1 1 Portland Thorns FC (via ORL) – Emily Sonnett – D (CB), MF (MC) – Virginia
This is the easy part. Sonnett’s been tabbed for the #1 spot for months now since she’s starred for Virginia in the college ranks and has worked her way into the full USWNT picture. She should be an immediate starter at center-back for the Thorns and is a threat to make the Olympic roster already despite her youth. Not a can’t miss prospect but should still be a strong pro.
1 2 Portland Thorns FC ( via BOS) – Makenzy Doniak – F (CF) – Virginia
With a caveat. I think the recent rumors about a draft day trade that may bring Nadia Nadim to Portland could see this pick actually be traded to SBFC or made by the Thorns and then traded to SBFC. The Jersey club already have a need for some solid central attacking talent even before possibly trading Nadim and would have a dire need for it after the fact if it goes down. If Portland keeps the pick, Doniak would make for some nice attacking cover if Nadim doesn’t come. Raquel Rodriguez could also be a pick here, though the need isn’t great on paper for the Thorns.
1 3 Sky Blue FC – Raquel Rodriguez – MF (CM) – Penn State
Value over need. I think the first real “drop” in talent in this draft happens after Rodriguez, which means I doubt she falls past the third pick. If SBFC keeps this pick, she’ll form a great midfield trio with Katy Freels and Sarah Killion that could slice defenses apart. If SBFC moves up to #2 to take Doniak, and Portland moves back to #3 to take Rodriguez, it may still work out fine for the Thorns. Getting Rodriguez, Brynjarsdottir, and potentially Amandine Henry on the same page might be a task, but the result could be dynamite.
1 4 Seattle Reign FC (via WNYF) – Rachel Daly – F (LF, CF), D (LB) – Saint John’s (NY)
This is the draft’s pivot point, and you’d sooner win the lottery than figure out what Laura Harvey’s thinking. I think this inevitably comes down to Daly vs Carson Pickett, and I think Daly’s ability to play as a true forward’s going to win the day, even though a lot of other pundits have fallen back so easily on this being the pick just because Daly’s English. I think it’s a reach at #4, but having a roster like Seattle’s means you can take risks. I’m still wondering if Harvey will actually use an international slot on a rookie though.
1 5 Houston Dash ( via SRFC/PTFC) – Brianne Reed – D (CB) – Rutgers
I think this would’ve been Cari Roccaro had she not been revealed to be injured and possibly out until midseason. The Dash would probably love to have her, but they really can’t be using first round picks on players that may not be able to play in the short-term considering their lack of numbers. Reed lacks size but is athletic enough to cover more than one position and should hold her own right away here.
1 6 Houston Dash – Janine Beckie – F – Texas Tech
This would probably be a bit of a reach, as I think Beckie’s more good than great, but her style syncs well with Ohai and Ubogagu and could give the Dash a very formidable frontline. There’s definite potential for the Dash to use the eighth pick on a forward and look towards the midfield with this one, though there just aren’t any worth this pick in my mind.
1 7 Washington Spirit – Cari Roccaro – D (CB), MF (DMC) – Notre Dame
The beauty about having a roster that doesn’t boast any gaping holes is that you can afford to be a little risky. Roccaro wouldn’t be under any immediate pressure to get back from her injury ASAP and would be decent value at this slot for the Spirit.
1 8 Houston Dash (via FCKC) – Abby Smith – GK – Texas
I think the Dash totally goofed by stocking up on low value late-first round picks when they really needed more picks to help fill roster gaps. I really think they’ll feel the pressure to take a keeper here without any picks later in the draft, meaning they’ll make a major reach to grab Abby Smith, though I think it would be a potentially catastrophic miscalculation.
1 9 Western New York Flash (via CRS) – Laura Liedle – D (RB) – Stanford
I have a really weird feeling about this one. I think Liedle could slip into the second round, as I have Carson Pickett rated higher, but Charlie Naimo’s shown a preference for West Coast players in the past, with Liedle filling a need on defense as a potential upgrade on Becca Moros. It wouldn’t shock me if Erica Skroski goes here either if still available.
1 10 Orlando Pride (via PTFC/SRFC)* – Carson Pickett – D (LB), MF (LM) – Florida State
This is the easiest pick on the board if Pickett’s still available. I still think Cami Levin’s playing right-back for this club, even when Steph Catley isn’t there. When she is, Pickett could be used as an energy player on the wing to give the club width.
2 11 Western New York Flash (ORL) – Erica Skroski – D (CB) – Rutgers
Skroski’s been a fast riser and could end up going late in the first round to one of the many teams needing a defender. If she drops to the Flash at this spot, it’s probably good value.
2 12 Washington Spirit (via BOS) – Katie Bowen – D (LB, CB), MF (LM, CM) – North Carolina
Another risky pick, especially if the Spirit take Roccaro, but it’s hard to foresee Bowen drop much further if she has even an inkling of a chance of playing on these shores. Do the Spirit need another defender? Probably not, if they take Roccaro, but Bowen can also play in the midfield in multiple roles as well and could give the side some depth there as well. In a worst case scenario, they could just stash her rights and maybe get something for them later.
2 13 Sky Blue FC – Samantha Witteman – D (RB), MF/F (RW) – Cal
SBFC need full-backs like nobody’s business, and Witteman would be by far the best left on the board at this point. She can play a winger role as well and would be a super sub early at the very least.
2 14 Western New York Flash – Cheyna Williams – F – Florida State
The Flash need forwards that can stretch the field, and Williams certainly fits that mold. The club probably need even more defenders, but it’d be hard to deny the FSU forward’s value at this point.
2 15 Orlando Pride (via FCKC/WAS/PTFC) – Mallory Weber – F/MF (AMC, RW) – Penn State
Not much defensive value at this point in the draft, meaning the Pride could load up with some attacking depth. Weber can play a variety of roles in the attack for Orlando and would bring a big winning mentality to the expansion franchise.
2 16 FC Kansas City (via WAS/PTFC/HOU) – Christen Westphal – MF (CM), D (CB) – Florida
This would be known as “falling into the right situation”. Westphal could be converted to full-back or used in the center of the park for pass happy FCKC. This could be a steal if Vlatko can make it work.
2 17 Boston Breakers (via CRS/WAS) – Cali Farquharson – F – Arizona State
Risky to say the least considering injuries, but there are few with her talent left on the board. If she’s healthy she’s an impact player.
2 18 FC Kansas City – Michaela Hahn – MF (CM) – Florida State
Can do it all in midfield. I think this is another situation where the club will be able to get a lot out of an already talented player.
2 19 Chicago Red Stars – Jannelle Flaws – F (CF) – Illinois
It’s largely Best Player Available for a Chicago side without a lot of gaping holes. They probably need a center-back more, but there’s not one worth the value at this spot. Rory Dames should know Flaws’ game well, and if she stays healthy, she’s another attacking asset.
2 20 Washington Spirit (via BOS/PTFC/BOS/SRFC) – Katie Naughton – D (CB), MF (DMC) – Notre Dame
Another center-back? Another Notre Dame player? Well, half right. I think Naughton has potential as a defensive midfielder, and I think the Spirit would try and convert her if they take her.
3 21 Portland Thorns FC (ORL) – Summer Green – F (CF), MF (AMC) – North Carolina
A luxury pick. Having filled gaps just about everywhere else, the Thorns can take Green and stash her rights in hopes of her getting healthy. Low risk, high reward at this point considering Portland’s wealth of riches on the roster.
3 22 Chicago Red Stars (via BOS) – Candace Johnson – D (CB) – Missouri
This would be a great team-player fit, as Johnson’s the physical defender a side like the Red Stars would make great use of. I think Johnson may end up one of this class’ best players overall when all is said and done.
3 23 Sky Blue FC – Kinley McNicoll – D (LB), MF (LM, CM) – Wisconsin
Versatility helps. International slot does not. There’s just not much left right now though in terms of quality full-backs, and SBFC may have to roll the dice with one of their remaining international slots.
3 24 Western New York Flash – Paige Nielsen – D (FB, CB) – North Carolina
Being able to play many positions helps at this point. Nielsen can probably play multiple roles on the backline, though she’s still raw at this point. If she stays on these shores, she could be a real sleeper and a boon for a WNY side that needs defenders en masse.
3 25 Seattle Reign FC (via PTFC) – Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz – D (CB) – Michigan State
We’re deep into, “I Just Don’t Know” territory now. Fiebernitz is probably the best domestic center-back option left on the board at this point. Given Harvey’s draft history, the late picks could be way from left-field.
3 26 Western New York Flash (via HOU) – Brittany Ratcliffe – F (RF), MF (RM), D (RB) – Virginia
Can play all over the park and comes from a possession style attack at Virginia, making her a good fit for Charlie Naimo’s hopes of changing the Flash’s playing ethos this season.
3 27 Chicago Red Stars (via WAS) – Georgia Kearney-Perry – D/MF (CB, FB, DMC) – Saint John’s (NY)
Red Stars need full-back cover and defensive midfield depth. Kearney-Perry does both (and can play center-back to boot). Costs an international slot, but Chicago has plenty available.
3 28 FC Kansas City – Christina Burkenroad – MF (AMC, LM), F (CF) – Cal State Fullerton
A bit of a project, but Burkenroad was super productive for a program that could pass it around a bit if so desired. Versatility definitely helps her cause.
3 29 Chicago Red Stars – Courtney Raetzman – MF (MC, WG) – Kentucky
Another with Red Stars Reserves ties. Gritty and hard-nosed but undersized. Would be an asset off the bench here.
3 30 Seattle Reign FC – Alexa Newfield – F (WG) – North Carolina
If you’re going to take a risk, take a crazy one, and Newfield would be a giant gamble with some massive upside given her injury history and talent.
4 31 Orlando Pride – McKenzie Berryhill – D (CB) – Arizona State
The Pride probably need a little more defensive cover, and there may be a chance for a little value this deep in the going.
4 32 Boston Breakers – Leah Galton – F (LF, CF) – Hofstra
Two attackers with Boston’s first two picks? Yeah, I know, but even though she’d cost an international slot at this point, I think it’d be a risk worth taking if they can convert Galton to a bit of a more withdrawn role in the attack.
4 33 Sky Blue FC – Sarah Gorden – D (CB, FB) – DePaul
You better be able to play multiple roles if you’re a final round pick type, and Gorden might be able to confidently fill a utility defender role for the Jersey side.
4 34 Washington Spirit (via WNYF) – Kailey Utley – F (RF) – West Virginia
Local-ish with some upside, which you can’t really argue with at this point of the draft.
4 35 Boston Breakers (via PTFC) – Madi Krauser – D (RB, LB) – Colorado
I’ll probably be a little disappointed if Boston doesn’t go for a full-back before this, but the value just works out this way. Krauser could potentially play on either side.
4 36 Sky Blue FC (HOU) – Lindsey Luke – GK – Utah
Luke probably has more value than this, but keepers aren’t hot commodities at these drafts unless they’re almost sure things. Luke is not, but she’s got real potential.
4 37 Washington Spirit – Britt Eckerstrom – GK – Penn State
The Spirit’s roster’s already pretty bloated as is, so I figure they’ll spring for a potential third GK option when Labbe is gone for the Olympics.
4 38 FC Kansas City – Morgan Batcheller – D (CB) – Cal State Fullerton
Call it a Titans two-for-one for FCKC, who I have taking Christina Burkenroad earlier in this mock draft. Batcheller’s still a bit raw but has a lot of upside.
4 39 Chicago Red Stars – Nicole Waters – MF (MC) – Dayton
If you’ve got those international slots, use them. Waters would probably be a lock if she were American, and she’s got the vision to help open up space for the Red Stars marauding forwards.
4 40 Seattle Reign FC – McKenzie Karas – D (CB) – Washington
Local! Helps that Karas had a great 2015 as well and that the Reign could use another defender or so.