)
Chicago Red Stars (22:40)
FC Kansas City (29:48)
Houston Dash (38:57)
North Carolina Courage (47:21)
Orlando Pride (57:35)
Portland Thorns (1:05:08)
Seattle Reign (1:12:05)
Sky Blue FC (1:18:58)
Washington Spirit (1:28:17)
Round Four Analysis
31 – BOS – Sammy Jo Prudhomme – GK – USC
Stock went up in a big way after senior season helping lead USC to a national title. Question the fit a bit considering Breakers need defenders and have taken zero, but they also needed an upgrade in goal for a backup at the very least. They may be hedging against Abby Smith’s injury recovery suffering complications. Probably not going to be more than a backup at this level, but still probably better than what they’ve had.
32 – ORL – Nickolette Driesse – MF – Penn State
Driesse should’ve really gone a round or two earlier and is a great value at this spot. Played deeper role with Florida State before transferring in and playing a more attacking role with PSU. With Becky Edwards gone, is she playing a deeper role in pros? Orlando were really going big for a central midfielder and got the best one still on the board probably a few rounds after she should have gone. Great pick.
33 – HOU – Erin Smith – D – Rutgers
Another from the conveyor belt of defenders from Rutgers and a great value. Can play centrally or wide but might grade out as a right-back at the next level. Extremely attacking player roaming the flanks and should have a great mentor in Poliana. Versatility a huge asset this late and fills need. Excellent late pick.
34 – SBFC – McKenzie Meehan – F – Boston College
A few years ago, nobody would’ve believed you if you thought Meehan would fall this far, and she’ll probably have a massive chip on her shoulder being taken this low. Does she play centrally or wide at next level? Some might worry if she’s plateaued already given downturn in form past year or so, but pressure likely won’t be on early being picked this low. Continue reading
Round Three Analysis
21 – POR – Tyler Lussi – F – Princeton
Third forward in the draft, though only #2 if you don’t feel Jordan is coming to Portland immediately. Lussi wasn’t a particularly highly ranked player on the Four Factors metric, and she didn’t do a ton against more highly regarded opposition, though some of that might be scheduling. I’m not sure how she’s not going to be buried on the depth chart here though.
22 – ORL – Danica Evans – F – Colorado
Thought the Pride were going to fill another need, but they need goals with Morgan gone for a few months (at least). Evans has ripped up opponents in Summer leagues but was inconsistent at college level at Portland for two years and at Colorado before her senior season. Probably a little bit of a reach though, even with upside.
23 – SBFC – Kailen Sheridan – GK – Clemson
Sky Blue needed an upgrade at keeper, and Sheridan, ideally, is the long-term solution at the position. In contention now for Canada at full international level, Sheridan has been a big part of Clemson’s revitalized defense for four seasons. Undeniably talented, but when the wheels come off, it’s ugly. Fills need, but I’d be more comfortable if she was learning from a steadier veteran hand.
24 – SBFC – Madison Tiernan – F – Rutgers
Club should be familiar with Tiernan given the Rutgers connection. Has had an up and down college career but had a great senior season for the Scarlet Knights. An absolute gunner who takes a ton of shots, sometimes to her detriment. Not going to be a star at next level but could be decent depth, though she probably would’ve been available late. Continue reading
Round Two Analysis
11 – CHI – Michele Vasconcelos – F/MF – BYU
I’m not sure how much more forward power Chicago needs, but Vasconcelos is the type of player that can fill multiple roles in an attack. She finished on top of my Four Factors rankings for the 2016 college season and was ridiculously efficient. Definitely a player that thrives around other top attacking talent, which could mean big things in Chicago, as long as Dames finds the proper role for her.
12 – CHI – Morgan Proffitt – MF, D – Marquette
Steady performer at both center-back and in defensive midfield. Big question is where she plays as a pro, though she certainly has size to play in central defense. Biggest worry from what I’ve heard is pace at the next level, though Dames has been good in past at getting most out of collegiate players with certain flaws. Probably an overachiever here, but I think this is a round too soon.
13 – FCKC – Toni Payne – F – Duke
It’s not the most natural fit for a possession oriented team, but Payne might be coming here to add a much needed different dimension to the attack that might need some pace with the aging Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux on center stage. I think Payne’s going to be more of a counter-attack player off the bench to begin, and there are questions over her production. Still think this works out for FCKC though.
14 – POR – Rachel Hill – F – UConn
Defense is probably a more pressing need, but Hill’s first-round value in the middle of the second round. She’s another burner but has been unbelievably consistent through four seasons, which says a lot at a big conference school. The big question is where she fits in right away with a stacked forward corps. Likely as a super sub to begin with. Continue reading
Round One Analysis:
1 – BOS – Rose Lavelle – MF – Wisconsin
There was probably a little doubt as some thought Lavelle might get passed over for Morgan Andrews, but Lavelle is the better pick for a team trying to build from virtually rock bottom. Her small offensive stats are pretty deceiving, as she played without a semblance of an offense with the Badgers and should be much more involved offensively for Boston going forward. She’s going to be the centerpiece of the midfield with the trade of Kristie Mewis and should be a solid building block for the present and future for the Breakers. This was the right pick and a much needed one for Boston.
2 – NC – Ashley Hatch – F – BYU
Hatch had a breakout senior season that earned her a call-up to the full USWNT mid-season. She’s a domineering, quick forward that is a bull going forward and packs the type of power and speed that Paul Riley likes in forwards. The big question is fit? Where does Hatch fit in with a lineup that’s likely to boast Jessica McDonald and Lynn Williams, along with Debinha and Rosana? It’ll be interesting to see how she’s integrated into the offense, but this pick could work wonders in the long-term.
3 – BOS – Morgan Andrews – MF – USC
Everyone figured Andrews would end up in Boston, though I figured they might have tried to wait and see if she slipped, but I suspect that they felt that Andrews wouldn’t last until their later picks in the first round. She desperately needed her senior season showing, where she helped lead USC to their second national title. Major question hanging over her is her pace at the next level. A much better pick at #3 than #1 though. How will Boston integrate a pair of rookie midfielders into their starting lineup?
4 – SBFC – Kayla Mills – D – USC
Fills a huge need for athleticism at full-back, where Mills will likely play on the left. She played a defensive midfield role as a senior, but it’s hard envisioning her there as a pro thanks to her blazing pace down the flanks. She’s still a little raw, but her potential is undeniable, as she’s got the upside to eventually be one of the very best players from this draft. SBFC drafted very well last year and are on their way to another nice draft with this first pick.
Two players who would’ve been in my Top 75 were added to the draft list after I had posted the three parts of my Big Board. I didn’t have time to write profiles for them, but they are:
#25 – Kaleigh Kurtz – D (CB) – South Carolina
#66 – Sydney Miramontez – D (CB) – Nebraska
…And the Rest:
76. Lauren Kaskie – MF – UCLA
77. Gabby Byorth – D – Clemson
78. Darcy McFarlane – MF – North Carolina
79. Kaleigh Olmsted – F – Notre Dame
80. Leah Mattingly – D – Ball State
81. Jessica Brooksby – F – Utah State
82. Meghan Cox – D – Virginia
83. Caroline Flynn – MF – Nebraska
84. Holly Van Noord – GK – Liberty
85. Tara Sobierjaski – D – Siena
86. Mackenzie Cowley – F – George Washington
87. April Cronin – F – Valparaiso
88. Aleah Davis – MF – UTEP
89. Julie Vass – MF/D – Santa Clara
90. Eliza Van de Kerkhove – MF – Central Michigan
91. Hope Sabadash – GK – Southeastern Louisiana
92. Amy Yang – MF – North Dakota State
93. Taylor Borman – MF – Samford
94. Jordyn Listro – D/MF – South Florida
95. Hanna Kallmaier – MF – Kansas
96. Kaela Little – GK – Notre Dame
97. Krystina Iordanou – D – Virginia
98. Danielle Rice – GK – Texas A&M
99. Lauren Watson – GK – Texas Tech
100. Maryse-Bard Martel – GK – Memphis
101. Marion Crowder – F – Georgia
102. Anna Buhigas – GK – Lipscomb
103. Nicole Bates – D – Fordham
104. Tayler Estrada – MF – Kansas
105. Jessica Ratner – GK – Bucknell
106. Sydney Drinkwater – GK – Florida Atlantic
107. Rylee Baisden – F – Pepperdine
108. Ally Doyle – D – Fordham
109. Morgan Stearns – GK – Virginia
110. Kristyn Shea – GK – Providence
111. Sydney Arnold – MF – Marshall
112. Natasha Minor – F – Southeast Missouri State
113. Hannah Leinert – F – Purdue
114. Erica Murphy – F – Rutgers
115. Bronwyn Boswell – MF – Evansville
116. Storm Kenui – MF – Hawaii
117. Kathryn Sloan – F – Louisiana Tech
118. Amber Adams – F – Coastal Carolina
119. Mimi Akaogi – D – Long Beach State
120. Kelli Hubly – F – DePaul
121. Kelsey Perrell – MF – High Point
122. Katie O’Neill – MF – Charlotte
123. Emily Byorth – D – Clemson
124. Rachel Leonard – D – Sacramento State
125. Kavita Battan – F – Idaho
126. Lana Spitler – F – East Carolina
127. Brittany Ambrose – F – Santa Clara
128. Tahlor Lyman – MF – Oral Roberts
129. Aaliyah Lewis – F – Alabama State
130. Emily Richardson – D – Evansville
131. Alice Palmer – MF – Oakland
132. Jennifer Lum – MF – Sacramento State
133. Brittney Reed – D – Kennesaw State
134. Brittney Lawrence – F – Oral Roberts
135. Jenny Bitzer – D – Manhattan
Other content to come, but here’s a basic four-rounder for your perusal. I think there may be a trade or two to come…
1 – BOS – Rose Lavelle – MF – Wisconsin
2 – NC – Christina Gibbons – D/MF – Duke
3 – BOS – Mandy Freeman – D – USC
4 – SBFC – Kayla Mills – D – USC
5 – FCKC – Alexis Shaffer – MF – Virginia
6 – SEA – Ashley Hatch – F – BYU
7 – NC – Rachel Hill – F – UConn
8 – BOS – Savannah Jordan – F – Florida
9 – BOS – Morgan Andrews – MF – USC
10 – SBFC – Jane Campbell – GK – Stanford Continue reading
Picks – 22, 32
GK – Harris
DEF – Alleway, Berryhill, Camila, Levin, Monica, Krieger
MF – Edmonds, Kyle, Weatherholt, Witteman
FW – Belanger, Burkenroad, De Vanna, Hagen, Morgan
GK – Bledsoe
DEF – Catley, Pressley
MF – Evans
FW – Fields, Spencer
Two things are quite noticeable when trying to analyze the Pride for the forthcoming draft. One, they’ve still got a handful of players out of contract, which complicates trying to figure out which direction the club’s going to go. And secondly, Orlando’s first pick is in round #3, which definitely lengthens the odds of finding a true contributor right off the bat, even in a class like this.
Ashlyn Harris should return as the club’s #1 in goal, but the backup situation isn’t settled as of right now, with Aubrey Bledsoe out of contract and coming off a serious injury. Last year’s third choice, Kaitlyn Savage doesn’t return, so the club might be looking for another option with their second pick, though there are plenty of other holes to fill on paper.
On the backline, the Pride made a big splash in acquiring Ali Krieger, which should ensure that the right-back slot is filled for the foreseeable future. A much bigger question at the moment is who takes on the left-back slot if the out of contract Steph Catley does not return. Cami Levin is an option, but the Pride may want to consider another left-back for depth at the very least with one of their two picks, though new signing Camila can fill either full-back role if needed. Centrally, the club would appear to be set with the retuning Monica and Laura Alleway, but depth is pretty much non-existent, with Toni Pressley out of contract and the only other option really on paper second-year player McKenzie Berryhill.
The loss of Becky Edwards to retirement leaves a pretty sizable gap in the center of midfield that will need to be filled. Kaylyn Kyle and Kristen Edmonds are two prime contenders to fill some of the midfield starting spots, the latter especially after a breakthrough campaign in 2016. Most of the other options on the roster that could fill the vacant spot from Edwards’ retirement are still pretty raw, meaning the Pride may look to use one of their two picks to add some competition at the very least.
The frontline is obviously a concern as well, as you wonder where the goals are going to come from until Alex Morgan returns. Having Jasmyne Spencer out of contract at the moment doesn’t exactly help matters either. Getting Lisa De Vanna for a full season could work out well if she’s on form, but that’s far from a guarantee. Otherwise, it may be up to hoping that the likes of Edmonds, Josee Belanger, and Sarah Hagen can knock them in. Adding some additional depth wouldn’t hurt, but there are other positions of need.
Biggest Needs: CM, LB (if Catley doesn’t return), CB depth, GK depth (if Bledsoe doesn’t return), FW depth Continue reading